Creator: Takashi Hamori
Genre: Martial Arts
Length: 7 Volumes
Download Via Fansubs
+ Twisted humor
Inconsistent character art
4 out of 5 · Highly Recommended
Noritaka Manga Review
Written by: Karthon
Noritaka Sawamura is a scrawny fifteen year old student who's just started high school. On the first day of middle school, he had gone to answer nature's call, and since then he's been nicknamed "Poop." He's hoping that his life will change for the better in high school, and at the beginning it does. A beautiful girl named Nakayama sits next to him in class. Although they start off on the right foot (Sawamura even manages to ask her out), things go down hill quickly when dodges a baseball that ends up hitting her. She tells him that "I hate weak people."
To redeem himself, Sawamura decides to become manly and join a sports club. But it quickly becomes evident that he has no talent whatsoever (he fails to enter the boxing, sumo, rugby, and judo clubs, etc.) Disappointed, he finds himself in front of a small wooden shack, which just so happens to be the Shudo club., a traditional version of kickboxing run by an old man named Coach Maruyama. Together with the Tchanpoua, the only other student in the club, Sawamura begins to train his body and learn kickboxing techniques.
This is a coming of age story about an idiotic boy who's driven by love. His only goal is to impress Nakayama, and so he begins to walk down the arduous path of defeating his opponents, and defeating the image of his past. But will Sawamura, who's never been disciplined, be able to continue winning solely through the power of love (and one-sided love at that)?
On the surface, and based on the summary above, this story seems to be mainly about fighting and martial arts. Yet its brilliance comes not from the battles but from its twisted humor. You'll see random scenes such as Sawamura running up to "save" Nakayama from other suitors, while only wearing his Thai shorts, or dancing to the "Can't Touch This" MC Hammer video as training. There are also many subtle situations he gets into that are silly and entertaining. In many ways, Noritaka is a gag manga with fighting elements, not the other way around.
The background art is minimal or non-existent (aka pure white frames). The character art fluctuates between stereotypical amounts of detail (meaning not too much detail, just eyes, eyebrows, mouth and hair) and some extremely detailed facial expressions. The detailed ones are reserved solely for comedic situations (such as shock and horror), where the face becomes super-deformed yet manages to retain more realism than the average picture.
The plot is very stereotypical: Boy falls in love with girl and to prove himself, goes on a quest to better his fighting abilities, also managing to endear himself to the school in the process. However, if you don't read Noritaka for bland over-arching plot, you should read it for the small moment to moment jokes. Overall I find it to be an excellent comedy.
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