Entry #9: Koukoku no Shugosha (SoM 2018)

koukoku no shugosha 1

I really wasn’t fond of this manga early on. My feelings were in murky conflict as I fought to diversify my Summer with different sorts of genres and tones, instead of endlessly indulging in cute/stupid romances. There are times when I try to charge forward in spite of my disinterest, thinking it will do me good. In this case, the opening chapters did little to bring me out of my funk. About a third of the way through got me pretty invested.

Again, this post will be relatively short for the sake of conserving time (my efforts have been lacking so far). While I may want to say more about the manga as a whole—both positive and negative—I’ll keep it to the point at this juncture.

Firstly, it is horribly unclear with what it wants to do early on. Backstory being told in the span of a few pages, cutting directly to establishing major characters and big battles of war and whimsy. Fun as that may sound, I had no reason to care for it. Lots of dialogue and basic wartime strategizing that clogs up panels and pictures, as though we stepped into the halfway point. Everything sort of happens upfront, leaving the context to build itself up with each passing chapter until the reader is adequately caught up.

This is perhaps the only “true” fault of the story, as many other gripes I have with it are minor in comparison. Not dedicating enough time to characters may be second-best, though for whom they decide to focus on, I think they do a decent job. That said, many would assume my thoughts on the manga are generally positive—and they are.

Characters were good, for the most part. The story, when I knew what the fuck was going on, was engaging and had weight to it. The focus on wartime themes and humanity and honor and what-have-you all contributed to good individual scenes involving various characters, whether in terms of engagement or development. Most of all, I loved that the manga didn’t paint the “bad guys” as “bad guys.” Both sides, despite their obvious hostility, hold to beliefs, systems of honor, and fairness to fitting degrees; things most human beings would abide by. Things that usually allow people to settle in a gray morality that may not define good or bad.

Though it is still a manga designated for a certain type of reader. War, battles, strategy, intriguing characters involved; it’s a drama piece. It’s a slow burner without any sort of resolution (nice restraint by the manga). It’s something only those intrigued by the buzz words I stated before would get a kick out of. I liked it well enough—enough to lament that the story didn’t go on for longer. Nevertheless, I’m glad I pushed through my funk to add it to my memory collection.

Final Score: 6.5/10

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

To see the ratings for all entries in this Summer and all others, check out the Summer of Anime Archive!

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