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[Manga Talk] Ryu no Kessho by MONDEN Akiko

 Ryū no Kesshō 

(竜の結晶/ 龍之結晶)

by MONDEN Akiko (もんでんあきこ/ 門田晶子)

Complete: 10 volumes

Cast: Kouryu (紅竜), Hakuryu (白竜), Elias (エリアス), 千堂寺 (Sendouji), Soryu (蒼竜)

Story: Tomomi (巴) left Hokkaido to stay with her relatives, the  Sendouji (千堂寺) family, during the course of her university study in Tokyo. The Sendouji is renowned locally for its karate dojo that was instructed by the four brothers.

Tomomi remembered  spending her childhood times playing together with the brothers when they were little…. As she met up with the brother again, things were quite different to how she had imagined it to be. For instance, Soryu (蒼竜), the third brother, was forever cold towards her, whilst Kouryu (紅竜), the second brother, always teased her and looked down on her.

Luckily for her, she managed to find comfort in Hakuryu (白竜), the youngest and most gentle brother who had just returned to the family after being away for a long time. But to everyone’s surprise, Hakuryu returned home with a toddler son without his wife. Increasingly, Tomomi found herself being attracted to Hakuryu (白竜), but was heart broken after finding out about his wife, whom died giving birth to their son and whom he still dearly loved until these days.

Meanwhile, Tomomi started practicing karate with the brothers in their dojo kun… She began to find interest and passion for martial arts, which later brought her to national Fighting Championships!

My say:

This is a martial-art/ sports shoujo. But instead of blabbing on the  “sensations of burning passions” or “tears sweat and blood” as seen in many sports shoujo, this manga is more like a graphical representation of martial arts choreography combined with a great story plot.
But on top of that, this manga has actually proved to be more thought provoking than one may expects. For instance,
What is the meaning of being the strong? What would make someone to be stronger?
By wining the fighting championships, would that make one to be strongest?
Or would someone be deemed a strong person, by simply standing against odds in order to protect his/ her loved ones?
Or perhaps one can be deemed strong simply by having faith on oneself, and be trusted and relied on by others….
Just like many others, Tomomi and Kouryu pondered on those questions. But eventually, they would manage to find the answers as they continued their “quests of finding one’s self”.  For Kouryu, he would have to learn to let go of his jealousies and self-inflicted rivalries to his youngest brother, Hakuryu. For Tomomi, she was still tring to understand the true meaning of love and who her truly loves? someone she deeply respected and he who showed her the care and tenderness which she had never experienced before? or someone who was passionate about her and willing to show her his strength at all cost? or perhaps someone who was compatible with her (mentally and physically) in the course of her martial arts training as if they were soul mates?
I have really enjoyed reading this manga, especially since the artwork was fabulous. I rate it 4 stars out of 5, 1 star short because of some faults of Kouryu – Let’s just say I would not let him off EASILY for having an one night fling with someone else if I were Tomomi… But then again, that did lead to an even better part of the story…. ^^

Digress:  For those who is interested, Shueisha is offering a teaser (or “trial read”) on their s-manga website: www.s-manga.net/title/ryunokessho.html

Also, rumours have it that there is a plan for the sequel of Ryū no Kesshō to celebrate 15th anniversary since its first release!  The prequel would focus on now-34 years old Soryu (蒼竜), the third Sendouji brother. The story would probably pick up from the short extra side-story at the end of Ryū no Kesshō.




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