Editor's Sidebar: Where we hear directly from VIZ editors about manga they're working on.
So, it's that time again when new series hit the shelves in bookstores, and this month there's a new gem wandering the streets. If you're a shonen manga fan (or a fan of Shonen Jump), I'm sure you like things like Naruto (ninjas), Bleach (supernatural creatures and talking cats with attitude), and Blue Exorcist (supernatural creatures mixed into the real world). And if you're thinking to yourself, "Yeah, I actually do really like Naruto, Bleach, and Blue Exorcist," then Jump SQ's hottest title, Black Torch, will definitely be your jam!
Although he may appear rough-and-tumble, Jiro Azuma's compassionate side emerges when it comes to the furry critters he can talk to. But Jiro's soft spot for animals gets him in major trouble when he finds a suspicious stray cat and nurses him back to health. The cat’s name is Rago and he claims to be a mononoke—a Japanese spirit—and this drags him into a battle to protect Rago. However, Jiro is killed and Rago sacrifices himself to fuse with Jiro, saving his life and granting him exception power. But this also drags him into humanity's hidden battle between ninjas and mononoke.
In addition to Jiro and Rago, the core characters are all part of a secret government agency known as the Bureau of Espionage. The people who track down Jiro and Rago are members from Division 2. Their leader, Shiba, is a cunning man with a lazy exterior and a cool personality. His subordinate, Ichika, is a strong, kick-butt ninja girl with a lot of passion and drive to do her best and hold her own.
One of the most striking parts of this manga is the art. The art is very reminiscent of Kubo Sensei’s minimalistic art style with high-tension, epic battle scenes. The character designs are all super sleek and dynamic. The battles are especially gorgeous and the detail that Takaki Sensei puts into his work is truly a work of art. I also enjoy the more slice of life aspects of the series, namely Jiro and Rago’s interactions with each other as well as Jiro’s relationship with his Grandfather. Jiro’s interactions with the animals around him are also really fun to read, as each animal has their own personality too!
Black Torch, Vol. 1 is on sale now and it comes with a color fold out poster! I highly recommend that you check it out! Happy reading!
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