Sep 16, 2008
Manga Review of The Law of Ueki Volume 10 by Tsubasa Fukuchi. Translated and adapted by Kenichiro Yagi. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan. Published in US by Viz, $9.99, Rated T for Teen.
After battling their guts out for 9 volumes, imagine the surprise of Ueki and pals when they find out that their battles were just the FIRST round of the Celestial King Tournament! Something that is different in the second round is that the fighters can form teams of up to 5 people. It goes without saying that Ueki's team consists of himself, Rinko, Seiichiro, and Mori. So all that's left to do is find a fifth member. Rinko remembers hearing of a fearsome combatant named Hideyoshi Soya. The only solid info she can give is that anybody that ever fought against him never wanted to go through the experience twice...oh, and that Soya looks like a gorilla. When they finally do meet him, Ueki and company find out that they are not the only team looking to add Soya. Another team, led by a thug champion named Zack wants Soya on HIS team. Unfortunately for both Ueki and Zack, Soya has decided to set this round out and has no interest in fighting. During this recruitment period leading up to the second round, king candidate champions are allowed to fight each other without penalty. So, technically, you can force someone to join your team...after you beat the snot out of them!
I've always enjoyed the wacky nature of this series, with all its dementedly sad super powers, but Volume 10 takes ridiculousness to a new height. For example, one of Zack's goons has the "power to turn beautiful hair into a drill" while another has the the "power to turn rubber balls into acid". I don't want to tell too many of the powers since finding out what they are is half the fun of The Law of Ueki. The character designs are as over the top and gaudy as the powers they wield. Zack, instead of looking the part of the evil villain, looks like someone pressed his head into a point, pulled and extended his eyebrows, and played makeup doll with him. I still enjoyed this volume but it goes a little too far sometimes in terms of goofiness. It is written as a semi-parody of shonen battle manga instead of trying to lay claim to that already cluttered genre. As long as Ueki continues to battle for justice, I will continue to read this series. Just make sure you don't take it too seriously.
My Grade: B-