Manga

My favorite 7 manga that started (and for some ended) in 2021

7) Candy Flurry

Candy Flurry is a manga series that began in April of 2021. Unfortunately, it’s already been cancelled. The series followed Tsumugi Minase, a “sweet user” who uses a lollipop as a weapon. In the world of Candy Flurry, a corporation called the Toy Toy Candy, makes confections that grant those that eat them magic candy powers. After five years, Toy Toy Candy became restricted and the “Sweet Police” were formed to stop Sweet Users. Each user can’t have the same powers but somehow Minase and a mysterious criminal both can use lollipop’s. She must hide her powers to avoid getting arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. Candy Flurry only reach 2 full volumes, but I think it’s worth a read.

6) The Hunters Guild: Red Hood

Like Candy Flurry, The Hunter Guild got the axe. A manga from Yuki Kawaguchi, Hunters Guild tells the story of Velou. From the small village of Kasoka, Velou calls the Hunters Guild to deal with their werewolf problem. Grimm is a hunter that arrives. At first she’s a little then she becomes a tall woman. Hunters Guild was always a gamble. Based on the fairytale (Little Red Riding Hood), the series was potential going to feel unoriginal. It liked what Kawaguchi did with werewolf lore, but it wasn’t enough.

5) Ayashimon

Ayashimon is a new series written and illustrated by Yuji Kaku. Maruo Kaido is a manga fan with dreams of becoming a “manga hero”. Blessed with superstrength due to special training inspired by manga he reads, Maruo meets Urara. An oni ayashimon, Urara is on the run from the ayashimon yakuza. Using his strength, Maruo saves her from the gang. Impressed, Urara recruits him into her yakuza group. The first question that came to mind after reading the first chapter of Ayashimon was, do we really need ANOTHER series about demons? I think the genre is becoming bloated. That said, making the ayashimon yakuza is an interesting twist. I don’t think it will be enough. But, I’ll give it a try.

4) Choujin x

Sui Ishida is best known for the series Tokyo Ghoul, which collectively sold 34 million copies. This year Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump released Choujin X. The story focuses on Azuma Higashi and his friend Tokio Kurohara. Polar opposites, the two friends live in the Yamato Prefecture, a district overwhelmed by Choujins. After an encounter with a Choujin, Tokio and Azuma decide they must become Choujin themselves. Tokio injects himself with a mysterious syringe, transforming into a vulture form. His life will never be the same.

3) Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse

A spinoff of the popular Seven Deadly Sins series, Four Knights of the Apocalypse follows Percival, a young boy who’s prophesized to become one of the Four Knights that will destroy the world. Unlike sequel series like Boruto, Four Knights was deliberately separated form the cast of Seven Deadly Sins. Instead of using the son of Meliodas and Elizabeth, Tristan, Nakaba Suzuki created Percival. Son of the Holy Knight, Ironside, Percival was raised by his grandfather until his father tried to murder them both. Percival is set on a journey to find his father and get revenge.

2) Bleach: One Shot

Like most Bleach fans I was eagerly awaiting the return of one of the best manga series. This year the Bleach One Shot was released. As Soul Society prepares for Soul Funeral Festival, a “ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain.” Kubo attempts to explain the reason we never heard of this festival is due to how rare Captain deaths are. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander Genryusai, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. The One Shot introduces several new characters specifically, Vice Captains Rindo and YuYu. I wouldn’t recommend it for those new to Bleach. The One Shot is worth reading especially if you’re a fan of the series.

1) Dandadan

I was first drawn to this series when I saw the art on Twitter. Dandadan is a series written and illustrated by Yukinobu Tatsu. It focuses on high school girl Momo Ayase. She believes in ghosts but not aliens, contrasting her with Okarun, who believes aliens but not ghosts. The two decide to prove each other wrong by heading to separate locations where the occult are known to exists. They both prove the other right, as they encounter aliens and ghosts respectively. Manga isn’t short on demon, ghosts, and the other occult imagery but I think Dandadan has a unique spin on this genre. I love the creative design of the various creatures, they’re so well done and imaginative. Dandadan blends sex comedy, action, and humor with beautify art. I think it’s the best new manga series of 2021.

