The one thing that really endears me towards gamaran is simply this, it isn’t pretentious. I have ran across so many different anime and manga in the world, that pretends to be more than it really is, which is just a bunch of men and women with a variety of really cool powers and costumes that find reasons to fight.
That in itself isn’t a bad thing; gamaran is a battle manga and it knows it. What so many of these battle manga will attempt to do is force some deeper meaningful story into the rather basic plot. That in itself isn’t a bad thing either, but the problem is it usually fails.
Goku and Frieza where always going to fight, because Frieza was the big bad and Goku was the ultimate good guy, we didn’t really need to know what deep dark insecurities drove Frieza down his path of destruction, because it doesn’t matter.
I haven’t been a fan of mindless manga or anime for ages now, which is why I have never really watched DBZ beyond the frieza arc. I reached a point where it all became rather silly; so I chose to follow and complete the story through the various DBZ games (which are the very best fighting games I have ever played; seriously if only Mortal Kombat and tekken could take a leaf out of the Budokai setting , with an entire world to fight in instead of a restrictive 2D ring, I might finally regain my interest in what has become a very monotonous and repetitive gaming experience)
I haven’t watched an anime or read a manga just for its action for so long now, as I find that there is more to anime and manga to enjoy than just cool fights. So I will appreciate a series’ attempt to inject some story into its usually flat plots.
But like I said above, so many of them fail hard. What the writers think is a fine plot is usually a very shallow and lame excuse for the different characters to fight and in the end, all the crappy story telling just gets in the way.
Ask any bleach fan why they have tuned into bleach for the last decade (before the current arc but after the soul society arc). if they are truthful they will say that it was to see the latest battle against whatever (usually unique and cool) villains Kubo has introduced onto the setting. But more than that, the fans have flocked in to see the latest bankai and shikai releases.
While this isn’t an accurate statistic, I can bet that at least half of the bleach fans that stuck to Kubo’s stories all the way through to the thousand year blood war did so with hopes of finally seeing Yamamoto, Shunsui and Ukitake’s bankai as well as Kenny’s shikai.
Fact is bleach was good when it knew what it’s best moves where, the cool swords and power ups. Then I think of the abysmal arrancar arc during which Kubo not only had us read every single battle against every single one of the 20 something arrancar, but before each arrancar died, we would be treated to an unwanted flashback about their sad sad lives; basically an attempted at adding depth and remorse to a simple action crazy scene.
it was wasteful and unnecessary and bleach paid for it with all those lost fans.
So what is my point, you might wonder. Gamaran isn’t pretentious, it knows exactly what it is, a battle chronicle; and it does nothing better when focusing on what it is already so good at, which is throw battle after battle after battle of action packed madness at the reader, in the most imaginative ways.
In the middle Edo Period, one state has become the gathering place for sinful martial arts who believe in nothing other than power, and a wild life of continuous battle. That powerful state is Unabara, The haunt of demons (the demons here being the monstrous martial artists within its walls)
Naosata Washitzu, the Daimyo of Unabara, is searching for a successor from among his 31 sons. So he sets about tasting their ability and resolve in an attempt to determine who among them possess the will and talent to rule the haunt of demons.
Each son is tasked with searching and acquiring the services of the strongest martial arts style in the land. Once these 31 powerful styles have been chosen, 'the ‘Great Tournament of Unabara’ would be held, in which the 31 sons of Washitzu would be pitted against each other in combat, vicariously through the bodies and abilities of their chosen styles, out of which one style would emerge victorious.
The winner would take the title of strongest fighter, while the son sponsoring the style would be named Daimyo successor.
Naoyoshi Washitzu has come to the dojo of the ‘Ogame Ryu’ (Giant Tortoise style) in the mountains of Unabara in search of the legendary swordsman Jinsuke Kurogane, the man known as ‘The Thousand man Slayer’. To his dismay, on arrival, he discovers that Jinsuke disappeared and hadn’t been seen for several years now.
