Maeda Taison is about to punch you.
Blues is a Shōnen
manga by Masanori Morita (author of Rookies
and assistant on Fist of the North Star
) with a realistic art style and detailed expressions, centering on the highschool career of one Maeda Taison. However, Maeda isn't just any old ordinary high school student, or even an ordinary delinquent: He dreams of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world (even though he doesn't know the rules of boxing.) He knows street fighting though, and he uses those skills to protect his friends, help out his rivals, and generally rule Teiken High School - even though he's just a freshman. Along with his friends Katsuji, Yoneji, and...too many people to name.
42 volumes of fistfighting, blood, comedy, drama, and general awesomeness follow. A classic in Japan, but altogether unknown in the west (except in France.) Made into two live action movies, two anime movies, and recently adapted to a J-Drama.
This show provides examples of:
- Accent Relapse: Maeda does a variation on this, where he slips back into his original Kansai accent when he gets mad.
- Accent Adaptation: Said Kansai accent was changed in the scanlations to some sort of New York/New Jersey accent.
- Action Girl: Former biker gang member Mafuyu.
- Art Evolution: Changes from an odd combination of photorealism and bizarre anime-style facial expressions (especially for the female faces) to a more stylized and coherent but still detailed style: Compare this to this.
- Badass: Maeda, Katsuji, Yoneji...hell, most of the cast.
- Badass Crew: Maeda, Katsuji, and Yoneji. They stop a Mob War between two rival delinquent gangs by themselves. And that's just the beginning.
- Badass Grandpa: Masa-san and Maeda's dad.
- Berserk Button: Mentioning the size of Katsuji's forehead. Or Yoneji's nose. AND THAT IS ALL WE WILL SAY ABOUT THAT.
- Beta Couple: Katsuji and Kazumi.
- Bishōnen: Hatanaka and Seikichi, as much as the art style allows.
- The Big Guy: Wajima. He still goes down like a chump most of the time.
- Blood from the Mouth: Justified. Being punched/kicked in the face will do that. Also the blood tends to come from other places too.
- Blind Without 'Em: Fujio can't see without his glasses, and frequently loses his contacts, Played for Laughs.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Everyone, but mainly Maeda.
- Butt Monkey: Wajima, Koheiji and Sakamoto/Shimabukuro.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Especially impressive considering all the characters are of similar builds and dress similarly, and Morita's realistic art style.
- Catch Phrase: "That's Kondou-sensei!"
- Character Development
- The Chick: Chiaki and Kazumi are the two main ones, but there are others.
- Clark Kenting: Maeda's idea of laying low is putting on a pair of giant sunglasses. Strangely enough, it actually works.
- Cool Bike: Super Express Leonard/Chavez/Neo Chavez, in Maeda's eyes.
- Cool Teacher: Masa-san...I mean Kondou-sensei.
- Crazy Awesome: Maeda.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Everyone gets in on this one. Maeda in particular gets the shit beaten out of him just as much as he beats the shit out of other people.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mafuyu.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Subverted. The cheer squad tries to cash in on this when Maeda takes down Wajima, but they don't earn it until the end of the first arc, when both the cheer squad and the boxing club accept Maeda as a leader.
- Delinquents: Nearly everyone was a delinquent at some point.
- Delinquent Hair: Almost the entire cast. Notably the focus of one episode, when Ioka makes them all temporarily straighten/otherwise make their hair normal.
- Distressed Damsel
- Drunk with Power: Koheiji, temporarily, when he defeats Maeda and becomes the leader of the school.
- Easy Amnesia: Maeda gets hit by this trope in chapter 44.
- Emotional Bruiser: Maeda.
- Evil Teacher: Ioka. The man carries around a bamboo sword to smack his students with.
- Funny Afro: Mutou had one back in his middle school days.
- French Love Racaille Blues
- Good Is Not Nice: Maeda tends to be his meanest when he's trying to help someone. Often on purpose.
- Hot Teacher: Asano-sensei, the art teacher.
- Idiot Hero: MAEDA. (Not to mention Malaproper.)
- Kansai Regional Accent: First just Maeda, then EVERYONE in the Kansai arc.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Live-Action Adaptation: Two movies in the 1990s, and a recent J-Drama.
- Made of Iron: Maeda, and some of the other characters. But not Yoneji.
- The Merch: Action figures and even a pachinko game (that allows winners to view short animated clips.)
- Mob War: The focus of the first arc (between the boxing club and the cheer squad) and eventually much of the series.
- Mooks: Katsuji and Yoneji are a rare example of the hero having mooks. The villains also have their own mooks, of course.
- Mr. Fanservice: Seikichi, in universe.
- Never Bring A Truck To A Fist Fight
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Kazumi tries to be all "LOOK I BROUGHT THE CHEER SQUAD TO HELP CAUSE THE BOXING CLUB WAS BEATING YOU TWO UP!" Oh, wait, you were taking the abuse because you didn't want them to fight the cheer squad? Ooops...
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Teiken first years Hiroto Ohba and Masatoshi Ebihara have character designs modeled on The Blue Hearts' singer and guitarist...Hiroto Komoto and Masatoshi Mashina.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Maeda. Half the time he's not actually that dumb.
- Official Couple: Maeda and Chiaki.
- Rated M for Manly
- The Rival: Seikichi and Sakamoto/Shimabukuro. Koheji wants to be one, but he comes off more as an Unknown Rival.
- Rivals Team Up: Maeda and Sakamoto team up to rescue Maeda's little brother Youkou in the Kansai arc.
- Sailor Fuku: One of Maeda's favorite things, and it actually kicks off the plot, as that's the reason Maeda goes to Teiken High. Subverted when it turns out Teiken recently switched to blazers.
- Shirtless Scene: The boxing scenes.
- Shout-Out: Many of the chapter and volume titles are references to the author's favorite songs. Maeda's name is a shout out to both pro wrestler Akira Maeda and boxer Mike Tyson.
- Slice of Life: Frequently has these episodes in between longer arcs.
- Synchronization: The cheer squad doesn't have it.
- Spartan Sibling: Maeda's older brother Fujio. He tends to range from not caring about Maeda to beating the crap out of Maeda. However, he has been shown to have Big Brother Instinct when it counts.
- Speech Impediment: Maeda stutters when he's angry. You don't want to hear him stutter.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Koheiji. Nakata.
- True Companions: The core cast, both delinquents and their girlfriends.
- World of Badass
- Wrestler in All of Us: MAEDA. Most of his finishing moves are taken from pro wrestling, and he even defeats Hatanaka in a boxing match using a German suplex.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Violence against women is Maeda's berserk button.