I was going to start this review with a question, "Would you really read a manga about a rooster superhero?" as if there were people who wouldn't. But, seriously, how good can a manga about a rooster fighting giant demons be? Turns out, the answer is shockingly good. Not only is the first volume consistently hilarious, but the cinematic action is well-drawn. This manga goes the extra mile to be more than a good cluckle.
In a world plagued by giant demons, only one creature dares to take them on. His name is Keiji. His species is chicken. Though only a rooster, Keiji may be humanity's savior. Thus begins the story of Rooster Fighter. With only his chicken feet and sense of justice to guide him, Keiji helps those in need and defeats any demons that cross his path. All for revenge in the name of his sister hen.
Lots of manga and light novels have crazy premises, but they often beat the jokes dead until they're no longer funny. You may think Rooster Fighter is just the same joke over and over again, but I think that's a disservice to the author's creativity with the concept. One-Punch Man and Kaguya-sama: Love is War are also based around a single joke, but they have lasted multiple volumes and no one is complaining. Based on this volume, I'm hoping the same thing will happen with Rooster Fighter. In just the first volume, the author expands the world and introduces things that allow for some interesting possibilities down the line. It also helps that the author understands what is funny about its premise.
The reason this book's humor works so well is in large part due to its deadpan delivery. Everything in this book is played straight. There's no winking to the audience, and not a self-aware quip escapes a character's mouth. This is a parody at its most pure and awesome. When Keiji performs his finishing move, it's hilarious but also cool at the same time. The fact that it is cool makes things ten times more fun than if they were just played as a joke. There are a couple of what I'll call "juvenile" jokes in the first couple of chapters, but, overall this book has a great joke batting average.
Back when it came out in Japan, I read an article on Anime News Network that the first couple of chapters were made available to read online for free for a limited time. Although I don't know Japanese, I was still able to easily follow the story and action. I didn't know if that was because the art was really good or because the story was simple. It turns out the answer is both!
There's a psychological study that says laughing can make you more emotionally vulnerable and open to connection. That's the only explanation I can think of as to why I got so invested in the stories. The plots are a chapter long and familiar to anyone who has read or seen the lone hero stories of the ronin or cowboy variety. But the focus on animal characters gives it a unique angle. This is me trying to justify why I got so invested in characters I only met a couple of pages prior. A case in point is the final chapter, where we meet a chick and her owner. They're both so innocent and driven by pure aspirations that I can't help but root for them. But what makes me feel this? It could be that the storytelling is so earnest and sincere. The source of that earnestness is not just in the straight-faced writing, but in the art as well.
The cinematic art style really gives the manga a blockbuster feel. It may seem like the artist is able to achieve this in spite of the main character being a rooster, but it is actually because of the fact that the battles work so well. Having a small protagonist gives the demons and action a ginormous sense of scale. Movement is easy to follow thanks to smooth panel flow. My mind didn't have to fill in the blanks of how the rooster got from one panel to the next. This gives the impression of being in a camera lens as they follow the duel between enemy and hero. The art style itself is super detailed, including the rooster himself. It grounds the manga in the real world to make the rooster and demons more fantastical. The rooster's stark, jagged outlines should give him an action-hero feel, but at the same time, the guy is a chicken. It is this contrast that ultimately gives this manga its humor and heart.
The dedication to its craft elevates Rooster Fighter above other parodies. The author recognizes that the premise is inherently funny, and the best way to be even funnier is to be as good as possible. That means never revealing the smirk inside you as you work on the manga. That means making art so well thought out and cinematic it would make Attack on Titan animators blush. It means making characters that are easy to root for. It means not just relying on the premise, but expanding it to surprise the audience. It means making a surprisingly good book. Thank you, Rooster Fighter, for going above and beyond.
Giant demonic monsters wreak havoc and level Japanese cities! While the citizens flee in terror, it's up to one brave rooster to stand his ground!
In a world where terrifying monsters walk the earth, one heroic rooster is destined for greatness. When giant demons threaten the innocent, he's going to show them who's boss!
The neighborhood cock of the walk is more than just an ordinary rooster - he's humanity's greatest defender! His opponents may be ten stories tall, but nothing is bigger than his stout heart and his fearsome, earth-shattering cry - cock-a-doodle-do!Add to CartLearn More