Instead, in his place, Naoyoshi encounters Jinsuke’s son, Gama Kurogane. Gama is quick to prove possession of advanced skills way beyond his age, at which point he accepts Naoyoshi’s invitation to partake in the upcoming tournament as naoyoshi’s subordinate.
Gama desires to grow stronger, for only after he attains the title of strongest of all can he achieve his true goal, in eliminating his greatest enemy, and a force beyond anything he might even begin to understand at his amateur stage.
So is set the stage for the greatest clash of beasts among men in the land, a bout that will most certainly attract the strongest of the strong and those most lustful for power; for, other than attaining the title of strongest, comes the title of commanding the respect and gratitude of the future most powerful man in the land…
Chances are, with those few paragraphs of a plot description, many of you have formed a judgment about what to expect from gamaran, and here is what I would say to that. Gamaran is more impressive than the grim picture you might have conjured up, as good as it sounds, and even better than the awesomeness you might be envisaging.
Seriously, Gamaran is really and unexpectedly good. I say unexpectedly because I was late to the train, trying the manga out a while back, dropping it, before finally forcing my way back into it in the middle of last year when my search for good manga had produced no results.
It took me no more than the first 15 chapters to be absolutely blown away by it. And that is when I realized that all those anime forums singing its praises weren’t as crazy as I had imputed them to be ( and I now take forum suggestions seriously, and will visit a forum to find out what I should read or watch next)
Rather than blab on aimlessly about how good this manga is, I will break it down to the core factors that stand out starkly as far as I am concerned. It is because of these four of five reasons that you must absolutely start reading gamaran if you haven’t already.
First, IT IS FUN:>
A wile back, some guy in my face book anime group suggested that reading gamaran might be more fun that reading one piece. Now because I watch rather than read manga, I would be illogical of me to make an argument on either side, but I will ignore logic and choose to believe this fact, because gamaran is a hell of a ride. And don’t misconstrue ‘fun’ for ‘better’.
I can remember days where I would struggle to remind myself that I had promised that I would stop reading gamaran ten chapters ago, then twenty chapters, then thirty chapters, and at forty chapters, after I would remember that it was two O’clock and that sleep had greater importance than reading manga, I would finally give in.
I can (almost) guarantee that no matter what tastes and interests you may have as far as manga is concerned, at the vey worst, you will find gamaran mildly amusing. Each page of every chapter is designed to rip your arm from your side and force you into turning page after page.
If you find yourself tired and lethargic on one hot afternoon, as you struggle to find the strength to get up and get some work done, just read a little gamaran. The sheer excitement created will endow you with the mental and physical energy required to rouse one from a slumber.
Second, THE BATTLES:>This isn’t even worth mentioning, because, as I mentioned earlier, gamaran is a battle manga, so what you can expect is loads and loads of action, but it isn’t nearly as tedious and irritating as It might have sounded in you head. The battles aren’t merely the center piece of Gamaran, but they are one of the best executed I have seen in a manga.
I have no choice but to keep referring to bleach, as it is the closest thing to Gamaran that I can think of right now . The comparison is logical one since, despite its futile attempts, bleach is essentially all about the fights (the final arc precluded). At any one point in time, you might find yourself flipping through ten chapters of gamaran, and within, you would most likely encounter five to seven different battles, with each ending or beginning with each new chapter.
Rather than compare that to a similar series of Beach chapters, consisting of multiple battles, coming one after another, taking into consideration a single battle occurring over a series of chapters will do just fine. What you will eventually notice with bleach is that no matter how exciting the battle is, by half way, things will start to get stale, and in most cases, you will find yourself praying for the battle to come to a close as soon as possible.
This is one pitfall that most long running manga out there suffer from, including the mighty one piece. What I have found surprising is how gamaran has somehow managed to stay ahead of its readers, by constantly keeping things fresh and un predictable, to the point where you could read five battles, one after another, even within a space of five chapters, and you would still be blown away with each and every single battle.
