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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Random Manga Review: Rock & Roll Ricky (RRR)

This manga pick may not be so random on my part as I was searching for another boxing manga to mull me over in between Hajime No Ippo chapters. Not to say that this is fodder, or a mere substitute, as its one of the best sports and life mangas I've read in a while. Add to that a Lone Wolf and Cub relationship in the story and I was immediately sold.

The story in a nutshell is about a man trying to do right by his nephew, sister, and himself. That's it, simple and heart warming but never boring. The protagonist, Rikitaro, dreams of becoming a big rock'n roll legend just like his idol Jimi Hendrix. Unfortunately at age 27 this dream of his is looking more and more unlikely everyday, as even those close to him don't expect much of him. After a tragic event and a chance encounter with the recent retired Japanese Champion he is soon thrown in to the world of boxing. Though keep in mind that this part of the story takes time to develop. As the author concentrates more on building Rikitaro as a true to life character rather than throwing out yet another sports manga.

Of course this isn't a straight forward transition as he has to fight tooth and nail to reach his goals. Another note I'd like to make is that this series, while being about boxing, doesn't seem to be boxing or action heavy at the start. I've read much of the manga already and it seems to be more focused on the slice of life genre, with some really well done action. A comparison can be made to Hajime no Ippo in this regard, but I have personally never seen this level of maturity in other sports series. Though if the concentration on character development over general sports action in it self turns you off to reading this manga, keep in mind that once you stick with the first volume you'll appreciate the characters and their struggles that much more. This is the essence of any good boxing story no matter the medium, whether its in manga format or a cinematic one.