Manga: Kongou Banchou

If you’re familiar with news in the ‘Otaku’ world, you probably know that Naruto has officially ended. HUH?! REALLY?! Yep, really. The last chapter of the 14-year-manga series would be published next week on the 10th of November on Weekly Shonen Jump (WSJ), finishing off at Chapter 700 with (most probably) 72 volumes (tankobon will be out after awhile). I’m not sure how, but it seems like the last chapter is already on several scanlation websites online. If anyone knows what’s up with that can you please tell me? I haven’t kept up with the manga in years, but since it’s finally completed, I’ll hopefully re-read it when I can. Probably.

Enough about that though, here’s today’s post.

Manga: Kongou Banchou 「金剛番長」 a.k.a. Diamond Delinquent

(I… I wiki-ed the English name cos I thought ‘banchou’ couldn’t exactly be described in one word, BUT ‘DIAMOND DELINQUENT’ JUST SOUNDS A LITTLE ODD. Please just always go with ‘Kongou Banchou’, HAHA.)

Kongou Banchou Vol 1 cover

Kongou Banchou Vol 1 cover

Kongou Banchou is a Shounen, action manga written and illustrated by Suzuki Nakaba. With a few complete series works under his belt, Kongou Banchou is probably one of Suzuki-sensei’s more well-known titles. I’ve read a few of his other works, but they haven’t striked me as immensely entertaining as this one, besides the series he worked on after this, Nanatsu no Taizai. Kongou Banchou published from 2007 – 2012, ending at 114 chapters and 12 volumes.

Kongou Akira is looking to take down the “23 district project” which involves “banchou” (translated to ‘school gang leader/s’) from the 23 districts of Tokyo in a fight for the right to control Japan. He unwittingly becomes a participant in the battle with the alias, “Kongou Banchou”, and must take down other banchou while searching for the leaders of the project. (Copied this from Wikipedia, I’m sorry, it was such a good blurb there wasn’t much else that needed to be edited.)

WARNING: Violence. It’s a shounen-action. I don’t know what else you would expect, haha. Besides that, don’t get a heart attack from all the ‘manly-feels’ you get. Doesn’t matter whether you identify yourself as a guy or not. This manga is so manly, you might need to get up in the middle of reading it multiple times and jump around or hit something to release those manly feelings and emotions. Its so manly, if you don’t find a way to release those manly feels, and let them build in your gut, it feels like you’re constipating.

I was lucky. I had twitter to gibberish spam.

16 pages into the first chapter and I already had the need to shout about how cool Kongou Akira is. I’m probably just someone who gets interested in stuff really quickly, but I’m also pretty confident that Kongou Banchou would be able to catch your attention really fast too. As long as you’re someone who enjoys the heart-thumping action and excitement of shounen manga, this is totally up your alley.

If you really do plan on reading Kongou Banchou though, I’d advise you to gather all the ‘logic’ you have in your brain, stuff it into a bag, then toss that bag out of the window. This manga is completely absurd. It’s so entertaining and enjoyable BECAUSE it’s beyond ridiculous. The story is simple and straightforward. You might even be able to say its somewhat shallow… But with a series as immensely crazy as this, there’s really no need for a deep story at all. What I would like to mention though, is how fast the story escalated and managed to keep things interesting with certain twists and unexpected events happening along the way. Thanks to that, the continuous battles didn’t feel monotonous.

I’m actually finding it pretty hard to describe this manga without resorting to TYPING IN CAPITAL LETTERS because Kongou Banchou is so insanely cool, I FEEL LIKE REGULAR LETTERS DON’T DO THE MANGA JUSTICE…

Kongou Banchou Chp 1 cover

Kongou Banchou Chp 1 cover

And it’s not just the protagonist that’s cool. The countless enemies, friends, and comrades that appear throughout the story are equally absurd and equally interesting in their own way. Each (relatively important) character has their moment. I really like how Suzuki-sensei managed to insert little quirks into the different characters and differentiate them with their own catchphrases. It’s even more amazing when you find out that Suzuki-sensei actually took inspiration from many different fan contributors and drew different banchou based on their ideas. Even with several stereotypes present, the characters are still peculiar and unique.

As you can see from the volume cover and image above, Suzuki-sensei’s character-art style for Kongou Banchou is pretty gar. (Go urban dictionary it if you’re not familiar with the term). All the guys are extremely muscled, but there are a few which are still relatively easy on the eyes if you’re not used to the bulging muscles and eyebrow game. There aren’t very many female characters, unfortunately. What makes up for that though, in my books at least, is the fact that the female characters get their share of the ‘coolness’ and ‘manliness’. There is a tiny little bit of the ‘damsel-in-distress’ situation, but I can’t even bring myself to be exasperated with the ‘damsel’ because I actually really like that character even though she might not be as capable as others. Besides the character art, the manga’s action scenes are dynamic and clear, making it easy to follow what’s going on.

Kongou Banchou is honestly a pretty generic shounen premise, in the sense that the protagonist (and his friends) continuously fight for a reason or another, and the recurring theme of nakama is present. But “don’t sweat the small stuff”, I just hope you enjoy Kongou Banchou as much as I did.

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