Soon after the last Demon King was defeated, the Demon Empire started a contest to choose the next Demon King.
But the favorite contestant to win the tournament was no other than a human, The Hero Helck, whose motive to become the Demon King was to defeat his own race.
What are Helck's true motives to participate in the contest and defeat the human kingdom? It's up to one of the Four Heavenly Kings of the Empire, Red Vamirio, to discover and unfold Helck's true intentions
What is it that makes Helck so enjoyable, I often ask myself. The story is nothing new, nor is the art anything special. The cast is simple: there are good guys and then there are bad guys. It really isn't anything groundbreaking.
But what it has that separates it from other manga is its execution. Helck delivers a heartfelt story filled with laughter and tears in a simple yet elegant manner. There is nothing else to it- it's not convoluted like Death Note, and it doesn't need to be.
All it needs to do to kick-start the whole thing is ask one question: "So, can a
human who hates humans become a Demon King?"
Story (8): Helck is a story set in medieval-esque times, with demons and monsters. Just before the start of the story, a hero killed a Demon King. The plot begins with the titular character entering a tournament to decide who will become the next Demon King.
Yes, he's a human entering a tournament for demons.
Naturally, when Vamirio, one of the Four Heavenly Kings (who is higher than a Demon King in the demon hierarchy) finds out about this, she freaks out and tries to sabotage his chances of winning. However, Helck is ridiculously powerful, and he is pretty much a maxed out RPG character at Level 99.
Needless to say, things don't go as planned and it goes downhill for her from there. Along the way, they face a threat to the Demon World, and it seems Helck may know more than he lets up on.
Basically, it starts off as seemingly slapstick humour and One Punch Man-esque jokes before developing into something more substantial.
Art (8): Nothing special, to be honest. The art is on par with most manga, but it does seem to be getting better as the story progresses.
Characters (10): The characters, from Helck to Vamirio to the other human characters are mostly stereotypical characters abiding by common tropes, but as the plot thickens the way they interact with one another becomes something special. For example, Helck is the typical hero with the heart of gold, and Vamirio is the cold kuudere loli. But the more they interact with each other, the more interesting they become, building off of each other to create distinct personalities that veer away from their default character templates.
I won't say too much for fear of spoiling, but it's amazing how far the cast has come in 62 chapters (as I'm typing this, that is). I struggle to think of characters that can beat Helck in terms of sheer memorability. Everyone has a role to play in this story, and every one of them fit it so well that it makes my enjoyment seamless. And speaking of which...
Enjoyment (10): What more can I say? I enjoyed this, and I'm still enjoying this weekly. Also, special mention to translator Rello on Batoto. His one-man translation is the reason why us Helck fans get to even enjoy this hidden gem, and all props to him for bringing this single-handedly to our attention.
Helck is a manga that is definitely worth reading. It is a simple manga that works off a simple premise, which evolves into an intriguing story that is still simple but absolutely excellent in its execution of said story. It can be touching one minute and boisterously fun in the other, a balance I have found to enjoy greatly. There really isn't much else I can say about this without going into spoiler territory, but I can guarantee Helck will take you for a wild ride.
I discovered this manga on Christmas when it got the first translated chapters, and kept it opened in my browser tabs for 2 weeks, because I had other manga to read too... 3 days ago I watched the comments, and saw that it already got 49 chapters, so I decided to start reading, I had read the 3 pages, which is the introduction and then put it on hold on for another 2 days, until Yesterday. That was a good decision, this manga is AWSOME, and is great that I had the chance to read 52 chapters at once, I wouldn't have been able to
live with the cliffhangers of the last chapters. While I was researching to see how many chapters are out there I was surprised by the lack of information about this manga on the internet. I entered then on MAL and saw the lack of reviews and activity (probably because the translations are fresh, despise being like 1,5 years old. Anyway, like this, I decided to be the first one to make a review and share this great piece of art with you.
Helck is a parody RPG themed manga, about a Hero that participates in a tournament to become the next Demon King. You can already imagine that because this is a parody, this shit is gonna be funny. The manga starts with an explanation about how a Hero defeated the Demon King and how humanity was happy that they are free (at this point I trough that this story is gonna be a fighting shounen), then 4 months later we are in the Demon World where demons come to participate in a Tournament where the winner will become the next Demon King. After a brief introduction of the situation, we have the first characters discussing about the Tournament: the first one is Vamiro, a female high rank demon, the Manager of the Tournament, and Hon, the Assistant Manager. After a small discussion we are introduced to Helck, the Protagonist of the series. He pretty much looks like Arnold S. in his youth, playing Hercule, but with more steroids. He is not very charismatic at first (I was about to drop the series when I saw him first time e e), but just like Saitama showed us that he is more than a baldy with a cape, this MC will win your admiration and respect quite fast. This is all I can say, as I want to not spoil you, and let you be surprised just like I was. Believe me, just read the first chapter as a test ... you won't stop until you finish it. The comedy in this manga is hilarious, despise the similar situation with One Punch Man, the comedy in this one is less forced. Even when the outcome of a situation is predictable, you will still laught and find it funny because is delivered in such a way. Yet there is more than simple comedy in this story, it starts as a parody, but as the story goes on, it becomes more serious, and even darker ... you will laught, you will cry, you will feel revolted, and you will find yourself talking with the monitor and the characters in the manga (''Ohhhh!!! Now you did it! You chose the wrong enemy fool! Ma' man Helck is angry! Go bro', show him who is the boss!'').
