Kohinata Minoru is a college student at a college that is popular for its sports rather than academic orientation. Although he starts out as a gymnast alongside his friend, Nana, Minoru is bullied by the higher ranked gymnasts. One evening, a karate student at the college, Mutou Ryuuji, witnesses Minoru being bullied and comes to the rescue... but his intentions aren't to save Minoru, but to drag him into the world of karate. Minoru makes new friends and learns some of their dark pasts, including a shocking death that reveals motives for revenge.
Here we have a seinen marital arts manga about a man working his way through the world of karate. As martial arts manga go, this would have to be one of my favorite. The pacing is quick, the characters interesting, and the plot believable. And something about me before I start: I'm a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo. Now then, onto the review:
Story: As I said, it doesn't stay in one place for too long. When the main character has beef with someone, the conflict is resolved without lingering in one place for 100 chapters (I'm looking at you Bleach!) During the well drawn
battles, I often find myself screaming at my computer screen, telling the combatants how they should block the attack and or counter. I actually get up and fight the entire battle myself; it's that engrossing. Then someone bangs on my door and tells me to shut the hell up. I click to the next page and the process starts all over again. The manga encourages me to train harder for some reason. Definitely one of the best parts.
Art: I rated it a 7, or "Good". And it is. The artist draws it so you can see every kick, punch, and counter. There's literally one strike per page. I personally love this, but it might be a little too slow if you're not into the fight.
Character: There's a lot of them and they're all interesting in their own way. I find myself rooting for all of them and identifying with their separate struggles in the world of competitive martial arts. There's a touch of romance (straight and gay) between characters. Most of it is for comic relief, which is funny when it comes up. To give you and idea, there's ~1 page of romance or comedy for every 40 of fighting, training, or other plot development.
Enjoyment: My martial arts background definitely contributed to how much I liked it. It's inspirational, funny when it wants to be, and exciting all throughout. Even if you don't enjoy combat yourself, the characters and plot pacing should be enough to keep you interested for the most part.
On a side note: The way the author portrays Americans pisses me off sometimes. We don't like to fight ALL the time! ...Usually.
My main gripe is that the main character doesn't improve enough, throughout all 428 chapters I've read so far he hasn't won a single important match(Usually the final match in a tournament)
By the time he leaves college/university he hasn't got a single achievement, it's so funny.
In those important matches when he really needs to pull a in no matter what he just fails, he can pull out all the flashy
moves he wants but in the end it doesn't mean anything unless he wins.. which he fails to do time and again when he needed to the most.
This guy has ash ketchum syndrome (the inability to win a tournament)
There are also no rocky-esque training compilations so that's a huge minus for me.
Overall I did like the few fights mutou had and the one fight samart had, they were excellent but with the disappointing minoru who never seemed to pull a win that mattered dispite all the help he was getting or unwarranted praise he was getting it just made for an extremely disappointing manga.
As a great fan of action-oriented manga's and especially those influenced by a martial art. I came across Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru. While excited by the gaze upon its genres and summary, was I eventually pleased to read this manga?
If there's anything that bothers me about this manga, it's the focus. Though it has the ability to grasp the reader and involve it with its action and dialogue. It does so only rarely. You have a story about a gymnast who, with a tough and flexible atletic body, somehow becomes involved with karate and the karate club. The story seems a little weird at first
and doesn't seem all that interesting. Though when confronted with the first battle scene, much is visible about just how 'good' this manga is.
Battles are clean and followable, exciting and cool. The moves are right, and they put in plenty of fights to still the belly.
The problem however, like said before, is its focus. For some reason, though they have set everything up nicely, the manga just won't carry on as should. You have Minoru, the brave protagonist, and you have his friends. Yet the story focuses too much on the friends, leaving barely any space for Minoru to develop. It is known pretty quickly that he is keen on Karate and has potential. Yet after 50+ chapters pass, not much of this is actually accomplished nor fulfilled. It drifts on too much about new characters being introduced and the back-story about his friends. Surely one necessary for later developments. But one taking too long. I at least expect a growth after 50 chapters.
Though the pace in development is slow, it is surely present. And it will, regardless of how long it takes, eventually pull you in and show you the splendour of waiting for it to develop. In the end, maybe exactly the slow pace is what charms the excitement. That being said. The action is clean and nicely drawn. The art in general is pretty good. The characters are interesting. The manga is exciting and refreshing. The story a little bland, but good enough for a battle manga. There's comedy present to lighten the mood and tight battles to make you sit at the edge of your seat.
If I had the say in whether yes/no you should read this, then yes, read it. Especially if you like martial arts and/or battle-manga's.
I'm writing this review because I've never written one before and I really like this manga. Btw this is being writing by someone who is a 1st Dan in Goju Ryu style karate.
I'm currently reading this manga and I am up to date with it too. I rated it 8 (very good) overall because I feel that it's really interesting and quite accurate too. Plus it's quite helpful when you want to try something new on who you're practicing kumite with :)
The storyline is also good - a gymnast who gets bullied and starts to learn karate. One can easily get intrigued as to
how it will play out. I only have one problem though and it is that there seems to be a thing where characters from the very beginning have chances to grow whereas new-ish members just have that side-man, mascot feel to them. Like Pedro for example, all he seems to be is the homosexual, BJJ practitioner who hasn't had a chance to grow in his karate even though I feel like he can be quite good in karate too.
Well overall I think it is a good manga to read if you like fighting/martial arts stories so I definitely recommend it.