I like meta things. I like meta crystal in the original smash bros, I meta knight from the Kirby series, and most of all, I love meta fiction, stories that actually delve into the actual act of story telling. So when a manga like LasBoss x Hero comes along, I'm bound to like it.
The hilariously misspelled LasBoss x Hero follows Sagara Masamune, a shounen manga artist whose manga isn't doing too well in his magazine's rankings. So after a long talk with his editor, he decides to off the main heroine, Nina, to get some readers interested and then quickly end the series, but this doesn't go exactly as planned. While drawing this development, Sagara is pulled into his manga for some reason. Sagara figures the only way to escape is to finish what he planned and sets forth to kill his heroine. What follows is a great satire of many common tropes in shounen manga, while being devilishly funny.
The Main Characters
Sagara is an extremely fun and compelling lead for this type of manga because he has a nasty enough personality to be make fun of his own work, but bright enough to realize why some elements of his work are bad. It's very fun to see Sagara use many common shounen tropes to worm his way into his own story because whenever he does this he often mocks the trope itself while making some kind of silly face. Though what sets Sagara apart from many other protagonists that do this as well is that he usually gives a short explanation to why he included a trope into his work. Though Sagara is pretty mean at heart, he goes through some good character development as the series goes on. This is partly due to the fact that he's playing a major role in his own work and he gets to know his characters better with each passing chapter.
Special mention also needs to go to the Haru, Sagara's main character, and Nobunaga, One of Sagara's main antagonists in his story, because they are also both excellent. Haru is so almost as fun as Sagara because he also makes fun of some of the clichéd parts Sagara's manga, but he also has an incredibly cool way of showing when he's serious. Haru simply moves the scarf he wears around his neck to his forehead. I have to admit I flipped my lip when I first saw this because it was such a simple change to his appearance, but it had such a huge affect on his general air. Also, I have to love Nobunaga on how obsessively loyal he is to his master. I don't want to elaborate any more on Nobunaga because any more information would spoil the joke.
The premise is simple, the mangaka gets stuck in his manga and he tries to escape, but what's interesting about this is there is no clear way to escape. Instead, Sagara figures the only way to escape is to end his manga by killing of Nina. Yes, this is a tad contrived story element is a tad contrived, but this decision reflects Sagara's own character. Also, early on it's shown that his Nina has plot armor and so Sagara simply can't off her without any build up. He must explore what his world is like and make a fitting scenario to finally off Nina. What makes this quite interesting is that most elements in Sagara's manga are explored in depth, while characters in the manga develop as well.
What makes the setting so good is that it reflects the state of Sagara's manga in that it's underdeveloped. Since Sagara's world is underdeveloped, often times scenarios pop in and out of existence according to Sagara's will. This kind of scenario jumping can be jarring, but it works along with the story itself as Sagara often critiques these kinds actions to mostly funny effect.
The Heroine and the Side Characters
The main problem I have this manga is that the main heroine and most of the side characters are cardboard cut outs of most anime/manga archetypes. Nina is your typical tsundere character that oscillates between being loving and cold to Sagara. Also, at times, Nina also feels like a plot device as well because many of the arcs in the story involve something happening to Nina and then the other characters have to solve this problem. This is not terrible per say, but I wish Nina's character got a little more exploring and a little more to do.
The other side characters don't fare much better than Nina. Only one other side character got explored in depth and even then the exploration felt a little hallow because said character barely showed up after that arc in the manga. Overall, the heroine and the side characters felt hallow, but I feel it was in line with the manga's overall setting.
LasBoss x Hero is a fun satire of many shounen tropes with some interesting points about manga creation and character development. Many of the best parts center on Sagara because he often makes fun of the tropes he uses, while being fun to watch due to his impatience and general mean attitude. Since Sagara's method to escape his manga is to end it, he explores why he created certain elements the way he did. Often times he questions why he made such character in the first place and he begins to question why he even made this manga in the first place. What this creates is a series that is willing to not take itself seriously, while raising interesting questions about the creation of manga.
This series is not licensed in the US. You can read LasBoss x Hero here.
All images were taken from mangahere.co. I do not own any of these images.
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