Real Bout High School GN 1

Good day, allow me to introduce myself. My name is David Rasmussen. Usually I'm found at (On the Shelves) or (Manga Maximus) but today I'm signing up with CartooZine to bring you reviews of the Manga kind. Manga, of course, is simply Japanese comics but I'm not here to promote anything less than some of the better stuff you can have in your collection, and help you widen your horizons and expand your mind with new choices, new reads, and new views on things.

So let's get started, this title won't review itself...

Real Bout High School (Tokyo Pop)
Story by Reiji Saiga
Artwork by Sora Inoue
Tokyo Pop Staff
Translator - Lucan Duran
Editors - Stephanie Donnelly & Robert Coyner
Originally published 2000 by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd.

The Facts

Everyone? Meet Ryoko Misurugi, who's the hottest thing in her school (Daimon High) for a good reason. She's popular, beautiful, yet also has smarts, a good wit (not an annoying wit), and kicks butt as the top fighter in her school as a full out Samurai Girl complete with wooden sword and bad to the bone fighting techniques. Sorry, guys, no Wesley Snipes/Blade decap scenes here, she leaves her rivals alive (sorta) after she thrashes them. With her "sidekick" (friend) Hitomi (who sorta is her personal assistant if you want to look at it that way) she starts off GN 1 kicking the butts of a group calling themselves the 'Vipers'. Along the way she meets future male rival Shizuma Kusanagi (who, after bumming a meal off of Ryoko from, of all places, McDonald's (true story) he later ends up saving her and Hitomi from the dumb as heck boss of the Vipers and his goons (who wanted to get back at Ryoko for beating their members, but the boss wants her as his sex slave... mostly because he's an idiot).

And, from there Shizuma decides to transfer to her school... after showing off his fighting skills in a free tournament held during a school festival day....yeah, I'm figuring he's got a crush on her too. He'll have to fight his way to the front of the line though, there are other takers including POSSIBLY Hitomi herself but I must read more before I speculate on that.

Oh, and fight he will, because in THIS school (and heck, in all the other schools it seems) fighting is more important than the three R's (which is really an R,W & A if you think about it), and tournaments where even the teachers can jump in and fight are abound. Lots of fighting, and it's graded too! Don't want to botch it when your grades will suffer... of course the broken bones are a good incentive to not lose either.

Good thing our main character in this book is Ryoko, 'cause you'll never get tired of her fighting. Never. But that's just the tip of this iceberg (about 33% of the book)! You haven't even gotten down to the meat of it, but I'll save that for you guys. It's time for what I call 'The Breakdown' where we take a look at the good/bad points of the book, and rally it all up for you.

Real Bout High School Breakdown

What's Hot? - Ryoko's hot, now here's why. She's a beautiful character whose not only tough, and looks good, but is witty, abit smart, and a all about likeable character. Mind you her character could just as easily have been stereotyped, cliched, or downright ruined by making her the wrong way. And heck, she can even be beautiful without losing her clothes in her fights! Well, if she does have any near nude scenes, and it's Teen rated (12-up) so it's possible but probably will be tastefully done, it'll be done just right.

So, she's a likeable character, and the others aren't bad either to like, dislike, or just be unnerved by in an overall sense. So it's hot that the characters are this good at doing what they do best (which is a lot of fighting it seems at times).

What's Not? - It's only the beginning (first Graphic Novel) and things could change, but for now it's a great book with engaging characters and interesting action. So for now there's no downs here.

Moments to Remember - Ryoko comes with her own Moments to Remember roster. Watch for each and every one of them.

What to Ignore? - Hmm... you believe all schools in Japan have their students get into full scale battles where they're rated and graded, and even the teachers can jump in and join the fighting? No? Well then ignore it, it's nice to read and interesting plot but nothing set in reality. It's just fun, that's all.

Overall - It's a nice read, something with enjoyable characters, interesting action, and a nice (though completely implausible) setup. It's a good read, and since it has over 4 Graphic Novels to review we'll be back again to do the school fighting thing. But for now...

Where to get more?

Interested after this review to get more? Right Stuf International can help you out. They're on the web so they're not hard to find, but they also send out print catalogs and do business by mail if you don't have a credit card or debit card to conduct business with over e-mail.

Of course there's also your local comic book shop, bookstore like Borders, Waldenbooks, or similar stores of that caliber, or your local anime store. Any one of these can help you get hooked up to some Real Bout High School stuff if your looking for it.

Who gets the credit?

This time it's a local gang. The people over in Kailua-Kona's Borders get the nod this time for helping hook me up with this review item! Though I was there looking for Cowboy Bebop GN2 & Marmalade Boy GN2, I found this and something else, and I couldn't be happier. Thanks, guys!

Next Time

Well, it's a new e-magazine (I have to get my feet wet, learn the update schedule, and overall get settled into my new home here at CartooZine). Next time I'm working on either a Real Bout High School GN 2 review (we'll be back to continue where we left off) or a X-Men Evolution review (why it's manga-esque, why it's something to do if you don't want to watch the Animated Series on Kids' WB, and why I read it), but that's next time so when I know when my next deadline is, I'll know what's next. You'll have to wait til' next time to find out, so come back and we'll do it all again.


So take care, expand your horizons, and don't forget to try new things.


All Things Manga by David Rasmussen
Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Images courtesy of Tokyopop.