Sugarless; the story about a violent unusual school.
At first glance it seems very random with a typical fighting manga that they just happened to put a windmill on. To be fair it is. Except for the windmill this manga is nothing new, just the typical delinquent manga. I rate the story a 5/10 just for the fact that they at least tried to make it different from other works like High School or Crows/Worst. I mean the windmill is not the greatest idea but it's also not the worst. It signals a solid goal. To reach the top and get your flag on top of the windmill instead of just the title of "the strongest". But then again, at it's core it's nothing special.
But hey, this type of manga is not made for those that are looking to get into a new genre. It's for those that already enjoy delinquent manga and school life action. If you enjoy the works such as Clover/Crows/High School and think these ended way to soon, then this is the manga for you.
The art in Sugarless is about as good as you can hope for when we're talking about a fighting manga with lots of important characters. The fight scenes are very well drawn and there's no risk in getting lost in the action.
The character design are also just as good. A big problem early manga Crows/Worst had was that some side characters could easily be confused for other. However, in Sugarless every character that's of some importance get their own awesome design and you can never tell if someone is just acting tough or are actually tough since they all look as bad-ass as you can get. The art resembles that of long running manga Clover and that's meant as a compliment. I can't state enough how important it is to actually have clean looking art while two characters are fighting. That is actually one of the reason Dragon Ball managed to sell so well, since there was never a doubt about what was going on. Sugarless takes this to a new level and if we're judging the manga solely on it's art it might actually be THE best delinquent fighting manga.
Aside from just looking bad-ass and terrifying the characters also got their own distinct personalities. You won't get sick of reading about anyone as you're just left wishing there was more of everyone. For those that like these genre it's often the main characters bad-assery that draws audience and in sugarless this type of character is everywhere. With taking both the characters art and personality into account I would say that this manga is a solid 9/10 in terms of characters.
Even if it looks like I've praised this manga as something close to a 10/10 or a 9/10 I'm actually more inclined to say it's a 8/10 or even 7/10. The reason for this is that even if the art is amazing and the characters are well written, it is very repetitive. As early as chapter 6 you will start to realize that this have been done/said before and it certainly don't help that they repeat the word "windmill" at least a few times every chapter.
The thing's that makes Crows/Worst/Clover so good (at least 9/10 for those that like this type of manga) is that they have something else except fighting. There's more to the town than just that one goal and this might actually be because of the windmill. With a goal as obvious as the windmill you take away the interaction between people that make's the original delinquent manga so much better. We don't get to see how people act towards each other without having the goal of reaching the top. It's a serious problem and that's one of the reasons I think the story is not only mediocre; but actually draging this manga down.
All in all it's a great manga if you're already into these types, if you're not I would suggest reading Crows as a starter. If you like Crows you should then give this a try. It will make you appreciate the art and clarity and make you realize just how amazing the art actually is. read more