Reading Level: Teen+
Genre: Manga/Science Fiction
Length: 208 pages
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: September 1, 201
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Ninja Slayer Kills series
Source: From Amazon Vine for Review
Rating: 1/5 stars
I got this through the Amazon Vine program. I am a fan of shounen and have read quite a bit of it. Some of my favorites are the Hellsing series, Berserk, and Claymore. With a title like Ninja Slayer Kills, I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece but something that was action packed, full of ninja awesomeness, and maybe a bit tongue in cheek. This ended up being a pretty awful book in just about every aspect.
Fujikido Kenji swears revenge on all of the cybernetic “wicked” ninja after they blow up his apartment resulting in the death of his wife and son. In process of swearing revenge he is somehow possessed by the soul of a Ninja allowing him to become a Wicked Ninja killing machine. That is pretty much the extent of the story as he faces off and destroys one evil Ninja after another.
I am going to try and make this a fair review, but I fear it will be more of a rant. I’ll start with everything I didn’t like and then move on to what I did like.
The background for how/why Fujikido became ninja slayer is very stereotypical and set up in just a couple quick pages. It had a feeling of, okay let’s make this a viable story and get all this background stuff out of the way quickly. It was rushed, incomplete, and hollow feeling. Of course, like many, I am mostly here for the action scenes (although I really would appreciate a good story too) so I am willing to forgive that if the action is well done. If you want to get an idea of what the story actually is I recommend reading the summary on the back of the book first, if you don’t you will have no clue what is supposed to be happening here.
However, the illustration and action scenes are absolutely awful. They are impossible to follow and just a mess of lines. I had no idea what was going on in the action scenes or who was who. It was just absolutely one of the worst mangas I have ever read with regards to illustration and action scenes. It seriously ticked me off and I almost stopped reading 20 or so pages in.
The manga redeems itself a bit when you get to a scene where we meet Ninja Slayers’ sensei and one of the other female ninjas he lives with. You get an inkling of a story developing…but that only lasts a couple pages before it is brushed aside and replaced by more awful and impossible to follow action scenes.
In addition to the above the book takes itself very seriously and is plagued with awkward sounding dialogue. The reader is constantly bludgeoned over the head with authentic Japanese ninja terminology (which is in bold throughout as though to emphasis its importance). Ugh just awful.
The story does have a couple of small redeeming qualities. I did enjoy the glossary in the back which goes through some ninja terminology and definitions; this was fun learning. The concept was a good one, if poorly executed. I also think there is a hint of an interesting story in here; if it hadn’t been so rushed this could have been at least a decent start to the Ninja Slayer story.
Overall not recommended. The story is rushed and poorly done, the action scenes are poorly illustrated and hard to follow, and the dialogue is awkward and takes itself way too seriously. If you want to read some good shounen check out Hellsing, Berserk, Claymore, Deadman Wonderland, or Attack on Titan…all of those are much better than this manga.