As far as I am concerned, Nakamaru Yousuke has unlocked some long hidden secret regarding the execution of normally tedious battles, and with Gamaran, has managed to utilize it to the fullest. The dynamics of gamaran battles, the elements of its success, can best be described as such:
1. Uniqueness- Like I said above, you could read five different battles, each following the other in succession, and each and every single one of them would have you at the edge of your seat. I have read 150 something Gamaran chapters and experienced between 50-100 battles (probably more) within the series, and I can tell you right now that there hasn’t been a single dull moment that I can point to right now.
And the reason for that is that Yousuke sensei has developed a method of somehow keeping each and every single fight unique in its flow and execution. Once more I point to bleach; how many times have you found yourself yawning in the past, or even sighing as Ichigo performs his 100th getsuga tenshou along with some other mundane task that has already ultimately proven useless.
After a while, after most fight’s fifth chapter, the process of watching the different struggles in the battle that have enabled it to last so long (usually ichigo is much weaker and slower than his opponent and must somehow overcome it over a period of one to three hours, during with he loses buckets upon buckets of blood) become tedious and uninteresting .
While characters within Gamaran will engage in difficult battles, not once do things get so boring that you can’t help but wonder when they will end. There is not wondering when luffy will realize that his pistol and bazooka attacks are ineffective so that we can finally see something new happen.
Yusouke knows how to mix things up, to make each fight different from the next, and a battle with insignificant minions as amazing and impressive to watch as a battle with a powerful heavy weight, and that’s probably because the managaka knows that we read manga to be entertained, and if we must sit through mundane but necessary events of the manga, such as fighting endless nobodies, we might as well be entertained doing it.
2. Realism—Okay it is hard to talk about realism in a manga about fictional samurais in a fictional world, performing fictional and superhuman feats.But none the less, there is a level of realism to the fights. Just imagine this; one misty morning in ancient japan. Two samurais meet to engage in battle, they draw their swords and begin to leap, jump and dash around each other at fast speeds whilst continuously smashing their swords against each other.
One hour later, they are reaching the end of their strengths, and either one of them will go down first, losing the fight with his body first, or one of them will take that opportunity to unleash the secret technique he had been hiding all this time.
If that conjured some really cool scenarios in your mind regarding whatever samurai shows you have been exposed to in you anime watching, manga reading past, and that if that is a picture of what a gamaran battle is, then you will definitely read the manga, you are obviously missing the point of what I am trying to say.
Because everything I just described there is bogus. As in there is nothing in that scenario that is anywhere near realistic, because actual battles, now or back then did not occur in such a manner.
Gamaran acknowledges that and will do what it can to keep events believable. First of all samurai fights couldn’t have lasted more than a couple of minutes. If the intent was to kill, the action was executed quickly, to see that objective met immediately. And even with battles lasting several chapters, you are never in doubt that what you are reading is a 2-3 minute battle.
And that is only possible because samurai in gamaran are intent on killing. Each blow and each strike is executed to the best of the samurai’s ability to kill in one blow. There is no such notions as keeping the best techniques for last, or toying with opponents to see what they can do, or any of that common shonen nonsense. If Gama comes up against an opponent, and he things he can take him out in one go using one of his lightning katas, he will do it with out hesitation.
Even while an enemy is unleashing the most basic swing as his initial move, Gama has no qualms with going all out with his most powerful strike, and that is because these samurai know and understand that the purpose of their moves is to kill, and to kill efficiently; as such their isn’t any of that hubris, where warriors make claims of a technique being too powerful for use against one opponent because he is too weak, or that a special technique is being prepared and held back for a specific opponent.
To Gama and the rest, a fight against a mere peasant gate guard will require as much focus and dedication as a fight against some supreme fighter somewhere. If you can take out an enemy instantly using you strongest attack, rather than waste precious time against less than impressive foes, why not go for it. More than that, why wait a whole hour before using your prized special attack. It is silly if you think about it, and gamaran does well to forego any of that nonsense. A fight is a fight, I have seen gamaran use every single technique in his arsenal against a group of less than a dozen barely average foes, because he figured that to fight them normally would sap precious energy better spent fighting their stronger captain ahead. As such he took them all out instantly, and it made sense.
