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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Hoshin Engi


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Shenl742
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Joined: 11 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:40 pm Reply with quote
Sorry to here about he lukewarm reception Jason. HE's actually become a personal favorite of mine, and a real undiscovered gem in my opinion. It can definatley be rough at some points (the way the story handles Dakki at the end is....problematic), but I iked all the weird weapons and the bizarre characters, the big plot twists, the 4th wall breaking humor, it really did a lot right in my opinion. Both this and Kekkaishi (which I I'd like to see you tackle someday!), are where I point when it comes to (at least) slightly smarter shonen battle manga that's under 40 volumes (perhaps an overly narrow supperplative?)

Interesting experiment though! Take a load off now Smile
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Sewingrose



Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 512

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:28 pm Reply with quote
I feel like I just vicariously read a 23 volume 90's shonen series I didn't particularly enjoy but I have all the volumes of it and I'm already half way through, so to hell with it. And I didn't even have to do any reading! Success.
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redcar



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 100
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:46 pm Reply with quote
Ah, Houshin Engi...I remember when my friend randomly gave me some of this to read way back when. I liked it enough to buy it, so I'm certainly glad he did! Maybe it's just the fact that it's so random that makes it interesting to me, or maybe it's because it's not a million volumes long. I have to say though, I certainly liked the parts where the hero defeated his enemies using wits instead of energy blasts or what have you. Said parts didn't last for long, but they were refreshing coming from a shounen manga.
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:48 pm Reply with quote
Houshin Engi is the manga I bring out when I want to defend what happened in Bleach. "At least the second half of Bleach is not like the second half of Hoshin Engi". As a fan of mythology I kind of dug the whole ancient chinese myth thing, though as mentioned they needed to spend more time on making you actually care about the characters. An example of this is when they bring in the family members of the original Dakki, and then they are never brought up again and the Dakki flashback is just a useless scene that your supposed to forget.

Then there is Dakki herself, she is one of the best examples of the mangaka just falling in love with a character. A lot of her scenes are simply "Look at how wacky she is" and she's one of those characters where the mangaka tries to give her depth by giving her some motivation that is never brought until then (Code Geass did the same thing with Charles). I could get into Dakki when she was some crazed fox demon destroying China for her own selfish whims but throwing in some BS motivation at the last second just guarantees that I am never reading anything this guy makes again.

Houshin Engi was also one of those manga were I vastly prefered the support cast to the main character who came off as really generic. My interest in the series dropped as characters who were much more interesting either died or simply left the series.
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perroloco



Joined: 10 Dec 2008
Posts: 184

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:00 pm Reply with quote
I looooooove Fuji Ryu's art style, yeah he likes to use tones and all that haha.
As for the review, I can totally see Jason's points, but.. C'mon you aren't supposed to take Hoshin Engi that seriously, I mean from the very first chapter you see Evangelion, Street Fighter and other various breaking the wall references.
Taikoubou changes from his normal design to the Ta design (The one with the Ta character on its chest.. or was it the Tai character? Can';t rememebr)
All the high-tech weaponry (altugh as Jason said later kinda explained) doesn't correspond to China.

TL:DR Hoshin Engi is IMO great because it doesn't take itself too seriously.

I love the constant 4th wall break is increidbly fun, my favorite comic scene of all time is in the Chokomei battle (The one with the cliche new shonen manga made by Chokmei)

All of this in my opinion.
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chichiri_chan



Joined: 15 Nov 2010
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:06 pm Reply with quote
I'm sorry you didn't seem to really care for the series too much. I consider this one of my top 10 favorite series. But then, I'm both a fan of Chinese mythology and literature as well as a fan of 90's manga.
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FaytLein
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Joined: 21 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:07 pm Reply with quote
I honestly think that Engi needs to be read in chunks, sitting down and marathoning everything means the weirdness kind of overwhelms everything else. The shifts in tone, crazy outfits and wacky battles are great...in moderation. The anime however was really quite bad, and almost made me swear off the manga. Thankfully, I read a chapter in SJ, and decided to give it a shot. And I really, REALLY liked it.
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perroloco



Joined: 10 Dec 2008
Posts: 184

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:13 pm Reply with quote
I agree, there are certain manga that are better read in chunks and other the are better read like.. in one sit and others sooooo addicitve that you gotta read it all in one sit.

Hoshin Engi, while I love it, its better read in chunks.
Bleach in the other hand is better read in chunks of say 4-5 chapters. (Same with Gantz and any other manga with not too many happening in a chapter)
Hikaru No go is one of those addictive reads.

But yeah maybe that divert from the experience that Hoshin Engi is?
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CrownKlown



Joined: 05 May 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:40 pm Reply with quote
Houshin Engi is favorite SJ title, followed by a close second of Hunter X Hunter. Honestly my only complanint about HE was there was never even a mediocre attempt at romance with the main character, although I always secretly pretend he ends up with the water goddess and it happens off screen after the manga ends. And thats not even a fair complaint given the face its a shonen title.

I can accept not every one likes the same thing, I don't like JoJos BA, but please don't try to compare this to Bleach which is downright awful. After rescue rukia arc, bleach has been so bad, had the manga started that way it would have cancelled after one chapter; HE gets a little over the top at times, but I can honestly say there was no section or arc that I disliked.
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ptolemy18
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Joined: 07 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:28 pm Reply with quote
Charred Knight wrote:
Houshin Engi is the manga I bring out when I want to defend what happened in Bleach. "At least the second half of Bleach is not like the second half of Hoshin Engi". As a fan of mythology I kind of dug the whole ancient chinese myth thing, though as mentioned they needed to spend more time on making you actually care about the characters. An example of this is when they bring in the family members of the original Dakki, and then they are never brought up again and the Dakki flashback is just a useless scene that your supposed to forget..


