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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Black Torch | Review

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐



"As a descendant of shinobi, Jirou Azuma has been learning ninja techniques his entire life. But in addition to that, he also has the ability to talk to animals.


One day when he rescues a strange black cat named Ragou, he learns that the world is filled with spirits called mononoke that can take the form of both people and animals.


However, their meeting is cut short when they are attacked by a hostile mononoke who is after Ragou's power."



 

Black Torch is a manga series written and illustrated by Tsuyoshi Takaki.


This is my second time reading this series, and I honestly thought I already made a review but, turns out I didn't so here I am the second time around!


I decided to reread this as part of an ongoing challenge where I read manga series that were cancelled for one reason or another. (If you want to check out that series you can find it here). So, before delving into this, I did want to state this series was indeed cancelled, so if you want to read this yourself, just know that you are not getting a complete story.


Let's get into some details.


 

Black Torch was serialized by Jump Square and then Shonen Jump. It concluded with 19 chapters compiled into 5 volumes. Honestly, I quite liked this series. I do think I enjoyed it more the first time around when I wasn't being more critical while reading, but I still had a good time.


We follow Jiro, a teenager who has the ability to communicate with animals. One day he encounters a Mononoke named Rago, who assumes the form of a cat, and their lives ended up becoming entangled with each other. And quite literally so because Rago ends up fusing himself with Jiro's body, making Jiro a host of sorts. Mononoke, however, are considered dangerous and an organization is tasked with dispatching them should they prove to be putting lives at risk. As such, Jiro (and Rago) find themselves dead-centre in a fight between the organization and the Mononoke.


This is a concept that has been done before in many forms, and could even be a reason why this was ultimately cancelled. This was serialized from 2016 to 2018. Series like My Hero Academia were in their prime with the anime airing in 2016, and series like Jujutsu Kaisen started in 2017/2018. While this series did start before Jujutsu Kaisen (and I use this as an example because they have similar elements), and I did enjoy this, I don't think it could have gained enough of a following to compete. JJK took off pretty quickly and is one of the best-selling series currently, so series like Black Torch end up falling to the wayside.


Do I still think that this is a good read, yes? Especially so because it doesn't feel like you miss out on much because the arc did complete. The one negative thing I have to say though is the fanservice and portrayal of Ichika as the only main female character. When she is first introduced she doesn't have the best personality and falls right into a certain category. She also has a large chest and wears a tight body suit with booty shorts and is constantly shown in more provocative fighting positions. I wish that that would have been different and she actually had more depth to her character besides being, excuse my language, a bit bitchy or used for fanservice.


The author is also working on a new series, called Heart Gear, but it is currently on hiatus after four volumes. I do see some content creators though who also think that this series shouldn't have been cancelled, but what can you do?


If you do want to read this, it can be found on Viz Media which you can access if you have a subscription.

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