Besides that, just think of the time. What warrior fights for several hours on end. I get the idea of being evenly matched, but even that shouldn’t force the fight to last beyond 15-20 minutes, not when it is between basic human beings. After several minutes of vigorous battle, one warrior eventually has to drop in form, and Gamaran shows this, that when one warrior begins to slow down, he doesn’t merely begin acceding vicious slashes and damage to his body, he could die instantly, with the wrong foot forward or back, or in that once second that he pauses to catch his breath.
These battles are that tightly wound, that one mistake ends it all. More than that though, the swords, the life line of a samurai, play a huge role. You cannot smash two sharp pieces of metal into each other for an hour and you expect to use them effectively after. In fact history will reveal that the knights of old avoided aimlessly smashing their swords together, because not only would the swords dull after less than a dozen fights, but they would even break.
Gama and his team will lose swords in battle. When a foe’s sword is shown to slice through rock with pure strength, then logically a dozen collisions with his opponents sword will lead the blade to break. And on the several occasions that Gama immaturely clashes with the opponent’s sword, he will lose his sword. These characters have no special swords with long histories that they can’t let go of.
Rather they will prudently travel with multiple swords which they will replace over and over again within the arcs, and they don’t bother denying the difference a broken sword makes. Normally characters with superior abilities in manga will annihilate any foe, given a small stick or a ruler.
Gama, even if he was dominating a fight, will show immediate strain, the moment he must face off against a long sword with his three inch broken blade.
Basically Gamaran keeps reality in mind when executing its battles. It considers what the normal human would do in a normal battle against foes with superhuman abilities. Gama will not have a health wrecking fight one day, then be read to fight a day or two later. In fact, a week after a devastating fight, Gama will be shown keeping a low profile, so as not to attract attention, because while other manga heroes shrug off stabs to the gut, Gama takes it like a human being would, which is realistically. So if you are tired of reading barely believable manga, with characters that overcome everything through sheer will (and nakama power), then Gamaran is for you.
3. Practicality—Now this is hard to believe, when you are dealing with a shonen series about samurai with superhuman sword skills. But it is actually true, to an extent. Sure, a samurai will slice through a thick stone (rarely, unless you want to lose a sword), but the mangaka does his best to explain the mechanics behind it.
You might be thinking that every shonen series worth its salt will try to explain the mechanisms behind each fight, but if you think about it, those explanations will only make sense within the universe they were created in.
Think about it, who here can really tell me how Kenshin’s Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki works, other than the fact that he takes an extra step and leads with his left instead of his right foot (and that it is the coolest sword technique done by a person in anime). That barely makes any sense but you accept it because it gives you some bit of information to work with.
Gamaran treats you like an idiot, and it will break down what are ultimately very practical and very realistic moves. In the beginning, we can already see that human beings cannot move at stupidly impossible speeds. The first time Gama crosses the distance between him and his enemy faster than the enemy can see, we get a long detailed explanation about gravity and how Gama’s muscles make use of it when he imitates the move by simply letting himself fall forward like a board, letting the gravity take him before pushing off with powerful muscles.
Same thing goes for when Gama uses a move so powerful and fast that it cuts right through an enemy’s blade. You will get little scribbled lines about the human body, as well as diagrams of the skeleton and how Gama is using his elbow as a pivot to do who knows what.
Basically you get it, and it kind of enhances your enjoyment of the fight, because you understand what will work and won’t. And when Gama fuses and mixes his moves up, you know exactly why the result will be explosive, forcing you to quickly jump to the next chapter, ignoring whatever plans you might have had for the hour.
Fact is, when I read a chapter showing a warrior slicing an enemy into two from the ground up, I can believe that it could exist. Someone out their could master this technique and execute it accurately as described. it adds a whole other level of excitement to the fights.
Put all these factors together and the fights alone should be more than enough to keep you hooked to this manga. But even if that wasn’t enough (which of course it is), there is more.
