Review Vol.1 Yakuza Reincarnation – Manga

Particularly present through animation works and manga, the isekai genre has found its place among us. Sometimes appreciated, sometimes mocked, this type of story projecting one or more protagonists into another world, often tinged with fantasy, seduces by its codes and its ability to bring renewal according to the titles and the authors. Some houses are now representatives of this genre, such as Delcourt/Tonkam and Meian, although many publishers such as Ototo or Kurokawa have also made their proposals with famous sagas. For his part, Kazé had shown himself distant with this type of work. Thus, the arrival of Yakuza Reincarnation in the publisher’s catalog may seem surprising.

If a large part of isekai manga are taken from light novels, this is not the case for the title which is nevertheless shared between a scriptwriter, Takeshi Natsuhara, and a designer, Hiroki Miyashita. The author specializes in black, gang or yakuza stories, giving some legitimacy to this choice of story in his career. As for the designer, Hiroki Miyashita is known to us for two of his works, Monju – Au service de la justice and Hero despite himself.
The series has been running since 2019 in the Sunday GX, under the title Ninkyo Tensei. Seven opuses have been published in Japan at the time these lines are written, while the second part will reach our bookstores at the end of the month.

Yakuza Reincarnation has a rather equivocal title, since the series is interested in a member of the crime society: Ryûmatsu. Fifty years old, the mafioso is particularly respected and has rolled his ball well in this dark environment. He may no longer have the flexibility or the robustness of yesteryear, he remains a figure appreciated by his peers as well as by the citizens. However, this does not prevent him from being betrayed by one of his acolytes. But as if the tattoo of the goddess that adorns his back had acted as a saving entity, Ryûmatsu does not die… but wakes up in another world, and in the body of a young lady! In this world, he is Princess Sanaria-Ryu, an identity he must come to terms with since his kingdom is in peril. Divided by various quarrels, the country would need the experience of the yakuza to restore its image. And fortunately for Ryû: The now young girl has not only recovered her young years, but also all the flexibility she had lost over the years!

Coupled the figure of the respectable old yakuza with the isekai seemed like a good idea to bring a building block to the genre of reincarnation in another world. A find particularly well executed at first glance as the story takes a few pages to introduce its protagonist, establish a very particular point of mystery, then send this character into a fantasy world. From then on, the concept can start, so this old mobster with honorable morals that is Ryûmatsu becomes the frail princess Sanaria-Ryû. Once gentle, the young lady now welcomes the soul of a gangster who, quite happy to regain the form of his youth, must get to know this new universe.

This meeting is not without lightness, and while taking the time to both plant the relationship of the yakuza to this world while gradually planting a real “political” context, and integrating the first elements of a threat. But more than this scenario that Takeshi Natsuhara and Hiroki Miyashita are trying to sell us, it’s the protagonist’s nonchalance vis-à-vis his new environment that amuses. It’s quite simple in idea, but overall it’s enough to give a charm to this introductory volume, while contemplating the few plot points distilled here and there, but which are not yet mature enough to arouse a true passion for now. It will therefore be following to confirm these attractive bases, but not quite sufficient.

And if the character of Ryu carries us, it is because the authors knew how to compromise between the soul of the old grump of the yakuza and the fiery side of the princess. A good idea which will however push us to ask ourselves questions, as the behavior of the character ultimately has little to do with that of the thoughtful and respectable mafia, although very personable. It will then suffice for a very small sentence in the story to justify this aspect, a point that we accept even if the idea of ​​completely losing the initial character of Ryu hinders a bit the innovative potential of the title. Maybe a possible evolution in the future?

And whether we like this proposal or not, it is clear that Hiroki Miyashita’s graphic touch hits the mark. The mangaka has an undeniable visual cachet both in the nuances of the facies and in its cutting and its narration which bode very well if the title intends to venture into more grandiose and epic sequences. A small visual treat therefore, also there is something to want to follow the graphic evolution of Yakuza Reincarnation.

The conclusion is therefore quite satisfactory at the end of this first volume. The authors still have a lot to do to exploit all the potential and the concept of the manga, but the introduction remains pleasant in its ideas and by its spirited character and in perfect shift with what surrounds it. All supported by the hand of the designer, we really want to see where the series can take us.

On the publishing side, Kazé offers satisfactory work, with its usual production but unfortunately without a color page (which is obviously the responsibility of the original Japanese edition). Arnaud Delage’s translation is particularly effective in transcribing the energy of the story, while the lettering by the Mameshiba studio ensures good reading comfort and their layout resonates well with the context of the series.

We would like to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this remarkable material

Review Vol.1 Yakuza Reincarnation – Manga

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