Manga: Gang King

One thing I love about having a hobby like cosplay is that it’s really easy to make new friends.

This manga was recommended by a friend I made really recently who shares a pretty similar bias towards the Seinen manga genre. I thought it was pretty darn cool how we clicked so fast and could sit side-by-side for 30 minutes (would’ve been longer if we didn’t have to leave) chatting nonstop about manga with comparatively mature themes and content.

Thanks Rikka. I’m so darn happy to have found someone who can introduce me to more Seinen stuff.

Manga: Gang King 「ギャングキング」

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        Gang King covers vol 1 and 2

Gang King is Seinen, school-life, action, comedy written and illustrated by Yanauchi Daiju. It started publishing in 2005 and is currently ongoing with 27 volumes. Unfortunately, the series has only been scanlated up to Chapter 48 (Volume 7). That’s all I’ve read until as well.

While being carried by the man who saved him from death, young Jimmy was captivated by the tattoo that spanned across that back. From that day, Jimmy vowed to become a tattoo artist just like the hero that saved him. Now in high school, Jimmy is considered a delinquent and skips class to run his own inking business on fellow school-mates for 30,00Y a tattoo. Banko, his partner-in-crime, runs his own business by selling information on popular girls in the area. As the story progresses, Jimmy and Banko meet new people, form a gang of their own, and bump heads with gangs from other schools/districts.

This manga is not the typical highschool-slice-of-life story; it’s got a rougher edge! This manga depicts some high school delinquents trying to get through high school life and gang fights. Okay no, mostly just gang fights

(Baka-Updates Manga)

WARNING: Violence. Duh. Profanity. Of course. Some fanservice and sexual implications, but usually pretty SFW… If you ignore the one guy constantly waving a dildo around… y e a h h h h ……

First, I guess I’d like to tell you not to be fooled by the cheesy-sounding title. It really isn’t some straightforward story about a delinquent trying to become the ‘King of gangs’ and a fight to be the best or anything like that… If I had to describe Gang King in one sentence, it’d probably be, “A daily-life telling of ‘somewhat-delinquent’ Jimmy, his group of friends, and the shit they get into everyday”; Thus the slice-of-life genre.

Crap, I’m definitely not doing the series justice describing it like that, HAHA.

I really REALLY like Gang King. REALLY. I also probably have this thing for stories of ‘delinquents that aren’t bad’, but hey, they’re cool and you can’t deny it.

Gang King is the kind of story where you really feel like you’re watching the everyday life and development of the characters as they grow up. It’s funny, yet serious. Sometimes gripping and just so damn exciting. A constant up and down. It’s actually pretty episodic, with glimpses into daily life happenings and story arcs that don’t span many chapters. Things link together in the form of recurring characters or references to previous chapters though and you get caught up in it even without much use of cliffhangers at the end of chapters. I hope the short episodic-style at the beginning doesn’t put you off because it’s not until volume 3 onwards that longer arcs start to develop leading to the development of even bigger arcs. That’s where it gets even more fun!

Some plots of chapters seem predictable at first, but I love how this manga is realistic in that not every part has a joyously happy ending. They have their own share of regular problems, just like in real-life. If you’ve read Shonan Junai Gumi (another delinquent slice-of-life manga), Gang King feels a lot more down-to-earth compared to that. And immensely more interesting, I have to admit.

The introduction of characters are seamlessly smooth and each one of them have great progressive development. I think it’s great how certain side-characters play a relatively prominent role throughout and aren’t just one-off conveniences. In a ‘gang’ series of so many characters like this, it’s uplifting to see non-important characters contribute to the humor and development no matter how small.

If I had to pick someone to nitpick, it’d be about Jimmy hogging the spotlight with what you’d expect in a ‘society-thinks-is-bad guy but actually good’ character. There isn’t anyone you can hate though. Even with the ‘white knight seemingly perfect’ character, Jimmy’s got his quirks.

They’re all cool, but dorks. ‘Cool dorks’.

Gang King chp 27 cover

Gang King chp 27 cover

Yanauchi-sensei’s art is definitely one reason for how much I like this series. Relatively realistic art is my bias too. Like almost every manga though, it starts out irregular and a little messy (with too much happening in some panels) but the improvement as the series goes on is amazing.

Considering how gritty and detailed the art is, everything still looks bold and neat. There’s such a variety of characters. Despite being twins or brothers, characters never look the same, with different quirks in their designs; Just like the quirks portrayed in their personalities and character. Even with such weirdly designed characters, I haven’t found any characters I can honestly say looks ‘ugly’.  Plus ‘character development’ doesn’t only cover what happens on the inside and how they act. At least from the main characters, their looks visibly change on the outside as the series progresses too (whether it’s their hairstyle or clothes etc.).

Scanlations have currently stopped at low point in an arc and I’m really looking forward to what comes nexts. It boggles my mind how mangakas can constantly find something interesting to write/draw about for their stories… I mean, just look at Gang King, IT’S ALREADY AT VOLUME 27 AND I’M HOOKED AFTER VOLUME 3?! If I wasn’t so shitty at Japanese, I’d go pick up the manga volumes. Another reason to get better at that huh.

Was actually in a slump again and thought I wasn’t gonna be able to write much for such a good series, but look at that. I wrote too much. OTL Longest post so far, maybe.

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6 thoughts on “Manga: Gang King

    • GTO seems to be the benchmark for a lot of manga HAHA, that’s totally expected. But I actually wouldn’t consider it a ‘delinquent’ manga. It’s more like a ‘teacher reforming students’ kinda thing so…
      GTO’s prequel that I mentioned in the post (Shonan Junai Gumi), on the other hand, is a delinquent manga that focuses on Onizuka and his gang when they were young. I’ve read a little bit of that, but definitely think Gang King is a lot better. This is just my personal opinion though.

      Tell me what ya think after reading it XD And you might wanna check out Shonan Junai Gumi too, but it didn’t keep my interest for that long.

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      • I’ve actually read a little bit of Rose Hip Zero and Shonan 14 Days, but that was about 3 years ago,. Haven’t kept up with any of Fujisawa-sensei’s works recently oh man OTL Shonan 14 Days was totally awesome where I left off, but I find it hard to keep up with series currently scanlating and end up forgetting to continue…
        Which 3 are you referring to though?

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  1. Oh yeah, I remembered there is 4.
    GTO – PARADISE LOST
    INO-HEAD GARGOYLE
    OISHII KAMISHAMA
    HIMITSU SENTAI MOMOIDAA
    Various page numbers for them.

    I do know what you mean about it being difficult to keep up. Since my descent into reading manga online I end up checking mangafox and mangago a couple times a day and keeping a notebook on which chapters and series I am reading. So much manga.

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    • Hahahaha. I see. I used to have a list too, but it just got so tedious OTL
      But then I found out about myanimelist.net AND IT’S SUCH A LIFESAVER. Took me such a long time to update it with whatever mangas and animes I could remember, but it’s so convenient and I’ll never forget a series I read/watch ever again. Unless I forget to update it or the Web Comic doesn’t have a page there. You should really check it out.

      Maybe I’ll do a quick post on the site too. Pretty sure a lot of other people struggle with the same problem we have XD

      Like

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