I rate the battles in this series with a perfect 5/5
So I mentioned in the beginning about how pretentious fighting anime try so hard to inject meaningful story into meaningless fights, and the result is a shallow series.
Gamaran doesn’t do that, in that, rather than simply creating excuses for different characters to fight, the story flows hand in hand with the fights. I have always thought of Gamaran as a soap; except that while in the present day, the silly drama that makes up a basic soap is settled through words and endless weeping; all the middle ages know is the sword and every facet of Middle Edo drama is settled through violence and killing. It is simply the way of life.
You have Gama, whose infancy was lived on the road with his father, The thousand man slayer, Jinsuke, until the day he finally came to the Ogame doujo. There the slayer took up tutelage under Kensei, the Ogame style master, while Gama made himself a home and a life among the battle crazy students of Ogame, young and old, each determined to become the best they can to bring glory to the style.
And Gama, taking his kind father’s words to heart, and working to become a shining star to his father’s ideals. Then came the events following the succession quarrel, his father’s radical ideas and the true nature of his intentions for coming to the Ogame doujo; and Several years later, the Ogame Ryu doujo, once full of life and hope in its several dozen students, is now empty, with no more than four remaining students.
Gama is haunted by the past, by his father’s actions, on that day he set off to create the Muhyou school, a collection of the strongest and most powerful martial arts styles around; that day when Gama stood up to his father, and Jinsuke spared him his comrades’ fate, but urging him to grow stronger so that the next time they meet, he would be worthy of the Muhyou school that Jinsuke would invite him to join.
Gama has thought of nothing else for the longest time. His father had warned him that even if Gama was his son, all those that didn’t join Muhyou would be considered enemies if they were in possession of great skill, and if on that day Gama didn’t join him, Jinsuke would kill him.
Gama has lived life before Naoyoshi dreaming of avenging his fallen comrades, and nothing other that his father’s head and those members of the Ogame style that joined him during the massacre years back will satisfy him.
Gama and Naoyoshi’s relationship is an interesting one. Naoyoshi’s mother is a common woman, born of an affair during one of the Daomyo’s less memorable days, and as such Naoyoshi has never known the love and respect of his brothers, all of whom have done nothing more than make his childhood hell.
Naoyoshi chose to partake in the tournament, not for himself, but his mother, who has received only hate and abuse for so long as he could remember. She always encouraged him to reach for the stars, that he was special and given an opportunity, would live to exceed his father’s expectation. It was with the ambition of living up to this belief that he set out to locate the strongest swordsman in the land.
To Naoyoshi, this is nothing less than the fight of his life. Both recognize (Gama and Naoyoshi) that they need each other. Gama believes that in Unabara, not only will he become stronger, but that with the title of strongest, he will get the chance to meet his father. and kill him. Naoyoshi has the means to get him to the upper echelons of power. Naoyoshi needs Gama’s skill to overcome his destiny in the eyes of his family.
They are however quick to recognize the challenge of the tournament. Naoyoshi knows that his brothers have acquired the services of more prosperous styles. That means several dozen students within each school of varying skills, not considering the master of each style.
Gama on the other hand is the only available member of his school, and as such Naoyoshi wonders the possibility of surviving the first round against fully stocked schools.
That simple dilemma forms a large part of the reason the first chapters of the series will immediately hook the reader to this manga; seeing the adventures of this one boy and his master, in his attempts to survive the claws of schools that will most likely make a line to him, the weakest of the first round schools.
Through out the series, several other characters make an appearance, each adding a little something to the story, but primarily focusing on Zenmaru, member of the Ichinose family, the country’s Daimyo’s chosen guard, and arguably the most famous and strongest samurai family in the country, and the youngest son, Zenmaru, whose weakness has never allowed him to live up to expectations, and whose decision to join Ogame style left a bitter taste in his family’s mouth; Shinnoujo, who only joined the Ogame style to take revenge on the monsters that massacred his entire first school, only to find himself powerless when another monster massacres the second family that he had sworn to protect; Ranmaru, Junsuke’s only other student apart from Iori, who can’t get over his insecurities with regards to his master’s son and his belief that Jinsuke cannot respect him until he proves himself stronger than the son of the man that taught him everything he knows.
