The protagonists of the manga Shonen encompass a wide range of personalities, from frozen geniuses to morons with hearts of gold to cool guys who just do their best. But sometimes you just want a complete idiot who gets into situations and comes out on top. Whether it’s Monkey D. Luffy or Naruto Uzumaki, these doofus add a lot of charm to their stories, making everyone exasperated by their antics before finally being won over by them.
The new manga of Shonen Jump Ayashimon, which started the weekly declines in November, understands this perfectly. Its teenage protagonist, Maruo Kaido, has dreamed of being a manga protagonist since he was a child and trained his body from an early age to be as strong as possible. Tired that his dreams haven’t come true since, fate finally seems to follow its path after saving a young girl named Urara, landing him in the world of Ayashimon (or yokai, a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore). and his underworld Yakuza. . With the various crime families fighting for control of Shinjuku, Urara wants to regain control of her late father’s crime syndicate to bring it all down – and needs Maruo’s chilling strength to fight her way to the Mountain peak.
Similar to Choujin X, the mixture of modern Japan and the supernatural grotesque leads to an interesting visual work. After its feudal Japan Heaven from hell, Creator Yuji Kaku’s journey to the present means that the Ayashimon are mostly made up of gangsters in costume with odd heads or hands. Nothing has really surpassed the fight in Chapter two between Maruo and a yokai twice its size (it’s like something out of a video game), but it’s early enough that the book has plenty of opportunities to outdo itself in the future.
Currently in five chapters, the manga has found a good rhythm in its storytelling as Maruo is slowly informed – and overwhelmed by – of the deluge of Ayashimon knowledge that Urara and other yokai reveal to him. They’re a funny pair of weird couples as they blatantly point them like a ballistic missile at anyone in their path, and he happily follows up if that means a fight is underway. They are both keenly aware that they are using each other, but it remains to be seen if this will generate any tension, given that all of their respective cards are already on the table.
Currently, the highlight of the book is its comedy. It might be a supernatural crime story, but there are a lot of fun moments here that really land, thanks to the fact that Maruo is comically overpowered. Flashbacks to the chaotic aftermath of the early days of his strength never get old, and the art truly comes to life when it uses Maruo’s punchline crushing someone into oblivion. Although it may be lacking in other places, it is this contagious and stupid energy that makes Ayashimon to read until the end of the year and beyond.