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Genres: Shonen, Action, Sports
Author: Takahashi Hiroshi
Artist: Takahashi Hiroshi
Publication: Monthly Shounen Champion
Start Date: 2002
End Date: On-going
Number of chapters at review: 79 (19 complete volumes + 3 chapters)
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 59 (14 complete volumes + 3 chapters)
General Overview: At the notorious all-boys Suzuran High, Hana Tsukishima aims at becoming the leader of his fellow delinquents. On his way to the top, he and his friends encounter and fight many other gangs and rival schools.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
It's very distinctive and once you get used to it it's hard not to like it. The early volumes look a bit strange when you compare them to the later ones in terms of character designs, but that's because ever since the start of Crows, the prequel to Worst, in 1990, Hiroshi's art has been evolving. That said, the art is detailed and about as realistic as shounen art's ever been, with the backgrounds deserving a special mention. Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that every character actually has a wardrobe instead of just wearing the same old uniform for years on end and the occurence of characters getting new haircuts every now and then. The amount of characters and their normal looks can make recognizing anyone at first sight an intimidating task (everyone looks like a normal human being with no completely ridiculous haircuts or special features other than scars, uniforms and sometimes tattoos), but depending on how much you love the cast, it shouldn't take more than a volume to place everyone correctly. Even Housen's baldies and the Armament's bikers should become easy enough to keep apart from each other. I'll take a point off of the score because, while most of the cast is supposed to be in high school, most of the guys look like they're in their 20s. It's by no means as bad as say, the cast of Battle Royale, but it's still rather confusing, especially if you don't know about the Japanese school system and the first (and only) age of a character you can use as reference only is stated in volume 11.
Even before Worst began, Hiroshi's been accumulating experience in this type of story. All his series revolve around delinquents and gangs and Worst is obviously no exception. That said, the plot, which is basically about the main character becoming the "best" (or rather, "worst", as he puts it) is by no means very original, but the fact that Worst is more realistic than any shounen manga I've ever read gives it a unique twist. The way the plot is executed makes it work extremely well so even a lack of originality on the whole is more than made up for.
What can I say? I love delinquents, so I love the entire cast of Worst. Even the bastard villains. Almost every recurring member of the cast (which are a lot since the cast is huge) has their moment(s) in the spotlight, so you hardly ever get the feeling the some characters are redundant. Unlike in some other shounen manga *glares at Jump*. Looking at it a bit more objectively, there's little variation in the cast. There are no women (a great move by Takahashi) at all, so there's no time wasted on crappy romance side plots, which means that aside from the main gang's landlord (possible yakuza) and his transvestite brother (perhaps more scary than his brother), that only leaves gang members and delinquents for a cast. I don't mind at all but it's not for everyone and if you desire more variety in the cast of a series, you might want to think twice before throwing yourself into Worst.
I'm not sure what to put here, but thinking about it, the closest thing to get to a theme in Worst is that of brotherhood. With all the gangs and rival schools, there's a lot of "loyalty" to one's own group in Worst. It's neat and makes me look back at my own school period which was, unfortunately, a lot less exciting and 'brotherly'.
Let me first say that this score is a bit deceptive. Looking back at the 80s and early 90s, gang and delinquent manga were hardly unique, with stuff like Sakigake Otokojuku and Osu!! Karate Bu being published. These days on the other hand, Worst is pretty damn special in that, as far as I know, it's the only delinquent manga today that's getting any recognition on the internet. Monthly Shounen Champion has a lot more of them (some of which Hiroshi is also (partially) responsible for by the way), but none of them are getting scanned. With that in mind, for us here, Worst deserves a 10 for originality if only because it's been keeping a dying genre alive for those of you who are now more into lighthearted pansy ass shounen.
I know, taking the average it should be a 9, but I can't help it. As far as I'm concerned the only shounen published today (well, actually not at the time of writing, but still) as great as Worst is Hunter x Hunter, and that's at the top of my shounen list along with Flame of Recca. A grand compliment to say the least and it means that I can only rate it a 10. Anyone looking for a manly manga without crappy useless females, stop reading this and go download Worst.
Anyone that isn't looking for a manly manga without crappy useless females, you can stop reading now too because this post is about to end.
Spoiler: Manga's images taken from earlier chapters to avoid spoiler, generally the art improves show
Last edited by Luckas; April 16, 2008 at 10:34 AM.
Wow, thanks!!! Thanks to this review I started reading this manga, and it's totally worth it! ^__^
A 10? Really that isn't something to be thrown around so it must be something good. I'll check it out but to me I'll doubt it'd be a 10 for me because even great series like One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin etc will garner a 9 because I compare every series to Evangelion which is the greatest anime I've ever seen.
But since it has such high praise I'll check it out
Overall, I give it a 5.5 / 10.
Last edited by GGpX; March 08, 2008 at 02:42 AM.