1995-2002 Noboyuki Anzai
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Flame of Recca Art and Manga
Flame of Recca Merchandise
Promising that he will be the faithful ninja of anyone strong enough to defeat him, Recca Hanabishi is a teenage ninja otaku who spends most of his time fighting. He remained undefeated and masterless, that is, until he met a girl with mysterious healing powers, Yanagi. Deciding then and there that she will be his "hime" or princess, Recca becomes embroiled in a complicated situation involving magical weapons called Madougo and the secret ninja clan Hokage. He is later joined in his fights by friends with their own special madougos: the beautiful wind-master Fuuko, weilder of the Fuujin; the headstrong and burly Domon, who is powered by the Saturn Ring; the cool and calculating Mikagami, master swordsman with the deadly blade Ensui; and the playful whiz-kid Koganei, who wields the multi-shaped Kougan Anki. What is the secret of these madougos and the Hokage? And what dangers await Recca and his friends?
The bittersweet tale of a princess and her ninja >>> by MarkPoa (written ??.??.2004 posted 01.29.2005)
Similar to its animated version, Flame of Recca follows the adventures of high-schooler Recca Hanabishi, a flamecaster who considers himself a ninja, and his friends as they protect the healer Yanagi. The events in this 33-volume manga follow similar story arcs as its later animated counterpart with only a few minor differences. However, whereas the animated series ends on an open note, the manga version extends way past the TV series ending and gives a satisfying final story arc that brings good closure to this series.
Action scenes are the bread and butter of a fighting series such as Flame of Recca, and this series does not disappoint. The fights are vividly portrayed and bonecrushing even when rendered in black and white stills. I suppose it helps a lot that the protagonists are not as superpowered as the usual superheroes. In fact, Recca and his friends spend a large part of their time getting beaten to a pulp before finally winning... which makes it a Damn Good Thing(tm) Yanagi is a healer then. This is not a good manga series for pacifists.
The characters here retain their characterizations in the TV series. I have to give special props to Noboyuki-san for including sympathetic villains in addition to some really fearsome and despicable villains. Those who like and hate Kurei would probably appreciate the special chapter early in the manga that shows exactly why Kurei didn't leave or betray Mori Kouran even after he killed Kurenai. Without giving away too much spoilers (*ehemmotherehem*), it clearly showed that Kurei was not just an insane power maniac and more of an unlucky victim of fate and manipulative forces. Plus, it firmly establishes Mori Kouran as the true villain of the series, a truly despicable bastard.
Despite the heavy note and serious plots, Flame of Recca's storylines are punctuated by humour and uplifting messages of hope and friendship. Characters such as Koganei, Recca, and Domon help lighten the mood between the heavy stuff with their antics and cheerful cocky natures. On the villain's side, the mysteriously amusing Joker and Raiha provide some humorous moments as well. Through it all, the message of friendship and hope is always portrayed. It's cheesy and melodramatic at times, but sometimes, it just gets you at the right time to touch your sentiments.
For those fans of the anime version of Flame of Recca, this manga is a must read, if only to find a good closure to the events in the TV series. Shounen fighting fans might also want to give this manga a look-see. Flame of Recca shows off some of the good characteristics of fighting manga: good plot, good characters, and great action sequences.
Individual Rating: Art 8; Story 8; Characters 8