Title: Until Death Do Us Part
Genres: Action Adventure, Seinen
Author: Takashige Hiroshi
Publication: Young GanGan (Square-Enix)
Start Date: 2005
End Date: On-going
Number of chapters at review: 27
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 27
The future is a great unknown. Throughout history, those who have been graced with the power to read it have been sought by many. In this day and age, the term "prophet" is outdated. "Precog," as in precognition, is the modern term. Yet when the powers of precognition is graced upon a young girl named Tohyama Haruka, she is sought after by a powerful organization. Utilizing her powers, Haruka makes contact with Hijikata Mamoru, a blind swordsman. When cornered by her captors, Haruka proposes an outrageous condition to Mamoru. Haruka wants Mamoru to protect her until death do them part. Not a great way to start things, but it's a start.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
First of all, the art is great. Double-S is an artist that really knows how to utilize white space. An art that few people truly understand. Also, the use of tone paper in conjunction to the white space is admirable. The characters are well drawn and nicely proportioned.
One thing I do have to say is that (I suppose this is where I try to find something negative to say) Mamoru's shoes could've been better drawn.
The art is truly outstanding though not perfect.
A bit more complicated storyline than just the blind swordsman protecting a little girl from bad guys. It's a very good mix of elements to make for an interesting read.
It seems that on the surface, Mamoru might be the main character but it doesn't quite seem that way. This is where the character designs interest me. The whole story revolves around Haruka. She is the most important character to the story. I would dare say that Mamoru is actually the main support character. Without Haruka, there'll be no story. If Haruka dies, the story ends.
For the characters, there's enough realism there to have me brush them off as being more than 2D. There's an air of mystery or intrigue to them.
Those who could predict, read or see the future were often highly regard or highly disregarded depending on their message. That was the kind of respect or disrespect they commanded. The future is an interesting thing though. I strongly believe that, as human beings, we have the power to control our own destinies. Our futures are directly influenced by the types of decisions we make and by our interactions with other people.
Even though the future has always intrigued the majority of people, if a person wants to have a better future, make better decisions. Not only that but strive to realize your goal just as Haruka is trying to realize her goal of living. Even though she could see her future, however much it was, she had to act if she wanted to live. But to live, by interacting with the appropriate person or people, Haruka would solidify her being alive.
Blind swordsmen using cane swords has been explored before. In this instance though, having to protect a precog, for life, is an interesting plot device.
It just came to my attention that a couple intriguing characters might actually be from other mangas. The manga are Yami no Aegis and Jesus.
This is a great read for those looking for some action with a bit of realism to it. The story has a bit of depth and intrigue to it. What am I saying! Who doesn't love a blind guy armed with a cane sword whooping ass? Am I right?
So far, I can't help think that this is a modern day Zatoichi with a mix of Hijikata Toshizo from the Shinsengumi. (Why I wrote Hijikata Toshizo is because Mamoru and Toshizo shares similar if not the same surname.) Both men, though one being fictional and the other real, were both highly skilled in the art of sword. Though, Hijikata Toshizo of the Shinsengumi was known to be ruthless, Mamoru displays this in certain cases.
The one thing that intrigues me the most would be the tie between Haruka and Mamoru and how that will progress further in the story.
Last edited by segua; September 28, 2010 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Adding in new info.
Nice review, segua. Thanks for posting. ^^
I agree with most of what you say. The art is fantastic, the character dynamic is interesting, and just because the idea of a blind, ass-kicking, swordsman is not completely original, it doesn't make it any less awesome.
I just wish there were more scanlated chapters >.<
I wish there were more scanlations out there.
I got to say that Double-S art is just fantastic. He draws some pretty mean sneakers. You could tell that the artist's attention to detail is just superb!
i can't believe the art in this manga. it's so hard to find good looking stuff out there, not to mention snooping out a workable plot. this manga has both^^ also mamoru kicks serious ass
I am head over heals in love with this manga. In fact the only reason joined on after years of lurking here. Was just to thank the translators and scanalators in general.
