In a world where elves, dwarves, and invisible dragons live in harmony inside a metropolitan city, Jig sets out to find someone or something that can unleash the curse that he carries on his back. As he attempts to survive in the city of Jinbocho, a city filled with fantastic secrets and organizations, he encounters many powerful individuals who set out to either destroy him or save him. Will Jig be able to discover the true secret of his curse, or will it lead him to his own demise?
This story is a goddamn mess. Now, Narita is known for writing complicated, chaotic stories with loads and loads of characters and nonetheless making it work, but whereas Baccano, for example, manages to flow well and smoothly integrate all its disparate plot threads and characters into one coherent whole, Stealth Symphony just kinda... doesn't.
The art is fine, quite good even. It didn’t blow me away or anything, but hell, it looked like what you’d expect from a Jump manga. Some of the character designs were great, as inventive and appealing as the characters themselves, I don’t know if you’d credit Narita or Amano for that,
but props to whoever it was. Some of the panels later on hit really hard, which is one of the most important parts of a shounen manga imo, that ability to impart a feeling of weight and emotion through the artwork. The paneling itself though is just strange, especially early on. They use way too many panels, and in ways that don’t flow all that well, which really screws up the pacing of the fights and contributes to the larger pacing issues that plague the series. I think a lot of this can be chalked up to Narita’s inexperience with the medium, which brings me to my next point.
Narita clearly was not prepared to work in the manga medium generally or with Jump specifically. This manifests most obviously in the aforementioned pacing issues. The first half of the story is basically just your average shounen manga introductory chapters and first arc, with relatively slow pacing and a mediocre plotline that nonetheless shows promise and foreshadows neat things to come, the second half is a mad, chaotic dash through all the remaining content once Narita realized they were going to be canned. Every twist he had been saving for the entire rest of the series gets jammed into those ten chapters, reveals which should’ve been gradually built up to and hinted at throughout the series are just casually thrown out there, things we should’ve learned directly through experiencing them ourselves are unceremoniously exposited about (without even any real visual accompaniment), foreshadowed characters whose entrances or first fights should have been grand just kind of show up, and fights that should have been monumental get offpaneled.
Of course, you’ve seen the number on this review, and I’m not the type to be afraid of giving a score below a 5, so you know that this is actually a positive review. In spite of all the things I just wrote I would still recommend giving this thing a read if it seems interesting to you or if you’re a fan of Narita’s other work, it is only twenty chapters after all. The characters are just as fun and interesting as those in Narita’s other stories, and though we don’t get much time with them they’re still a joy to watch interact. And though the reveals are obviously not built up to as much as they should have been, they’re still genuinely good twists, and seeing them all play out in rapid succession is quite an experience. The actual ending itself is particularly shocking, and acts as a good finale to such a wild ride.
If Stealth Symphony had been given 3 or 4 times as many chapters to work with to flesh out the setting and characters, and to build up to all those reveals and actually show all the cool fights that go down, I think it genuinely would’ve been a great manga. Unfortunately we don’t live in that timeline, so we’ll have to settle for this, which, for what it’s worth, is a fine way to kill half an evening, assuming you have nothing better to do (like perhaps checking out some of Narita’s other works).
This is my first review guys, so please don´t mind some little mistakes and stuff^^
As I was looking for a new weekly series that could strike my interest I came across Stealth Symphony. At first it looked like your typical WSJ manga, but after reading more I became quite addicted to the series and I´ll try to explain why in the following parts.
At first you might think that only 15 chapters are out at the moment, so how far can someone judge this series already?! Well, I can´t really judge anything else right now aside from the enormous potential this series has so
far. The story begins with the MC Jig who comes to a quite interesting city to lift „the curse“ that´s troubling him since his childhood. In Jinbocho all kinds of different creatures and other beings are living together (there are elves, dwarfs, demons and even dragons!) and some not less interesting organizations. I don´t want to spoil too much about the plot so I´ll leave it vague, let me just say that the plot is well suited for a shounen manga, is connected to the dragons and has potential.
I would say pretty much WSJ standard, the backgrounds are good and the action is nicely pictured furthermore the author did a great job at drawing many different characters and beings.
In my opinion one of the most crucial points for a good (shounen) manga and it´s in my opinion where Stealth Symphony shines the most.
At first he looks like your (stereo)typical MC you find everywhere. He´s a nice and quite likeable guy that quickly gathers an interesting group of other characters around him, BUT he´s not a wimp with no personality!
He doesn´t has a „great dream“ or anything like your run of the mill MC or is powerless at the beginning of the story, actually he is so powerfull that he wants someone to protect everyone else from „the curse“ that grants him this strength. Also he´s not a shy or stupid idiot and rather says what he thinks.
The other characters are really nice and likeable as well, as there should be something for everyone.
There´s Laika who´s a cute girl and a deadly sniper at the same time, Master the female ninja who can create a giant golem out of shuriken and of course there are some quite bad-ass chars as well, which´re mainly represented by the mysterious elf Colt and the insidious assassin Souya.
I saved the in my opinion most interesting Jump character in a long while for last, it´s the second MC: Troma Yabusame
Troma is an invisible being that mostly can only be seen because of the mask he´s always wearing. The reason I think that he is by far the most interesting character of Stealth Symphony (and of the newer Jump stuff in general) is that he is the total opposite of our normal shounen manga MC. That is because Troma doesn´t has any dreams or personal goals he wants to achieve, he accepts and respects anything about a person and their decisions since he is hollow on the inside. And in fact that´s the thrilling point about him in my oppinion! To which extend will he be able to accept someone? How did he turn out this way? What does he think of his own emptiness? These questions really kept me going and I´m exited nearly everytime he interacts with someone.
It´s a nice fantasy setting with some funny jokes as well as many different and interesting characters that turn it into a really enjoyable read as the story progresses.
All in all it´s a really promising new series with a huge cast and great characters that I would highly recommend to anyone who´s into this kind of manga. The only thing that it needs now is time to develop it´s characters and plot to turn out amazing! (which could be the critical part since the rankings aren´t that great at the moment >_