Keiji Manga Review
In this review I will share the feedback from my reading of the first two volumes of the manga Keiji. In short the story gives me a taste of uncertainty. There are good aspects to it, but also some others that I have difficulties with… Overall this leaves me hesitating on whether or not I will buy the next volumes.
What is the story of Keiji?
Keiji is a manga written by Tetsuo Hara and Nobuhiko Horie, and drawn by Yuji Takemura. It counts the story of a young kabukimono, named Keiji Maeda, in the period of turmoil following the death of Oda Nobunoga.
Kabukimono were samurais following their own rules. They clothed and behaved in an exuberant manner, and Keiji is the perfect illustration of the kind. He is a powerful combatant, likes defying power and enjoying himself.
Because of his strength and his unruly behaviour, powerful men see Keiji as a danger for them. One of them is Keiji’s uncle, Toshiie Maeda. Toshiie has stolen Keiji’s position as head of the Maeda family and now seeks to get rid of him.
Keiji will therefore have to defeat many intrigues and assassins while also trying to outwit his uncle. This will lead him to taking actions that put his uncle in precarious positions.
What should you expect from the Keiji manga?
Keiji is a manga about Japanese history, samurai and ninja, epic battles, intrigue, but also lust and extravagance.
The manga recalls the story of the real Maeda Keiji, taking the literature about him as a reference. It seems though that this literature has romanced and deformed the facts. And the manga adds its own interpretations and views on top of that.
The manga therefore focuses for a part on how Keiji defeats the different schemes from his uncle and his ninja spies. The for the other part it gives its take on the main battles to which Keiji contributed. In both parts, though, Keiji overpowers his enemies which leaves little suspense and drama, the focus being more on Keiji’s eccentricity than on narrating real and intense fights.
The drawing on its side is good and pretty detailed, and it aims at looking realistic. People that liked Hokuto No Ken will find here that graphical style that was for a good part of the success of the story. But sadly there are some inconsistencies in the drawings at times which break that sensation of reality. For instance it’s frequent to see Keiji’s and Matsukaze’s size change from simple to double.
Who is the manga Keiji for?
This manga a fiction around Keiji’s romanced story, therefore if it yields some real historical facts, do not expect details to be accurate. Note that the manga provides some facts about the period and its history, which make it somewhat instructive.
Battles as said above are a bit farfetched, with Keiji and his horse, Matsukaze, easily overpowering thousands of soldiers. Therefore battles in themselves are not that exciting, the question being more to know what eccentricity is Keiji going to use to defeat his enemies (like pissing on them or teasing them by showing his buttocks).
I state these two examples because they are clearly what defines the spirit of this manga from the two volumes I have read so far, and a good indication on whom the manga targets. If you are fine with these attitudes, then you might like this manga, but if you are not at ease with the idea or dislike such behaviour, then you might quickly get bored or disgusted with the way the character behaves and the story.
On the content side, expect it to be quite explicit. You can expect people being cut into pieces and dripping blood and organs, or sexual attributes being put forth quite explicitly. This makes this manga better suited for people around 16 (and perhaps 18) or above.
As for the public I would say it is targeted principally to young men.
Keiji, after two volumes, leave me perplexed. On the one side you have the attractiveness of an history manga and of a character which seems aiming for the good of people, but on the other side you have this character’s demeanour which is unruly and obscene.
As said test it of you like this unruly/obscene aspect, otherwise I’m not sure you’d like it.
Do not hesitate if you have comments or questions.