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July 8, 2013

Bento Bako Weekly: Tenjo Tenge Full Contact Edition volume 11

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Written by: Drew
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tenten11Tenjo Tenge, Full Contact Edition 2-In-1, vol.11

Publisher: Viz Media (Signature Line)

Story and Art: Oh! Great

So here it is at long last for North American Ten-ten fans: the 11th volume of the Full Contact Editions (which collects Japanese volumes 21 and 22). After 13 years, writer/artist Oh! Great brings his manga epic of the hard knock-high fantasy life of the students of Todo Highschool to a close, at times satisfactory and others unexpected as he lays out a few last twist and turns.

The story opens up with the battle continuing between Nagi/Susano-o and Mitsuomi. The punches are flying fast, but as their world, and the office building they are in, begins to crumble down, Maya, now possessing the power of the sun goddess Amaterasu, comes into play to help contain Susano-o’s growing deadly kai, unfortunately at the cost of Nagi’s Mom (for the final time, I know it seems like she’s bit the dust three times already in this series, but they assure us, this is it for her). Everything from here moves at an accelerated pace. The building is gone. Both the Executive council and the Juken Club have sustained injuries (so much so that the Executive council actually has to pull out of the highschool tournament), and Nagi goes off to travel around the world to hunt down the evil demon kai that has gone loose and is possessing folks. When he has absorbed all that evil kai he will return, and he has asked Masataka to stop him. Smartly here, Oh! Great doesn’t follow Nagi on his demon hunting adventures. Instead the story keeps its focus on the school. The Juken Club wins the tournament (oddly beating at one point a group of guys who cosplay as the fighters from the video game Tekken), and they all continue to train as they now themselves become the new Executive council, and await the day they will face Nagi again. Of course, that day happens, and Nagi, consumed by all the evil energy of Susano-o, once again unleashes his terror, this time to come fist-to-fist with Masataka, and a slight twist ending wraps everything up for the series nicely.

The final volume has a lot of story jumping around in it, but even more so page after page of endless, kick-ass fighting eats up a huge number of pages, and this volume is a little bit larger than the previous. Oh! Great was allowed to go out with a big bang, and he certainly did. Fans of martial arts manga will be drooling over the amount of action here. Story wise Oh! Great almost jumps the shark at the end, but dodges it. Certainly the series feels like it is wrapping up, and we hit our end as we get to the end of the first half of the book (or volume 21 for fans not reading them in 2-in-1 editions). All the characters make at least a cameo in the moments of the final fight, and it really feels like we are done. Then we get the Nagi has to go off to find demons moment, which is almost a pit fall, except Oh! Great decides not to follow it. Thankfully he keeps focusing on the club, and we get a pay off seeing them finally win the tournament, paced with great character moments, like Masataka finally telling Aya how he feels about her. The real final battle between Susano-o/Nagi and Masataka is nice epic pay off that hits all the finer fighting points we have seen throughout the series. The final moments, the fates of Nagi, Maya, and Aya, and the ending that I won’t give away here, leave a strong and surprisingly touching end to the series, giving it a bit of heart we only see occasionally through the machismo that hypes the title.

Tenjo Tenge, Full Contact 2-in-1 Editon vol.11 is a fantastic wrap up to the series, out in print from Viz.

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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