Ikagawa Togake is a boy with a superpower. He has the the ability to change the color of his eyes whenever he closes and reopens the eyes. Kinda useless, right? Regardless, Ikagawa Tokage strives to strengthen his power in an effort to become the strongest and not have his power be nothing more than a parlor trick. With that desire in mind, he trains daily in an abandoned building in modern day Tokyo. But on one such day, he comes to what looks to be a scene of a crime and feels the culprit might still be nearby. Will he make it out of the abandoned building alive? Is there more to his power than meets the eye?
Tokage no Ou is an interesting take on the "chuunibyou" theme about teens unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Typically, these stories focus on average characters with delusions of being something much more than they are. However, in the case of Tokage no Ou, our protagonist (Tokage), actually has a power! It's just... kind of useless. Tokage has the uncanny ability to change his eye color at will. As un-extraordinary of a power as it is, it doesn't stop him from believing he's still destined for greatness! Tokage lives life under the belief that his power is
still in stage one, and is yet to fully awaken, so he "trains" it daily in an abandoned building. On one seemingly routine day, that abandoned building becomes a war zone among assassins that Tokage gets himself caught up in, bringing him closer to his delusions of grandeur ... but will his ability even come in handy?
From my understanding, the manga is just a prologue to the light novel series, which is why it only lasts 15 chapters. Chapters 2-14 take place in one location throughout the span of one day, so the feeling of progress seems lacking at times. Despite that, the limited setting acts as a catalyst in a way that there aren't any "breather" chapters. Something eventful happens each chapter and will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what'll happen next. The story started off light-hearted, but quickly developed into an unexpectedly bloody tale. Quite a few flashbacks, time jumps, and POV switches are used, making the timeline hard to comprehend at times, but also kept things interesting. By chapter 14, everything is cleared up through the retelling of events by one of the characters. Ultimately, the premise drew me in, and the "That escalated quickly"-type story kept me hooked. I just would've liked the confusing parts to have been explained sooner.
Nothing innovative or superb, but still good. Not much to say on it.
Tokage no Ou has a habit of switching the story to different characters' POVs. While the focus is on Tokage enough to still see him as the main character, this method helps develop the other characters within the limited 15 chapters, allowing even a seemingly minor character like Umishima (the delinquent) to have his moment to shine and become somewhat likable. Another example is Sugamo, who at first seems like an archetypical dandere, and becomes quite an enigmatic character that keeps not only the other characters guessing, but the readers as well. Tokage's development from "childish chuunibyou" to a more resolute, fearless protagonist was especially enjoyable to me, and seeing his character develop even further is enough of a reason by itself to make me want to check out the novels.
Overall Enjoyment: 7
Tokage no Ou was pretty exciting for a short series, and did a good job at garnering interest in the light novel it's based on, as I believe it was mainly intended to do. I must admit that most of the enjoyment of reading this came after finishing it and imagining what'll happen in the novels. Judging it alone, it's still a good series that I recommend, but it still had a lot of potential left before it ended. In that sense, it was anti-climatic. (The last page of is still pretty badass, though) If you're the patient type that can wait for the LN to be translated, or an anime adaptation to be made of them, then I still recommend this series. Enjoy!
This feels a lot like Demon King Daimao in that there is a kid with power that he does not want and hates the people around him because of that power. In this aspect though, he is different in that he does want to change the world. Tokage seems like a really self centered young boy who only thinks about himself and not anyone around him. The boy’s ego just feels like his head is full of hot air whenever he keeps saying he’s the strongest and that he is destined to be the best in that world and so on. I really couldn’t stand
it when he was preaching all about how special he was (ya, more like special mental wise) and made the manga feel like it was just dragging it on a bit too much. He is always forcing himself to train so that his power isn’t useless but he doesn’t seem to have any other goal. Nothing like ‘for the sake of saving the people around him’ or ‘to take over the world’ that I can’t seem to get behind this character. He just seems… I don’t know, bland? I can understand why he hates the religion in what he says about his back story but still, there isn’t a plan.
Another thing just like Daimao is that we have a girl who seems to only want to go on instant. If she wants to do something, there is no stopping her. She will get up and do it without pause for concern if it’s going to hurt her or anyone around her. She is rather bland to the point of not showing any emotions except for really really intense ones like shock once in a great while. When at a point where she could have died, she didn’t even flinch like she was clueless as you what was going on. She also shows her true colors about half way in showing that she is just insane. Though we see little of her, she is a main part of this manga that makes almost no sense. Seriously, the manga makes no sense even when they try to explain what the hell is going on! The story jumped around all over the place and made me feel lost, even when they were trying to explain where all the events where happening and at what time. It was calculated, don’t get me wrong, but it also was confusing.
Alright, I have to say this about the artwork; it really really needs to be in color. I can never know if Togake’s eyes have changed colors or not because his eyes look exactly the same in gray tones. Without anyone saying that his eyes have changed, I can’t be sure if they have or if it’s because the artist didn’t shade them in all the way. You cannot have a manga where there is a reason for colors to be changing and not have it in color unless the color it’s changing into is noticeable enough. Eyes are really not that easy to do since they can turn into white when scared or dark when the person is mad in pretty much any manga. In that logic, any character could have that eye changing superpower and we would never know. Other then that, its pretty much standard artwork where the characters look like middle school or high school students living almost normal lives. There is a lot of shading in most areas of the manga including the hair and clothing. The manga is also rather bloody, full of dismemberments, gore, and even a point where a characters eye is gorged out of his face. This is not for the faint of heart.
This manga was all sorts of crazy. The premise at its core is of a guy who is pretty much normal but wants to be part of something exciting, getting his wish by being thrown into what he wanted and discovering that it's nothing like what he wanted, but rather something terrifying and somewhere he doesn't belong at all, after which he somehow manages to pull himself together to pull off being more than simply pathetic. This premise was quite interesting. However, the implementation of such felt all over the place. First off, the setup, which is pretty much all just one event, takes up the whole manga. It adds
too many characters that don't seem to have much point at all, furthermore spending a good amount of time on each one, which ends up making things overtly complicated without any payoff. It felt like it was going for the point when it was finally revealed what was going on to be shocking or a twist, but at that point you're not really invested in any of what's going on since its been changing so rapidly so it didn't really hit that beat at all. And just as we move past the prologue, and it seems we are finally seeing the beginning of the main plot the manga just suddenly ends, though with a really awesome ending shot. Really, a lot of the manga was quite cool, though a lot more brutal than I expected, with Tokage managing to seem quite cool when he wanted to, and Sugamo also being interesting in that I like crazy characters like her. But as the plot just fell apart as soon as it started going somewhere, that's all it has going for it. The art was pretty good.
tl;dr: A manga that’s incredibly messy that ends right before the plot starts moving, though it still manages to be pretty cool.