Thwip!’s Manga Mondays – Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

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 Syun Matsuena’s Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

So Kenichi is such a timid guy that everyone bullies him. Finally sick of it all (and after meeting one of the most beautiful women in his life) he decided to learn martial arts. Luckily, Miu (the girl who he has fallen in love with) is a martial arts genius and lives at a dojo. Even better is that the dojo is filled with great masters of major martial arts. Unfortunately, they are pretty much clinically insane. From day one Kenichi is forced into a variety of torturous training regimens that would make Jackie Chan weep.

Syun Matsuena’s manga is a very fun read on many levels. Kenichi really is a weakling (once compared to a fangless, wingless bird…that doesn’t know how to give up), and the hell that he has to go through to level up even a tiny bit is hilarious. Then there is the action sequences and you realize that it ain’t all fun and games. That is mainly cause Matsuena-sensei’s depiction of the variety of disciplines are realistic as hell (despite them being eighteen-pack demigods that even Ken from Fist of the North Star would respect) and you feel like what Kenichi is learning you could do as well. The story is typical and builds up nicely, since it is about high school students, not much death and gore (but, as typical of shonen manga, a bit too much fan service), but they all end up fighting excellent battles that suitably epic, but altogether human.

While Kenichi and his friends are interesting, it is Kenichi’s masters who are the most interesting, being so supremely trained in their disciplines that they are carefree about every other aspect of their life. Matsuena balances out their appearance so that when they are on the page you get enough to feel satiated, but don’t feel like they overshadow the kids, a very difficult balance to maintain.

One of my favorite manga that I read perenially especially since it completed a few years ago.

Four and a half Thwips for this series.

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