By Nina Brossa
Takahiro is best known for writing the manga “Akame ga Kill!” It tells the story of Tatsumi, a boy from the countryside who joins a group of assassins in order to rid the empire of corruption. The final manga volume of “Akame ga Kill!” brought the series to a satisfying close in July.
Now, from the same author, along with new artist Strelka, comes its sequel, “Hinowa ga Crush!” While there are a few flashbacks to the original, fans and newcomers alike will be able to enjoy this new action series.
The manga takes place in an era of warring states on the island of Wakoku. Twenty-four countries are at war for leadership of the island, but the story mainly focuses on the conflict between the Soukai and the Tenrou nations. After Hinata’s mother, a Soukai captain, is murdered by a formidable Tenrou commander, she adopts her name, Hinowa, and vows to end the war.
She and her friends, all of low socioeconomic status, train under an elder in the hopes of entering the battlefield and distinguishing themselves. They are finally able to join the army, but will they be prepared to face the challenges of war?
The characters have developed well, considering this is only the first volume. They have already distinguished their own personalities, goals and backgrounds. From just the first five chapters, you can tell that they already have good compatibility and mesh well with one another.
In addition to the main group of friends, there is also a very important secondary character, Akame — the title character from the original series washes up along the Soukai shore and briefly trains Hinowa. Unfortunately, Akame watches the action from the sidelines in this volume due to injuries.
Takahiro’s story writing has also improved since, “Akame ga Kill!” While there are still scenes containing violence and sexuality, “Hinowa ga Crush!” does not solely rely on that kind of grit to tell its story.
This may be be attributed to this series’ lack of focus on corruption and depravity, unlike its predecessor, though such things certainly exist in the world of the second book.
Although there is a new artist behind the second book, the change was not so jarring and I welcome a new artist for this new story. However, I do miss some aspects of the original artist, Tetsuya Tashiro, and his work. He gave the first story a distinct style that can’t be replicated.
The start of the series is promising. If you are a fan of war stories or action comics, “Hinowa ga Crush!” just might be the manga for you. Even if you have never read or have an interest in reading “Akame ga Kill!” the plot and characters are fresh enough that you will enjoy this series.