Martial Arts Manga

Martial arts manga can be divided into two kinds:

-Fantastic (using strange and hyped powers, eg Naruto, Bleach, The Breaker, Samurai Deeper Kyo). As time goes on, the powers become more extreme and outlandish. The latest chapters of Naruto and Bleach don’t even pretend to show martial arts. I suspect Hyuuga Neji was killed off in Naruto because his special powers (attacking acupucture points) require precision close range strikes, which are useless in the big bombardment total-annihilation type powers being used these days in the manga.

-Realistic (realistic fighting styles. Their artists usually take part in a martial art to help visualization. Examples: Gekiryuuchi, All Rounder Meguru, Full Contact, Vagabond) There is really no bullshit at all.

There are series which seem to fall in between these categories, because the fighters don’t use strange hyperbolic powers, but rather special ways of using weapons or striking techniques which seem plausible–unless you know otherwise! Some of the better ones gravitate towards realism, others towards the fantastic. Gamaran, Blade of the Immortal, Rurouni Kenshi.

I find myself appreciating the realistic fight mangas, mainly because I have tried drawing people boxing freehand, and found it very challenging. There are two or more characters to draw, and they are all responding to each others’ moves. Everything is so dynamic yet so believable. These mangas are so hard to draw that the mangakas usually have to participate in the fighting styles themselves to see what is possible and what isn’t. Boxing and karate are the most common fighting styles found in these comics, for obvious reasons.





All Rounder Meguru:

All Rounder Meguru

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