Manga

Four Knights of the Apocalypse Volume 2, Recap and Review:

In the first volume of Four Knights of the Apocalypse, we were introduced to Percival, the child of Holy Knight Ironside. Percival begins his journey after the death of his beloved grandfather, Varghese. In chapter five, Percival is told of the prophecy, he’s one of the four Holy Knights destined to “bring destruction to theĀ world,” and “the end to King Arthur of Camelot.” Each Knight represents a “calamity,” Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death. Percival is Death. Four Knights of the Apocalypse Volume 2 opens with the Holy Knights meeting to discuss a new prophecy and the details regarding the four. A mysterious leader announces that the four are likely to be “young lads.” He suspects that they will be “apprentices,” not Knights.

Pellegarde is in attendance and knows that they’re wrong. Percival isn’t even an apprentice yet. The four Knights are described as “a boy bearing gold colored magic,” “a boy with holiness and evil in his eyes,” “one with no fixed appearance,” and “a child with verdant, wing-like hair.” Pellegarde reveals to Ironside that Percival survived and he thinks they should raise him into a Knight. Ironside attacks him, which has no effect. He claims that he can’t allow Percival to live because he will “destroy the world.” Elsewhere, Sin, Percival, and Donny discuss the prophecy and the Kingdom of Camelot. Percival is not convinced he’s going to be destroying the world and Donny points out that Camelot was destroyed 16th years ago. Sins convinces Donny and Percival to join him.

Ironside is still concerned by his son.

Nasien, the mad herbalist of Echo Gorge

Hungry, Percival, Donny, and Sin go hunting. While Percival explores on his own, Donny uses bow and arrows to hunt rabbits. However, he a terrible shot. So much so that he accidently hits a giantess named Dolores praying nearby. Dolores is told by two fairies, Bob and Nob, that Percival entered Echo Gorge, a small valley in Britannia. Echo Gorge was abandoned by fairies and giants due to a strange disease that began effecting wildlife. Percival entered the former home of the giants and fairies. Inside, he encounters wild rabbits and violent tress. Suddenly, he hears cries for help. A “demon” named Nasiens, the Mad Herbalist, has captured a fairy and wants to “experiment” on him. Percival barges in and frees the fairy. He’s knocked out by Nasien and awakens to find himself stripped to his underwear.

Nasien injects Percival with a drug and is surprised by how little effect it has on Percival. Nasien seems to be your typical mad scientist character. He lacks ethics and willing to experiment on anyone. However, he’s trying to save the Gorge from dying. He has the magic of “venom mixing,” were he can “teach” his body by ingesting various poisons. Using “misty rain,” he covers the gorge in a mist, reviving it. Like Percival, Nasien was raised by his grandfather (although they’re not biologically related). The fairy Percival rescued returns with Nasien grotesquely altered grandfather, Ordo. The monster releases a poison that rots the forest. Nasien begs his grandfather to stop. In a flashback, we see Ordo dreamed of turning Echo Gorge into a “druggist’s cabinet,” for Britannia.

Percival discovers Echo Gorge.

It’s a sin

The culprit responsible for Ordo’s transformation is Talisker, the Amber Knight. He claims that if they can land single blow on him he will explain why he turned Ordo and if they defeat him he will turn Ordo back. Nasien uses Enchant: Henbane and Belladonna, and charges at Talisker. the Holy Knight counters with Hail Impact. Talisker overwhelms Nasien and Percival until the latter’s magic emerges and swallowing Talisker’s Hail Impact. When he lands a hit on Talisker, the Holy Knight tells them why he transformed Ordo. He says that King Arthur wants a land “where humanity lives in peace.” Basically, King Arthur’s a bigot. Talisker warned Ordo to focus only on healing humans and when the doctor refused he was punished.