Yes, totally! That's a great example. The part when King Chu meets Dakki (the *original* Dakki) was such a sweet little scene I wish I'd mentioned it in the article, but then it all turns out to be totally unimportant later.
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ptolemy18
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Joined: 07 May 2005
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:39 pm Reply with quote
FaytLein wrote:
I honestly think that Engi needs to be read in chunks, sitting down and marathoning everything means the weirdness kind of overwhelms everything else. The shifts in tone, crazy outfits and wacky battles are great...in moderation. The anime however was really quite bad, and almost made me swear off the manga. Thankfully, I read a chapter in SJ, and decided to give it a shot. And I really, REALLY liked it.


Yeah -- normally I don't write House of 1000 Mangas about series that I don't really like, so I apologize to all the Hoshin Engi fans who got their hopes up! -_-;;; It probably would have been more fun if I hadn't marathoned through it.

It's basically a very whimsical manga. In general, I prefer more serious/dramatic manga: even if it's so overly melodramatic it's obviously all a joke deep down, like sooo many shonen manga. I still like it even if it's actually ridiculous, as long as it pretends to be serious. -_- Hoshin Engi is the total opposite of that: it never takes itself seriously or even pretends to. The scenes where Fujisaki makes a halfhearted attempt to make us worry "oh noes, is Taikobo in trouble?" are not the best parts of the manga. The best parts are the funny stuff and the breaking-the-fourth-wall and the random bits.

IMHO, having both a hero who's easygoing and doesn't care too much about things, AND a villain who's easygoing and doesn't care too much about things, makes it kind of hard to get into the story. Only the human characters ever really get that excited and passionate in Hoshin Engi, and they don't get to do as much as the sennin. Although, I forgot to mention I liked Yozen (the shapeshifter).
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ptolemy18
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Joined: 07 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:39 pm Reply with quote
CrownKlown wrote:
Houshin Engi is favorite SJ title, followed by a close second of Hunter X Hunter. Honestly my only complanint about HE was there was never even a mediocre attempt at romance with the main character...


What?! You forgot Venus of the Three Beautiful Sisters? -_-

(I can't believe Fujisaki kept those characters around for the whole series)
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mangaka-chan



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:54 pm Reply with quote
I have a real soft spot in my heart for Houshin Engi as it was the shared obsessed between me and my group of friends back in highschool. My best friend used to buy copies of the manga (in Chinese btw, as the manga was not licensed in English until years later) and we'd pass it around to read at lunch. Ah, good times~

That being said, my best friend and I are of Chinese descent so the original Fengshenyanyi story from which Houshin Engi is based is somewhat familiar to us from the get-go, and it was a really fun spin on mythical/historical characters we were already familiar with. Thus I can see for those who are not familiar with the characters and the history why Houshin Engi can come across as being hard to read. But if you have some familiarity with the characters I think this is a manga you'll more readily enjoy.

Ryu Fujisaki's style (both artistic and story telling wise) is also one of those things that you'll either love or hate. I like it because it was unusual and wacky, and personally the history about the Shang/Zhou dynasties is already so mystified (think the battle of Troy from Greek mythology and you get a pretty good comparison) in Chinese culture that I'm not bothered by the complete anachronistic setting.
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mangaka-chan



Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:59 pm Reply with quote
ptolemy18 wrote:
Although, I forgot to mention I liked Yozen (the shapeshifter).


I was wondering why Youzen was never mentioned. He was (and still is) my favorite character from the whole cast. You gotta love the shape-shifting, narcissistic, brilliant, spoiler[youkai prince with a tragic backstory,] and let's not forget his flying white sheep dog looking paopei. Wink
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Kazenadama



Joined: 08 Nov 2010
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:42 am Reply with quote
The fact commenters and you would say this manga isn't meant to be taken seriously is extremely upsetting. You can't just read Houshin Engi at face value, it's one of those titles where you have to sit back and analyze the characters and their actions.

Taikoubou may be a lazy bum, but it is shown he cares about his allies in many areas. Youzen is also terribly under-appreciated; he is well-liked, but for his looks and surface rather than his deepness. I was sad to see you didn't mention him at all.

People do have different tastes, and I respect that, but please don't just put it down as a bad story when you read through it quickly once. Also, mentioning his art, there's a difference between not knowing anatomy, and choosing to exaggerate it. It's called style. I know a lot of people aren't fond of his art, but please don't brush it off by saying his anatomy is bad--it's actually really excellent. But, like someone mentioned, you either hate or love his art.

Of all the longer 90s manga this one is definitely one of the least popular, and writing an evaluation like this doesn't really help. I wish you'd look more into the character's actions and consequences and the overall plot before putting it down. There is a lot of foreshadowing in the series; things don't just happen randomly. The Guidepost of History is mentioned quite early on, by Shinkouhyou even. Reading the series so fast probably doesn't help you to understand the characters well, but I guess that can't be helped.

I don't expect you to love the series, but one day I wish you'd take a deeper look into it before writing opinions such as this. This manga is really one of my all-time favorites, despite reading it recently, so I'm upset to see how not-so-well some people can take it.
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