Anything, and I mean anything that reminds me of Bleach automatically gets my full, undivided attention. Black Torch didn’t even take five pages and I was already thinking of Bleach. 19 chapters later and here I am writing this review.
- Mangaka: TAKAKI TSUYOSHI
- Type: Manga
- Genre: Action, Drama, Shounen, Supernatural, Adventure, Fantasy
- Chapters: 19 chapters (5 Volumes)
- Status: Completed
- Original Run December 31, 2016 – July 11, 2018
- Anime adaptation: No
- Available on the Shounen Jump app or online at Viz Media Shonen Jump
About Black Torch:
Jirou Azuma, a seventeen-year-old boy who lives with his grandpa and uses his talent to communicate with animals to love and protect them, lives a relatively peaceful life. Both Jirou and his grandpa are from a long-established shinobi clan, and they both train in fighting to ensure that the skill of warfare is passed down through their line. Jirou’s life is turned upside down when he saves an apparently normal black cat named Rago, only to find that the cat is really, a demonic spirit called a Mononoke, which have been at battle with humanity for centuries. Jirou must now decide whether or not to continue the rescue mission. A hostile Mononoke comes for Rago, and Jirou tries to save him even though he is outmatched.
Rago is then forced to choose, save Jirou or leave him to die. Choosing to save him he merges with the kid. This lets Rago transfer incredible magical abilities that enhance Jirou’s own shinobi combat technique. It is seen by Ryousuke Shiba, an official in the Bureau of Espionage whose duty it is to handle aggressive Mononoke. Jirou is ‘invited’ to join the Bureau’s newest squad, Black Torch, and assist them in their fight against a strong Mononoke group who want to eat innocent people and take back their place as superior beings.
My only real complaint with this whole manga is that it was too short. If there had been more chapters there could have been more connection development and better pacing. These two aspects would have levelled up the entire story.
There were also aspects that were left hanging – which made me feel that it was half done and should have been handled better. The effect was probably meant to be an open ending feel with ‘and so their daily life continues’ but the effect flopped. Instead, it felt rushed, incomplete and as if the 19 chapters were a pre-release tease. However, because Black Torch was released in 2016, I am highly doubtful that there will be an expansion upon what we have.
The characters were fun to see and I do like their design – for every single character we see. They had so much potential from the female teammate all the way through to our main character’s grandfather. Sadly though the potential was wasted. Due to the lack of length that this series has, there was no time to properly build bonds and flesh out the characters.
The bonds between the characters felt rushed at best and forced and fake at worst. In some brief moments, we do get to see some comradeship between the trio of our main team – yet there is a fourth member whom you kind of forget exists.
The villain was great right up until the end when everything went by at super speed. We never really got to resonate with the villain – even though he did get his chance to reflect on his life and show us his reasoning and motivation.
The plot is very to the point. It moves from A to Z with very little if any detours. The one expanded upon plot angle was great to see but left wanting.
Sadly, while I enjoyed reading this and I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a fun, quick read, I will not go out of my way to reread it. Yet saying that, I would not mind having this series on my bookshelf and I have added it to my ‘to-buy-list’ along with Tokyo Ghoul, Blue Exorcist and Air Gear. I mainly want to purchase the volumes because of the art. The art in this and the fluidity in the panels is impeccable. I can not fault this manga at all when it comes to the visuals. Simply, chefs kiss.
Black Torch available on Loot.co.za
I do think that Black Torch had originally been planned to be a longer running series and then was told to wrap it up. Which is sad and the story honestly deserved more time.
Will you read Black Torch or have you already read it?