I found it last year and I flipped. I am girl that likes action more than I do romance. Looking for a good Action/Seinen (I prefer them over Shounen) I found this manga. Lol after the first chapter I was hooked. I have posting links to your website and color panels every where. (I am a die hard fan girl. I had a lot of images colored)
I am so glad it's getting picked up and release steadily. I had to shout thank you.
Mamoru is insanely GAR! He kicks major ass! The artwork is so photo realistic its movie esc.
The story while not an original concept is a compelling one. I like the pacing of the story. Hiji X Haru is win I love their interactions.
I suggest everyone reads if you are looking for a Mature, Sci-Fi, and Action Manga with a bad ass main character who is more of an Anti Hero.
It also has a bit of romance...it's truly a "complete" Manga.
Read it NAO!
After reading these extremely favorable reviews, some written by members whose taste I really respect, I was inspired to pick up this manga and give it a try. It was extremely disappointing. I'll try to explain why below. Hope you don't mind if I take some liberties with the reviewer formatting...
Until Death Do Us Part (UDDUP)
Number of chapters at review: 54
Number of chapters read: 54
Overview: A young girl can glimpse the future. Seeing massive moneymaking potential, baddies (everyone from gangs to corporations) target her. Placed in a nasty spot, this girl sees only one possible path for survival: the assistance of a mysterious swordsman, a blind vigilante working alongside an equally mysterious organization to kill crime. She successfully latches onto him and he becomes duty-bound to protect her from the assorted villains.
Art: Very Good (9ish?)
Solid artwork is a must for any good series. By no means does it actually make a manga good, but it's definitely a prerequisite. Here, the artwork definitely makes the cut and really helps draw the reader in to the mangaka's world. Characters are sharp and easily distinguished, scenery is detailed, and combat is easy to follow. Basically, you always know what's going on and can appreciate everything to its fullest.
Plot: Very Bad (3ish?)
It's far easier to discuss plot and characters together since they're so interwoven, so I'll discuss more below. In brief, there's no substance. Hordes of enemies attack the badass protagonist. He slices them all in half. Rinse, repeat. Sometimes a harder enemy comes by. He eventually slices them in half. Rinse, repeat. Some may say I'm oversimplifying the storyline a bit, but really...there's very little going on behind the scenes. The only purpose the plot serves is to propel the reader into another fight, and it shows. On the plus side, the series has decent pacing and moves forward at a nice rate. On the minus side, it's never moving forward towards anything.
Characters: Very Bad (3ish?)
Like plot, I'm going to address the bigger issue down below. To quickly sum up, there's only one real character and he's not even that interesting. The supporting cast members exist only to augment his awesomeness, drag him down, or be entirely ignored. Villains are beyond forgettable...in fact, I wonder why the mangaka bothered even naming any of them. In more recent chapters, the mangaka has apparently noticed the problem and is trying to develop an interesting friend/foe/rival. That's only starting to maybe happen (not even definite yet) after 54 chapters--LONG chapters.
The manga seems to be moving towards a "It's our lot in life" style theme. A number of the characters, for reasons far beyond their control, have had their lives pushed in certain directions. Now it's up to them to just play out the cards they're dealt. It's a nice theme, as themes go. However, it's only barely scratched. Pluuuuus...said lot in life tends to be "cursed with awesome", as TVtropes puts it, making it a bit harder to sympathize.
Overall: Meh/Mediocre/Read if you're very bored (4-5ish?)
This manga strongly resembles Rurouni Kenshin, Berserk, and Hellsing in that it stars a monstrously strong anti-hero protagonist with his own moral code that destroys everything in his way. Writing manga of this style is very tricky because there's absolutely no point in just following the exploits of a protagonist who wins every fight because he/she/it is just THAT good.
Each of the aforementioned manga compensates for a...difficult protagonist by introducing other engaging elements, such as an impressive cast or an intriguing storyline. Kenshin, which had a very weak, extremely passive (for the whole passive vs active plot rundown, see below) plot, featured excellent villains and a supporting cast that kept us all watching. Okay, we all knew that Kenshin was going to win pretty much every fight, but the mangaka changed things up by also using his less powerful friends, who were vulnerable and still growing, and engaging enemies that we really wanted to know more about. By focusing on more than just Kenshin's fights, the mangaka kept us interested. Oh, and the humor.