Talisker uses his power to control the weather to strike Percival with a lightning bolt. At this point, Percival’s magic is still unfamiliar. However, Percival’s magic allows him to turn attacks into enchantment’s. The Holy Knight finally realizes that Percival is the “child with verdant wing-like hair,” and therefore one of the four Knights of the Apocalypse. Talisker becomes excited. If he can kill Percival then the prophecy will end. The Holy Knight attacks with Calamity Bird. Sin tells Percival his magic is formed base on whatever he imagines. So he thinks of a sword and his magic takes that form. He cuts up the bird and Talisker defeating the Holy Knight. When Sin destroys the “Chaos Staff” Talisker was carrying, Ordo returns to normal. According to Sin, Chaos Staffs are “infused with chaotic magic,” a handed to Holy Knights by the King.

Percival destroys Calamity Bird.

Arriving at Sistana

After witnessing the destruction the Holy Knights can create, Percival decides that he will take down King Arthur along with his father. After some banter, Nasien rushes to meet them. He tells them he wants to join them. Chapter 14 sets up the next volume and the Sistana arc. Ironside is in the Kingdom of Liones and we are introduced to Duke Galden and his daughter Anne. The Holy Knights are looking for the “Coffin of Eternal Darkness,” an artifact was used to seal the Demon Clan. When Sin, Nasien, and Percival arrive in Sistana they are taken to the Coffin by Percival’s magic sprites. When he digs the relic out, Anne appears and threatens to kill them all.

Four Knights of the Apocalypse volume 2 continues to expand the world, while referencing the Seven Deadly Sins, particularly the Coffin of Eternal Darkness and the Demon Clan. The Holy Knights have never been morally good but the search for the Coffin seem strange. Do the Knights intend on releasing Demons back into the world? Nasien is very similar to Percival, at least in having a shared experience of losing their grandfathers. Nasien’s grandfather returns of course and Percival’s never will. Regardless, they seemed to have bonded. I wonder what the other Knights of the Apocalypse are like. Considering the Holy Knights or King Arthur are evil, it’s likely the four are actually innocent heroes. The apocalypse could just be spin from the Holy Knights perspective.

Manga

Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 4 and 5: Percival is death

The cover of Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 4.
The cover of Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 4.

In Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 4, Pellegarde is surprised by Percival’s magic abilities. Percival is shocked and kind of disgusted by it. He tries to shake it off his hand and attempts to “give” it to Pellegarde, who is pushed back. He describes Percival’s magic as an “enchanter type.” Pellegarde uses his magic against Percival and shoots a fireball he calls Pyre. He’s able to control the flame with his fingers. Percival is able to dodge his attack with ease. Pellegarde challenges him to do something else. Percival swats the flame with his hands. However, Pellegarde’s flame hits him anyway. The Knight tells him that his flame “will never go out” unless he stops it or the “target burns down.”

Surrounded by flames, Percival doesn’t panic. He spreads his magic around his body to protect himself. However, Pellegarde claims that it’s too late, he’s already sustained burns. Percival collapses. Suddenly, little Percival’s form around Pellegarde. The Holy Knight is confused about what type of magic Percival possesses, as the latter heals himself. Pellegarde claims his magic is the “hero” type. This proves what we already know, Percival is one of the Four Knights. What is surprising is Pellegarde wants to keep Percival alive. Percival strikes Pellegarde, demanding the fight continue.


Pellegarde is impressed with Percival’s ability

Pellegarde is impressed by Percival’s strength and determination. However, he’s still inexperienced. Donny steps in and levitates Pellegarde, giving Percival a chance to escape. Pellegarde explodes with power, regaining control over the fight. A red fox appears with Percival’s bag. It releases a spell bead, teleporting Percival and Donny. The bead transports them to the dragon’s backbone, a thirty-mile mountain growth. The Red Fox can speak and is quite rude. After telling Percival he’s a “sorry ass,” the fox tells him Pellegarde wouldn’t know where his father was. Anyway, he tells Percival and Donny the Four Knights don’t exist, yet. Each Knight will bring “four world-destroying calamities.”