There are so many more characters that make an appearance in the manga. Even Jinsuke himself wastes little time in turning Unabara on its head. With his Muhyou school, the most powerful school ever, because of its collection of the most powerful styles, he cannot help but be intrigued at the idea of who is stronger, his son or his student. Does blood trump training, or can upbringing overcome inherited talent?
It is a question that both Ranmaru and Gama are determined to settle before they can overcome their personal limits, and on more than one occasion, Jinsuke (ranmaru’s teacher) and Iori’s (Gama’s teacher) styles will clash in a test of supremacy.
As the events unfold, it is soon clear to all that there is more than meets the eye; and rather than worry about whether or not he has the strength to kill the very brothers that hated him for so long, Naoyoshi quickly realizes that he might have to make the decision soon, as to whether he will have the strength to protect Unabara when his mother’s actions and beliefs over what is right and what vengeance really means in relation to her secret relationship with Jinsuke, threaten the continued existence of everything around them.
Trust me, there is as much explosive story to follow in Gamaran as there is action. Every battle changes the land scape of the plot and serves to further the overall plot.
It’s funny, I haven’t come across any other series (that I can think of at this moment) that were made by individual characters within their respective series, and while Sengoku Iori isn’t the sole reason that Gamaran is such a good series, he forms a large potion of the awesomeness that results.
it is hard to describe Iori’s role in Gamaran. He was Jinsuke’s student. The thousand man slayer saved him from death when he was a child and, seeing something in him, took him on as his first student. As such Iori has the privilege of being The thousand man slayer’s one and only student, the one person that Jinsuke saw as worth his tutelage. Someone might mention ranmaru, but really, to compare the powerhouse that is Iori to little old Ranmaru is to do injustice to all things Gamaran.
Ranmaru doesn’t even begin to measure up to the talent that Iori possesses; Iori’s power is such that he is the only man believed capable of contending with the monster that is Jinsuke.
Iori, rather than accept or deny Jinsuke’s offer years back, when Jinsuke massacred the Ogame students who wouldn’t join him, Iori chose to leave the school and as such, his cowardice, his inability to choose one group of students against another, has haunted him for years.
Because of his decision, and because of the souls of his comrades that died that day he chose not to fight against his master, Iori has made it his mission to defeat Jinsuke.
Iori, other than being Jinsuke’s student, is also Gama’s master, having taught him sword skills from a young age. Iori’s return occurs at a time when Gama’s abilities are reaching their peak. With Iori having left the school along with Zenmaru and Shinojjou (though not together) years back to search for Jinsuke, Gama’s skill level had stalled, and iori took it upon himself to bring him up to par, and complete his training in lightning kata.
But more than simply improving Gama’s skill, Iori turns the scales in the tournament, as his very presence brings about a shift in the haunt of demons.
But enough spoilers, I would encourage anyone that hasn’t read it to check out Gamaran if only to bask in the awesomeness of this monster of a character. Iori is the Hiko Seijuro of Gamaran, and if you know your Samurai X, you know what I mean; he has a presence that will charge any battle and drastically change the fate of any situation he is planted in.
He is simply, for lack of a better word, cool. The way he deals with his opponents, his overwhelming and shocking power, the rather funny comments he will make to those foes that stand up to his more basic attacks and impress him. Iori has the ability to both amuse and amaze.
It would be rare to find a gamaran fan that doesn’t know that the final battle with the Muhyou school and Jinsuke will be settled with Iori, and there can’t be anyone that has read Gamaran that isn’t looking forward to that charged battle. To fully understand Iori would require actually seeing him in action.
It is really hard to really elucidate on the factors that favor Iori’s presence in the manga without giving away too much in terms of what actually happens in Gamaran, most of which will leave you awed.