Characters: The characters are great. The main protagonist is kind, strong as fuck and badass. You will find yourself loving him really fast. Vamiro, the other protagonist is cute, cool and badass too. She is one of the strongest and the most important demons, yet her attitude towards Helck is one of the strongest points of the story. There are many things to say about her, but lets keep the spoilers away. The rest of the characters are interesting and fun too: from the other important characters to the Demon Kings we will see only in pictures, and hear from the stories, you will love them all.
Art: Art is not really special, it is not bad, but is not great either. Yet is very suited with the story.
Enjoyment: This is the best manga I head read in the last year.
Overall: This manga is a truly hidden jewel. If you like One Punch Man you will love it. If you love Gintama, you will love this too. Actually, as long as you like manga, this should be for you.
So Helck just finished as of me writing this review. Having completed it, I believe I owe it to the mangaka to write something explaining just why this seemingly one-trick gag manga has found such a special spot in my heart.
To preface this review, let me say that I tend to gravitate to psychological manga; thrillers that are intellectual, that make you think and feel. Things that can be considered 'masterpieces' like the likes of Death Note and Monster.
That being said, Helck is none of those things.
Helck is Helck; I don't think it can be defined in terms of manga conventions and
plot-structures. It's a thoroughly unique, refreshing and immensely entertaining experience that managed to keep me hooked throughout the entirety of its well-paced plot. So, how did Helck manage to keep me invested?
For one thing, Helck is funny; not the kind of 'funny' that makes you breathe air out of your nose, but the sort that had me genuinely laughing at some of the ridiculous moments and stupid antics on the page. Most of the earlier gags are very reminiscent of One Punch Man, and the authour is very consistent with hitting the right note of comedy. But, more than just that, Helck is incredibly endearing as a manga -- although the characters may seem flat at first, a mixture of strong characterization over development and unique character designs made each of them stick out, and helped define their distinct personalities. Having these characters involved in the gags also gave each of them a sense of formula and healthy predictability -- the gags didn't seem so ridiculous or far out of left field that they were unfunny, because they all seemed to match the nature of the characters being presented. And, believe me, there are plenty of characters with varied quirks that make them endearing.
But Helck is more than just funny. If anything, its greatest strength is the charm and character it oozes, which are only reinforced by the cute, consistent art-style. Characters somehow latched onto me with strong, brazen and consistently written personalities and plot-lines followed simple, easy and entertaining structures.
What Helck succeeds in doing in where so many supposed 'masterpieces' fail, however, is it manages to keep its characters and plot-threads in check. It doesn't forget itself, or any foundational characters or lines. It manages to start and finish in a neat, self-contained bundle that knows its boundaries and doesn't try to be anything more than what it is. And that's what makes it special; it's a self-contained story that gradually becomes something more, easing you into the journey and letting you grow attached to the characters before throwing them into tense and emotional situations.
Anyway, enough of me rambling; it's sort of hard to put down what makes Helck so great. What I can do, however, is put arbitrary numbers to its name!
Art - 8/10
The art compliments the tone of the story, and the character designs are simultaneously memorable and clever in that they convey plenty about the characters. The style is cutesy and consistent, albeit rather average. It should be noted, however, that the author is particularly good at doing facial expressions, as well as character designs. Ultimately, it's nothing to cry home about, but is a key component in what makes the manga so good.
Story - 9/10
It is what it is; a self-contained tale that evolves into something grander, but only after having eased you into the world. The worldbuilding is excellent, albeit somewhat shallow, and the journey the characters go through is both believable and representative of the manga's key themes and ideas.
Although there are some exposition based chapters that break the pace, they are handled incredibly well and were, in fact, amongst my favorites in terms of plot and character. Definitely a high-point of the manga.
Character - 10/10
There isn't much more that needs to be said here. After having become numb to character deaths and typical manga tropes, Helck was a breath of fresh air in that it didn't try to be anything more than what it was. No character came across as annoying or overplayed; they stuck to their strengths and characterization like glue, and developed in a realistic manner.
It's hard to say what made them so enjoyable -- perhaps the way they bounced and played off eachother. Or maybe the dialogue that accompanied them, or the way they were drawn. Regardless, Helck had an imperceptible magic to its characters that made me love them all the way. Truly one of the strongest aspects of the manga, except for one other thing....
Enjoyment - 10/10
Above all things, Helck was genuinely enjoyable. It didn't ask me for 50 chapters of exposition and commitment to reach the 'good bit'; it thrust me into the deep-end and respected my intelligence as a reader that I'd be able to adapt to and enjoy the crazy, lucid environment it was throwing me into.
From start to finish, the plot progresses and never halts; it may turn and sidetrack, but it always played to its strengths and knew when to follow the characters that mattered.
It was comedic, emotional, witty and brilliant all in one. Helck is a genius gem that I doubt can ever be replicated in terms of style and nature. It's special and, therefore, I think its worth your while.
The description on MAL doesn't do it justice -- Helck is truly something else.