Recently, realized that I like most of the scanlation projects that /ak/ scans undertake. I think this is mostly because they cover many genres I'm interested in and the fact that they cover series somewhat go against conventional norms in manga. For instance, Gate – Thus the JSDF Fought There is one of my favorite works they have scanlated because it uses military style operations to describe how a modern day society might interact with a Ancient Rome style fantasy empire. I find mangas like this really interesting because they add a sense of realism to story with magic elements in it. Today's manga is a short yet interesting series /ak/ has covered, Yuusha Gojo Kumai Kouryuugata Keijiban (or Yuusha G)
Yuusha G is a picaresque series that surround the activities on the interdimensional hero bulletin board. A wide variety of heroes and retired heroes gather on these message boards to help current or retired heroes with their concerns about their mission or their life as a hero. These issues range from dealing difficult party members to living with immortality with a range of colorful character providing their views on the issue on hand, which often lead to funny trope subverting conversations.
Twists and Turns Tropes to Great Effect
The greatest strength of Yuusha G is how it can casually messes with tropes common to manga and anime and put a twist on them so they are fun and interesting to talk about. Specifically, these twists usually add an edge of realism to each trope, which makes it interesting because it makes the scenario more believable. For example, one chapter focuses on a retired hero who has summoned to different worlds many times, but this time he has a choice on whether or not to go. What makes this so interesting is that the discussion that follows because it talks about the ups and down on answering the summons or not, which feels realistic. The scenarios presented in Yuusha G are fun because they analyze the affects of what would result from a stereotypical fantasy trope.
Each chapter in this series centers on some sort of conversation about being a hero in a good amount of depth, but each can vary greatly in quality due to the topic that's being discussed. The atmosphere of each discussion is laid back, with each character being as silly or serious as they want to be. So each character has their own way of talking about each topic, which shows many different viewpoints on the subject at hand. This allows the series to explore each topic on hand in a good amount of depth, while also producing many comedic scenes because this set up pits multiple different personalities against each other. For example, there is a chapter where a group of heroes is advising a young hero on whether or not to accept immortality and then a loli character bursts into the topic to provide a counter stance to the group's advice, much to the group's bemusement. Although, there are also times this series goes nowhere with its set up, like in one chapter where the topic being discussed is about having to deal with difficult teammates, and doesn't really do anything interesting. The writing in Yuusha G is for the most part nuanced, but there are times where it doesn't go anywhere.
The message board style format in this series gives it a round table discussion feel, which has its ups and downs. For starters, it can be difficult to wrap your head around how the follow of conversation is moving because it uses a message board discussion format, while also using conventional manga panel layout. What this does is it makes the flow of dialogue confusing because an entire bubble of dialogue can be an entire panel, which can make it confusing on which panel to read. This poor use of formatting is especially bad at the beginning because the series starts off with a standard manga panel layout and then suddenly switches to the message board layout with no indication of the shift. Though if you do read the series long enough, you should be able to get used to the layout of the manga. Overall, the layout of the manga feels eclectic; but if you spend enough time with it, you should be able to get used to the format of the series.
Though the problems with visuals primarily stem from the format of the series, it doesn't help that the art itself isn't that good. Since the series is only a conversation between groups of characters almost every panel with a character is boring because the characters aren't doing anything besides standing around. Sure the characters do react to the different situations in interesting ways, but it gets stale after the umpteenth time you've seen the same surprised face. There are some interesting visualizations in the series, like character going through their panel lines, but these interesting visualizations are far and few between in the series.
The character art is pretty bad most of the times as well, especially in regards to the side characters. Specifically, the character art for the characters in the chat room is relatively decent since only the top half of these characters are only scene, but the designs of the characters in the chat room are quite boring. Each character is just a stereotypical fantasy/fiction archetype, which makes each character quite forgettable and slightly hard to keep track of. Also, the side characters just look like garbage. Often times they are drawn as rough human outlines without faces and with rough sketches of their clothes to denote who they are. It just takes me out of the action of the series when I see these drawing because no care or though was put into the designs of these side characters. Though this series uses a minimalist art style, little thought was put into the visuals and the art of the series, which makes me wonder why this was a manga in the first place.
Yuusha G is an interesting short series that presents a form of storytelling in a manga I haven't encountered till now. Though this type of manga format is new to me, I don't think it's very approachable because it isn't consistent with how it formats itself till later in the series. Also, the arrangement of the panels in the manga are pretty bad because it's arrange in a way that makes it easy to lost while reading it. The art is also extremely minimalistic in a bad way because if they aren't a character participating in the conversation they are drawn extremely roughly, which can be off putting. Despite all of this, I found many of the topics in the manga engaging because they put interesting twists on existing tropes I'm familiar with and the writing can be funny and nuance at times. Overall, Yuusha G was a fun manga that was hard for me to pick, but once I got into it, it was fun.
I do not own any of these images. All Images were taken from bato.to.
You can read Yuusha G here.
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