Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga

Bakegyamon... another "fighting" manga property

  • Jun 19, 2011
The main character of the series is Sanshiro, an energetic young man who lives on a small island with his grandparents. Sanshiro wants to become an explorer, like his father; he also longs for adventure. His grandparents, however, are not supportive of these dreams and goals. One day, after Sanshiro has received another lecture from his grandparents, he hears a mysterious voice asking if he wants an adventure. Suddenly, seals appear all over the room, and the voice instructs Sanshiro to peel one. When he peels off a seal, he receives a "starter kit" for a game; a man named Fue also appears, saying that he is Sanshiro's guide to Bakegyamon. Fue takes Sanshiro to Backwards Japan, a place that is a backwards version of Japan. Fue also tells Sanshiro that whoever wins at Bakegyamon will be granted a single wish. After their arrival at Backwards Japan, the game begins!

Concept-wise, it feels like the creator of Bakegyamon took ideas from series such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon and tried to put some new twists into the concept. Overall, I don't really feel there's much here to distinguish Bakegyamon from other similar "fighting" manga series aimed at the shonen audience. Perhaps future volumes of the series will find a way to distinguish itself from these other properties.

The art style also doesn't have very much to make it stand out from other manga properties that have a similar premise. Like other shonen manga, this one also has its fair share of the "busy" panels, especially during action sequences. Personally, I thought the character design for Sanshiro feels a little too similar to Ask Ketchum (except for the fact that Sanhiro wears his cap backwards); these similarities in design are only reinforced by the characters' similar enthusiastic personalities.

In the end, I was left with the impression that Bakegyamon felt like a derivative story. However, if you enjoy manga series such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon Adventures, you might also find enjoyment in Bakegyamon.

Bakegyamon is rated "A," which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

I wrote this review after checking out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.

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About the reviewer
Lesley Muir Aeschliman ()
Ranked #2
I'm a freelance writer whocovers anime and manga on her blog, Lesley's Musings... on Anime & Manga. I also have a music blog called AeschTunes that I post at every once in a while.   … more
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R to L (Japanese Style)

Sanshiro's chances of having an adventure are slim to none on his tiny island hometown. Until the day when a mysterious stranger invites him to play a game... Without warning, Sanshiro is taken to a reverse universe to play Bakégyamon--a game pitting monsters against monsters, with a twist. Along the way he meets other opponents who have their own reasons for being there. Namely, a wish that is granted to the winner of the game. But how far can Sanshiro get when the monsters he's been paired with are a bunch of little mud balls?!

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ISBN-10: 9781421517933
ISBN-13: 978-1421517933
Author: Mitsuhisa Tamura
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

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