Hoshin Engi 23

May 16, 2015

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2011 – 23 volumes

Ah… it should have ended three volumes ago, and I liked it a lot better ten or so volumes back.  But it’s always nice to finish up a series like this, especially one I used to like so much.

I was bummed that there was… no fight with Dakki, really.  Literally and figuratively.  In fact, Dakki winds up saving the day.  To be fair, her ultimate end didn’t make much sense.  But man.  I would have liked to have seen her foiled even once.  Her last gamble was fairly entertaining, though.

The final fight with Joka was… what fights in this series usually are.  Energy being shot from paope.  I’m kind of over that, so this fight was rather anticlimactic for me.

I’m also kind of over the dozens of characters.  There are story resolutions for everyone that stuck around.

What I did like was the very, very end.  It was funny, in character for Taikobo, and brought everything back around to the beginning.

Would I recommend the whole series?  Ehhhh… I don’t know about that.  The style’s pretty funky, and I like the designs for characters and clothing.  I loved the beginning of the series, too.  But I think Chokomei’s ending was more fun than what actually happened.  It was fun for awhile, and I don’t regret reading it, but I don’t know how many other people would enjoy jumping into this one now.

Hoshin Engi 22

April 12, 2015

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2011 – 23 volumes

Oh man, the end of this series is BORING.  Now we’re getting into the plots behind the plots behind the plots, and some sort of metaphysical paope that Joka uses that makes it so whatever it touches never existed, and I’m not even sure what happened in this volume except they rumbled Joka, she has some crazy soul-splitting abilities that make her almost invincible, and… UGH.

Fujisaki straight-up admits he can’t explain how her paope works, because it doesn’t make sense.  I also learned that the super-powerful good guy introduced last volume exists only because Fujisaki drew him for a game and liked the design enough to put him in the series.  It’s his series, and he can do whatever he wants.  I’ve quite enjoyed the sense of humor here all the way through.  But man, I’m having trouble dealing with this ending, because there are too many characters, and it doesn’t make sense.

One more volume after this.  Dakki’s still running around out there somewhere, so I’m hoping Taikobo will demand satisfaction after he wipes Joka out.  That would be great.

Hoshin Engi 21

March 18, 2015

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2010 – 23 volumes

Ugh.  Do we really need a Sennin Tournament and a new, Most Powerful Character at this stage in the series?  I probably should have expected this.  Not just because there was an unfamiliar character on the cover, but also because Taikobo flew into Dakki/Joka’s territory with about 500 characters.  What else are they going to do?

I was also bummed that, in order to facilitate something, there was a major event concerning Taikobo.  But it lasted two pages, and there was no fanfare whatsoever.  Even though this has been on the cusp of happening the whole series.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

As cool as Otenkun’s design is, I hate him appearing.  He is nothing but an enigma, and this story has enough of them.  He propositions Taikobo at the end of the volume and explains himself, but I’m still not satisfied.

Ho-hum.  Two volumes left.  Other than a fight with Joka, I’m not sure what else we’re covering here.  Unless they really want to go into aliens.  Maybe they do.

Hoshin Engi 20

February 13, 2015

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2010 – 23 volumes

So here’s one I inexplicably stopped reading around 5 years ago!  I decided to finish it off on my Christmas vacation.  Starting this volume, I think I know why I didn’t go back.  I’m pretty sure a lot of the most exciting stuff already happened in this series.  The war is over, and not even the final fight with King Chu was that exciting here.  I imagined the last three volumes containing something… rather ridiculous.  So far, I’m right.  Joka scared me away.  But I’m going to finish anyway.

This series also suffers for having 5,000 characters (which might be a thing I hate, considering a lot of the series I stopped reading years ago and picked back up today have the same problem).  Happily, it was easy to get back into this one because it ran in Shounen Jump, and it doesn’t really matter who all the side characters are.  The first story arc in the volume is Tenka’s fight with himself and his father’s legacy, and his attempt on the life of King Chu.  I love that Taikobo continues to insist that King Chu must be killed by a human, or the revolution is meaningless.

This all went about as planned, honestly, save for the surprise for Tenka at the end of the fight.  But that was happening anyway, so it wasn’t that surprising.

Highlight of the volume:  King Chu’s thought that he missed Dakki, even without the temptation jutsu.  It was just so sweet, even considering how much I hate Dakki.

The war finished up basically uneventfully.  The second half of the volume begins the expected Sennin end-of-the-series.  Again, I’m not looking forward to this, because there are a thousand characters and I feel like something insane and nonsensical is about to happen.  The end of this volume didn’t make much sense because of the thousand characters, and I suspect I wouldn’t care about most of them even if I had read this in sequence with the rest of the volumes.

But at least they’re fast reads.  I do want them to somehow explain… what Joka is (even though I can see she’s an alien gray, for some reason), and I want to know about Otenkun.  I’ve got three volumes to find out, I guess, and I think even more characters, Paope, magical lands, superpowers, et cetera are going to be introduced.  Hooray.

It’s a real shame, because there was some solid gold in this series all the way through.  I’m sad I can’t be more excited about the ending.

Hoshin Engi 19

September 18, 2010

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2010 – 23 volumes

WHAT!? I’ve been reading all this time and… what? Joka… what?

