It’s Monday folks! Which means we talk about a favorite manga of ours and why you all should read it – this week’s Manga Monday is all about Ryuhei Tamara’s Beelzebub
A genuinely hilarious shonen manga with a pretty bizarre premise that may put some people off at first. That is essentially what Beelzebub is. In the past two decades, we’ve gotten a pretty decent amount of mainstream battle shonen mangas, and even among them, Beelzebub probably stands out just because of how bizarre and funny it is. Beelzebub is the story of a highschool delinquent who finds a baby at a riverbank and ends up having to raise him. And guess what? That baby happens to be the child of the Demon King, and has been sent to destroy humanity because the Demon King is too busy playing games to do it himself. And so, the eponymous baby, Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV, who is called Baby Beel for short, needs to find a suitable human parent to raise him into a proper demon lord who can wipe out humanity. And this suitable parent ends up being Oga Tatsumi, a high-school freshmen, who attends Ishiyama High, a cesspool filled with the worst kinds of problem children.
The layout of the series is simple and should be familiar to anybody who is familiar with generic shonen tropes. The first arc introduces us to Oga, his best friend Furuichi, Baby Beel, and Beel’s nanny, the busty and frightening Hildegarde. And then the manga explains the hierarchy of Ishiyama High and Oga has to climb up the ladder by defeating each consecutive foe and eventually gaining them as allies. Each consecutive arc introduces stronger foes, including other schools, and demons, and has Oga and Baby Beel getting stronger with each victory, as is the norm in such manga. You know, basic shonen crap.
The reason Beelzebub is unique among shonen manga is the way that it perfectly manages to balance levity and severity. I mean, sure, most shonen manga are usually funny to some extent, but Beelzebub is hilarious right off the bat and still ends up having a pretty serious and intense moment in the first chapter alone. And the manga continues that trend with every following story-line. There are so many bits in Beelzebub that made me laugh out loud, and then there are also actually threatening and intense bits that genuinely make you wonder if a character will die or not.
At the end of the day, if you’re into mainstream shonens and also enjoy a good laugh, Beelzebub should be right up your alley. And Beelzebub is also unique in the way that the manga ended too quickly and that it could’ve easily gone for a hundred or so more chapters. I’d also suggest watching the first couple episodes of the anime to anyone who’s interested as well, because one, it had a better opening sequence than the manga (Not referring to the opening song/credits.), and two, it also has a pretty hilarious OP for the first arc (This time, I AM referring to the opening song/credits.)
Three and a half thwips.