Sunday, June 22, 2014

Manga Review: Teppu

That would be her on the right.
For this week's manga review, I figured I'd talk about neat little series I stumbled upon recently called Teppu. Get ready for some serious fighting and a not-so-friendly protagonist.

Teppu is an ongoing manga that was published back in 2008, though it's only got 26 chapters out so far due to being a trimonthly series. Like the image would suggest, this is a sports series; specifically, it's about women's mixed martial arts in Japan. More specifically, it's about Natsuo Ishido, a six-foot tall prodigy of a freshman who's suffering from serious boredom due to being naturally skilled at just about everything. This is until a recent transfer student, Yuzuko Mawatari, starts up a mixed martial arts club in their school; out of boredom and a desire to put the happy-go-lucky Yuzuko in her place, Natsuo decides to spar with her, only to be proven that she is sufficiently out-classed. Discovering an activity that she actually needs to put effort into and someone that she now hates who is better at it than her, Natsuo resolves to properly learn MMA and eventually give Yuzuko the beat-down of a lifetime.

Although this series is very much about mixed martial arts, it's primarily driven by examining its characters and their various motivations for getting involved in the sport. If the above paragraph didn't make it clear, Natsuo is hardly an ideal protagonist; if anything, she has the personality and mannerisms of the typical arch-rival character in many sports series, being condescending, rude, and outright sadistic at times. However, the manga dedicates a sizable amount of the series to examining why Natsuo is the way she is, while also dedicating a lot of time to analyzing several other prominent characters and their relationships with one another. Of course, that isn't to say that there isn't a lot of fighting; the series is all about women's MMA, after all. Of note, the fighting is portrayed very realistically, as is the training; in fact, I'd go so far as to say that pretty much nothing has been exaggerated in terms of the realism of the combat, including the various skill-sets and abilities of the characters. Additionally, the art-style of the series has gone through substantial development since its initial publication, though it is definitely still recognizable as being by the same artist.

I'd recommend this series to anyone who either has an interest in MMA, sports-related combat in general, or wants to see a very unusual depiction of a protagonist that straddles the line between "jerk" and "outright villain". Though be forewarned; like I said above, this is a trimonthly series, so updates will naturally be pretty infrequent.

No comments:

Post a Comment