If you’re familiar with the Bible and the Four horsemen of the Apocalypse, then the concept is common. The four horsemen are famine, pestilence, war, and death. Percival is one of them. It’s clear from the image that Percival is death. Considering his personality, Percival doesn’t seem like he should be a member. Will he change? Maybe the four horsemen won’t be as menacingly as the name suggests. I’m curious how Four Knights of the Apocalypse will deal with this dark premise.

Manga

Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 3: Percival versus the Black Knight

As Donny gets bandaged up, Percival and Elva take a bath together. The scene is creepy and mostly an opportunity for fanservice and groping. However, there is a comedic payoff when Elva and Donny reveal that like Percival they’re just sixteen. Percival seems younger than his age, so Elva allowed him to see her naked thinking he was a little boy. I don’t know why anyone would let a strange boy see them naked, but you know anything makes sense in the name of fanservice. Anyway, Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 3, “Clues of the Father,” introduces us to the Black Knight, Pellegarde.

Elva mentions that Percival is “born” to be a Holy Knight, except he doesn’t have any magic. As the village celebrates Percival, he asks them if they’ve seen his father Ironside. Unfortunately, none of them have heard of the Holy Knight. Suddenly, the Black Knight appears floating from above. Pellegarde accuses Ironside of lying about his son’s death, assuming he was “looking out for his own offspring.” Katz upset at Pellegarde’s insensitivity, grabs the Black Knight. This is only important for two reasons. First Katz towers over Pellegarde but can’t move him and second, the Black Knight doesn’t hesitate to attack him. Percival demands to know his father’s location. If necessary, he’ll use force.

Percival attacks Pellegarde barehanded. Unlike Katz, he’s able to move him back. Pellegarde promises to tell him if Percival defeats him but if he beats him, Percival is coming with him. The Black Knight wants to raise him. As Pellegarde gets the upper hand, Percival uses unknown magic. This chapter is mostly just set up for the next one, but it made me curious. Why Pellegarde would want to raise Percival?

Manga

Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 2: Percival’s ignorance is a threat.

Percival struggles to leave “Finger of God,” both physically and mentally. As he climbs down he recalls the warmth and safety he found with his grandfather. The safety he had came at a cost. Percival became isolated, resulting in ignorance of the larger world, even his father. Percival doesn’t know what money is, what a wolf looks like, and he doesn’t have any friends. This ignorance sets Percival to be taken advantage of. He’s too trusting and it can both be enduring and dangerous.

Four Knights of the Apocalypse Chapter 2 makes not of showing that Percival is a powerhouse. Obviously, to survive on his own he must have the strength to do so. He still lacks the rigid and specific fighting style knights possess. When Percival and his new companions arrive to defeat a wolf terrorizing a village, they’re overwhelmed by the giant beast. Donny flees, appearing to leave Percival to fight alone. Percival is eager to rescue the family in danger, reciting his grandfather’s oath he springs into action.

Percival is still a raw fighter

However, Percival lacks the skills to fight effectively. Draped in his grandfather’s oversized cloak, Percival is clumsy, pinning the cloak down with arrows shot from his bow. Shockingly, Donny, who was previously presented as selfish, returns and saves Percival from being slashed. Percival now angry overpowers the wolf with his raw strength. This fight is indicative of what Percival is at this point. He’s “raw” young, innocent, and filled with potential. The wolf is the familiar of a mysterious Holy knight.

I’m really into this series. Percival is a fun character and I find him to be silly. Four Knights of the Apocalypse art style is reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z. Percival does remind me of a young Goku. This series doesn’t explore new ground but it’s not necessary. What is important is the characters. So far, Percival is the draw. He lacks the refined fighting and social skills, necessary to do well in this world. His ignorance is his biggest weakness so far. This series is a shonen of course so expect action scenes, and with Nakaba Suzuki’s art, I can’t wait.