Seriously. How does that work? Either this is one of the most cosmic series I’ve ever read, or something’s definitely screwy. Re-writing human history so thoroughly? I know that’s what they’ve been trying to do all along, relinquish control to humans and have magical beings withdraw, but… words fail me.

Words just fail me, Hoshin Engi.

And there was another sennin battle. Crap. At least this one was less about fighting and more about reasoning with crazy King Chu. And there was even a mini-battle between Dakki and Taikobo, though I hope we see a better one than that when all is said and done.

But I did like that Shinkohyo was the one to unload all that stuff on Dakki, based on “things he’d figure out.” That’s some insane figuring he’s done. As crazy and completely nonsensical as all that was, it was still appreciated. Did we really need such crazy motivation for Dakki? Not really.

This… I don’t even know. I don’t care about this war anymore. It looks like it’s over with, anyway. At least it dropped all this crazy stuff when the main plot was taken care of.

Seriously. That’s all I have to say. Anything else would be a spoiler. And… yeah, I didn’t see that coming. I’m sure nobody did. I don’t know that I liked it. At all. But it was certainly appreciated as a reward for sticking with the series all this time.

Hoshin Engi 18

September 12, 2010

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2010 – 23 volumes

YES. Much better now that the sendo war is over! Taikobo is sent after Taijo Rokun, who is the best character we’ve had in a long while. He’s not on any side, doesn’t have ties to any of the others or the worlds they belong to, and he’s lazy, so there’s nothing Taikobo can really say to convince him to come along. He’s also very funny. The first half of the volume is Taikobo tracking him down in the village he… I don’t know if he created it, or the environment in which it exists, but it’s extremely just, and Taikobo gets into a lot of trouble while he looks for Taijo Rokun.

When Taikobo finally locates Taijo Rokun, he has to speak to him in dreams, and they discuss human nature, Taikobo’s ultimate goal, and then train on super paope. It is absolutely cosmic, and one of the reasons I read this series through the boring parts. I know I will always be rewarded later. The best parts are these wonderful fantasy sequences, that take the Sennin world and show off just how different it is from reality. The worst parts are where we just see sennin versus sennin, with nothing to show us the scale of what’s going on. But since the themes of the series are the sennin pulling out of the human world, there’s more of the former than the latter.

After all that is taken care of, the characters confront Chokei, the master of Menchi castle and Bunchu’s disciple. This is a sennin fight, and it’s punched up a little bit by the fact Taikobo debuts his new paope, but the fight quickly (very quickly) ends, and Taikobo and Chokei go to the Hoshindai. This is… strange to say the least, since I’m not sure we’ve ever really seen the Hoshindai as a real place. Not one to let the opportunity go to waste, Fujisaki makes the trip fun with a turtle guide and a Galaxy Express 999 angry train taking them to their destination. We learn what it really is, and that Taikobo’s known all along. And best of all, we get to see Chokomei again, which is never a bad thing.

And now we are at a human war, and a crossroads. This is clearly the beginning of the end, and I’m pretty excited to see where things go from here. Certainly this war won’t last five volumes?

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

Hoshin Engi 17

August 14, 2010

Ryu Fujisaki – Viz – 2010 – 23 volumes

And here’s the other adaptation of a Chinese novel. This is… an extremely loose adaptation, moreso than the Romance of the Three Kingdoms retelling in One Thousand and One Nights.

Hm. This series has slowed down significantly in the recent volumes. I can’t figure out why I’m enjoying it less. The problem I have with there being too many characters seems to solve itself with each passing volume (this one included… we lost a few people that I was quite fond of), and the epic war that brings about the downfall of the entire supernatural world is, to say the least, very interesting. But I think it’s all the vague paope fights, the power versus power, that’s wearing on me these last several volumes. Rather than Taikobo outsmarting people, we’re just seeing who’s made-up weapon is the best, and it’s far less interesting. Not even Genshi Tenson’s battle with Bunchu was that great, and I was really looking forward to seeing the great Genshi Tenson fight. The Bunchu versus Hiko Ko fight was marginally more interesting, but again, it was a bunch of speedlines followed by some sadness on both sides. It could have been so much more.

The end of the Sennin war is pretty epic. Lots of dramatic and sad trips to the Hoshindai, and seeing both sides come out at a loss was also pretty fantastic. Best of all, we can move on to something else now.

Taikobo puts Yozen in charge of King Bu’s march to the city and goes off in search of one of the greatest Sennin alive, one who sides with neither Mount Kongrong or Kingo Island and is on the same level as the leaders of both, or even Shinkohyo or Dakki. Taikobo’s already run into the strange Shinkohyo once on his search, and has arrived at a bizarre town, and already it’s far better than the war we just finished.

This series is always better in chunks, and I’ve got two more volumes to read before I’m caught up to the current release. I’m pretty excited to move forward in this new storyline, honestly. I haven’t liked it as much since the defeat of Chokomei in volume 12. I like it, I like it a lot, and I’m still impressed by how good the art is and how tightly plotted it’s been all along. But it’s never been quite as good since then. I have high hopes that some of the silliness I like will come back and brighten things up again.