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Title: Sōten no Ken (Fist of the Blue Sky)
Genres: Action, Drama, Martial Arts
Author: Hara Tetsuo (Arts), Buronson (Story)
Publication: Weekly Comic Bunch
Start Date: May 2001
End Date: August 2010
Number of chapters at review: 211
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 211
General Overview: Kasumi Kenshiro, known as " Yan Wang " or " King of Hell " is the main protagonist in the story. He's at first glance a pretty laid back person, who loves smoking, and a professor at Tokyo, but behind this image hides the successor of the deadly Chinese martial art known as Hokuto Shinken. He travels back to Shanghai after hearing the news about his friend Pān Guāng-Lín and lover, and sister of his friend, Pān Yù-Líng.
At Shanghai, Kasumi's destiny will push him to fight against countless martial artists from the Hokuto Sankaken, and also help the " Quing Bang ", which is a gang that belong to his friend Pān Guāng-Lín against the ruthless and cunning " Hong Hua " whom influence over Shanghai is growing.
Category Ratings :
Art : 9
Anybody who have read Hokuto No Ken already knows about the style of Tetsuo Hara. His art is one of the most realistic one out there. One of the characteristic of his style is how he's able to convey several feelings to the readers via his drawings, from badass scenes to very deep and emotional one.
Plot : 8
The plot may seem quite simple at first glance, but yet it is so much complex, it revolves around the destiny of the successor of the Hokuto Shinken and the hardships he must overcome. One of the qualities of the top is how some real historical facts are mentioned in the manga.
Characters : 9
One of the many qualities of this manga is the character development and the interaction between them. The main protagonist is very well developped, but what is more fascinating is the development of the secondary characters, in which the reader can clearly feel the emotions that the characters feel. Unlike other Seinen's protagonist, Kasumi Kenshiro is quite different, he's gentle, yet pretty sarcastic and pretty strong too. He's a mix of Kenshiro from Hokuto No Ken, Keiji Maeda from Hana no Keiji and the title character from Nakabo Rintaro as Tetsuo Hara described him.
Theme : 8
Martial arts, friendship, fate mixed with some historical facts. These are the themes that are treated in this manga. But one can say that the main theme, is fate. In the same way Hokuto No Ken was about the fate and destiny of Kenshiro as the Hokuto Shinken successor in an era of chaos, this time it is the destiny of Kasumi Kenshiro. It is simply the journey of a man, but not a normal one : It is the journey of the successor of Hokuto Shinken, bearing on his shoulders the weight of the 2000 year history of that deadly martial art.
Originality : 9
There is many martial art mangas around there, but rarely I've seen mangas that focus on the story and character development more than the fighting : Fights here are nothing more than an occasion for characters to develop themselves.
At first, it may seem a plain story, but the more you read and learn about the whole history of martial arts, the more you can see how good Buronson is at making an exciting story.
Overall : 9
The fans of Hokuto No Ken won't be disappointed : the same ingredients that made Hokuto No Ken successful are back, coupled with Buronson talent for story telling and Tetsuo unique art. It is a very enjoyable manga.
Some images :