Berserk's protagonist is capable of what, killing 100 fully armored, well-trained soldiers by himself. At once. In a straight fight. While already wounded. BEFORE he gets a lot stronger. To keep things interesting, the mangaka introduces a supporting cast (weak at first, but more and more engaging over time), a somewhat weak ACTIVE plot, strong enemies, and a fight with far more significance than the protagonist's survival (political ramifications).
Hellsing's Alucard could probably destroy the world. No joke. So why on Earth would you bother reading the manga when his chances of victory are 99.9999999999999999%? Well, because of an active, decent supporting cast, a few nice villains, political schemes/ramifications that shore up the passive plot, and the fact that we, the readers, might be rooting against the protagonist. Basically, there're a lot of cards played to keep us interested in the manga.
UDDUP has a weak, forgettable supporting cast that doesn't really develop at all. The pre-cog girl, useful as she might sound, does virtually nothing. Blade (the protagonist, really named Mamoru) is also saddled with a tech-wiz partner whose job is to augment his slaughtering capabilities. A few other people come and go, but they really have no individuality or import (though, as I noted, the mangaka seems to have noted the problem and is trying to make a few other characters actually matter--rather little and very late) beyond burdening Blade as hostages or solving some mystery/hostage crisis/tech problem, thus enabling him to cut enemy #9313251203948 into little bits.
Now, as for the plot. I like to think that manga plots come in two types: ACTIVE and PASSIVE. In an active plot, your protagonists/cast members have an objective of some kind that they're working towards. Let's use the most famous modern manga as an example. Aspiring to become hokage, for example, is a very weak active plot (meaning it's pursued, yes, but it's not the sort of thing that actively impacts the story that much). Hunting down a missing friend, on the other hand, can be a very active plot element. It's what your characters are DOING, what their objective is. Basically, in an active-plot premise, your characters have a goal/goals that they're consciously moving towards, such as finding a particular thing, killing a particular person, rescuing someone, etc, and that is the goal for the manga. In a passive plot, contrastingly, the characters aren't moving towards anything. Rather, they get sucked into the action and just react to external forces. I'm going to use Bleach, another very well known manga, as an example. Although Bleach occasionally has an active-plot arc, the manga itself is extremely passive. The characters simply want to be left alone and SOMETHING drags them out of their insignificant lives to do X, Y, and Z. In a passive story, your core cast may react to others' actions, but they never do anything for themselves...they never move under their own power.
I, personally speaking, tend to find passive manga extremely boring. I mean, COME ON. Who wants to read about some characters who sit around wanting to be left alone? I want to follow someone's adventure/rise/path to an objective. In order to actually pull a passive manga off, the writer needs to put in a lot more effort than an active, which has a ready-made storyline progression, otherwise you end up with characters who do nothing but fend off/react to hordes and hordes of villains. And yes, it has to be hordes in a passive because the mangaka needs a replacement for each thwarted challenger. Hordes=bad. "Oh, if only we could sit around doing nothing all day but wait for someone to talk to us, curse you pesky villains that keep making me actually do something!" ...I'm slightly biased, but still, I think you can see my point.
UDDUP has one of the most passive premises/storylines I've ever read. Blade, the main character, is primarily a bodyguard for an almost ordinary girl who wants to live an ordinary life. All the enemies come to him, each wanting to snatch the girl/kill him/be evil that way. What's more, every arc seems to be passive. And the villains are uninspiring. Combine that with a weak cast and you've a recipe for a snorefest. This manga relies solely on badass fighting scenes to sustain it.
If you only follow a few manga and want to read good, original, or even interesting stuff, this is probably not the manga for you.
If you look for substance and more than fighting in your manga, stay far, far away.
If you find yourself really bored/stuck at home for 1 month with the flu/suddenly finding all your night plans collapsed, well...you might enjoy this manga. It's pretty low on the priority list.
Last edited by Shinichiro; April 30, 2009 at 02:27 AM.