Reviews: Maken Ki
Harem with a Conspiracy Plot
If you've never heard of Maken-ki!, or if you have, but haven't decided whether it's worth bothering with, my advice would be: "Yes, so long as we're talking about the manga version," which is the one I'll be reviewing. Since there's a lot of ground to cover and little space to do it in, I'll use a bullet point format to go over the pros and cons of the series: Pros
- Takeda Hiromitsu's art and character designs are very well done, and it improves considerably starting around chapter 23.
- There's lots of interesting characters in both the main and supporting cast, which makes Takeru's presence somewhat tolerable.
- It has an interesting plot, centering around an undying enemy, a shadow organization's plot to break an ancient seal, along with the fact that one our heroines isn't what she first seems — and how it all starts to come together.
- The plot advances at a steady pace, once it gets going, and there's even a bit of World Building for good measure.
- And the battles are fast paced and tend to avoid some of the usual pratfalls in most shonen, such as characters explaining their powers to the enemy. Instead, the opponent is usually left to figure it out for themselves, or the characters will explain via internal monologue.
- Takeru is your typical shounen protagonist (i.e. Hot-Blooded, wants to protect everybody, ridiculous albeit fluctuating power level, etc.). Basically a more annoying version of Ichigo Kurosaki, who'll severely test your patience.
- It adheres to the usual harem tropes, like Haruko refusing to admit she's in love with Takeru. Yet, she'll crown him if it even looks like he's showing interest in anyone else. Or how girls seem to fall for him for... reasons. Or how he always seems to "fall" for them.
- Lastly, the plot doesn't really get off the ground, 'til about chapter 14 (technically, it starts in chapter 8, but there's padding in between).