Anyway, gamaran is also UNPREDICATBLE:>
I like reading manga and watching anime where I can’t guess what is going to happen.So much of what I watch might entertain me in execution, but it is rare that I will watch anything that will completely catch me off guard. It is a rare series, such as Claymore and gamaran that manages to create at atmosphere by which most if not all of my expectation will be blown straight out of the water. And I like that, that I might think about a situation and things some how fail to turn out the way I expected, or even when they do, that the story somehow manages to fool me into thinking that something different might happen.
With Gamaran, it is all about the deaths. I wouldn’t be over exaggerating to say that in the last five chapters of gamaran before the one year time skip, Yousuke killed more characters (during the storming of the castle, Iori’s finest hour) within that short hour or two than most mangas’ entire cast of characters.
This series will kill off characters as fast as it will create them, and I am not talking about nameless minions, but fairly well fleshed out characters, with special weapons, styles and prominent presences. The man isn’t afraid to kill off some of the most uniquely designed and armed characters I have ever come across; and when I say you won’t see it coming, I mean you won’t see it coming.
This comes back to what I said earlier, about the uniqueness and dynamic nature of the fights. Life and death are a part of the samurai life, and as such you rarely come across miraculous saves that aren’t deserved.
If anything that I have said doesn’t hook you or maybe this simply isn’t your cup of tea, then at the very least you can expect the unexpected.
Admittedly, this manga’s art is the sole reason that I took so long to read Gamaran. The first time I attempted to read gamaran, something about the illustration seemed off to me, and for some reason I just couldn’t follow the fights. The action wasn’t fluid enough that I could follow it with a glance. So I dropped what I believed would be a good manga, because it took too much time and focus to understand each fight related panel.
Later when I picked it up, this problem persisted. But it wouldn’t be until forty or so chapters later that I realized that this was no longer a problem. While Gamaran art is far from breath taking, Yousuke definitely knows how to draw sword fights. I have began to really appreciate it, especially the several close ups that he will do in each chapter, providing intricate detail of the move being executed and their brutal consequences. So as far as the art goes, I would give Gamaran as B-.
This series is brutal. Gama and his comrades have so far shown little to no thought about killing, and they will take lives, as brutally as possible without any qualms whatsoever.
The styles of each newly introduced foe are unique in look and execution and each weapon will have a varying operation when manipulated along the instructions of each individual style. Sometimes I wonder how much time Yousuke puts into researching the intricate details of these fighting styles, each of which manages to seem even deadlier than the previous one.
When a series has so many unique characters, with unique fighting styles, weapons and objectives, it isn’t hard to see why Gamaran is such a good read. I of course haven’t read it for at least two to three months, since I rarely read manga on a weekly basis, and prefer to let them build to at least ten chapters that I can devour at once.
I am torn on the anime thing. Gamaran would be an awesome anime, but I fear how the studio would butcher it in terms of filler. Gamaran’s selling point is how fast and continuously changing the story is. Filler will change that, and once the entire concept comes crashing to a halt (after a season of filler) it will be hard to restart the spark that Gamaran held to none manga readers. And gamaran filler would simply be terrible.
So I am currently on the fence on whether we should see a Gamaran anime soon. But there is no doubt that this manga has changed the very face of the Samurai genre, and injected a new life force into it. This is a must read.
MY RATING OVERALL:> As if it would be anything other than a 5/5.
My favorite moments as of chapter 158 are: Gamaran’s first match in the first round against the first school he went up against, if you read it then you, like me, didn’t see that entrance that Gama made coming; followed closely are the events that came after that, with the archer that can curve his arrows; then there is Zenmaru and Shinoujjo’s appearance, that first night when the ambush comes and Iori happens to make an appearance; Jinsuke’s first appearance, Gama’s appearance and new look after the time skip, when he took on that guy with the rapier; but of course most epic of all is Iori and Shinnoujo’s ‘contest’ and Iori’s invasion.
Gamaran is a Japanese shonen manga series written and illustrated by Nakamaru Yousuke. Gamaran has been continuously serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shonen Magazine since May 2009, and has so far produced a collection of 19 volumes as of January 2013