Tenjo Tenge Full Contact Edition volume 5 collects volumes 9 and 10 of the original single volumes into one collection, and presents them fully uncut in all their fighting glory. For fans of the early chapters, this collection presents a return to Oh! Great’s much more hard edged storytelling in terms of both physical and sexualized violence, yet at the same time he includes plenty of laughs, making this feel less exploitative compared to the start of the series, and a more defined piece in which we really-really hate the bad guys at hand and just want our heroes to save the day.
The first half of the collection (volume 9) picks up right where the last one left off. Soichiro is tapped into his inner-dragon, complete with black hair (think of it as the opposite of going Super Sayian for him), and we meet all his new martial arts teachers, who are the former Takayanagi Rising Phoenix, also known as the 12 Red and White Holy Generals. In the meantime, the baddies dispatch the first member of their super secret sect “F” to clean up our heroes’ martial arts club that keeps getting in the way. Tessen Ishiyumi takes the scene, and at first it seems he could be destined to be best friends with Soichiro as they swipe Kamen Rider-fandom and love. However, it soon becomes clear he’s there to fight, and an awesome battle ensues that’s page after page of tons of cool fighting. After the fight, it’s clear our heroes are in need of preparing themselves for the further problem of having “F” on their tails, and so they decide to call in the other two “inactive” members of their club, which include the alien-looking Shinichiro Kurei, and the woman-loving dirtbag Kagesada Sugano (they have to fight through a group of women protecting him, whose technique is to strip down naked so you’ll feel bad punching them). At the same point at far away Enmi Shrine, “F” attacks, and although the Shrine’s warriors put up a great fight using hallucination techniques, they still are annihilated. One the priestesses is kept alive to tell them what they want, as a young boy, Master Moki, escapes to go seek help from the Juken Club.
The second half of the collection (volume 10) contains a road trip action story. Moki has found Soichiro, Aya, and the rest of the gang, and after being attacked by some warriors and motorcycles who are trying to get Moki, it becomes clear this kid needs help. Soichiro, Aya, and Moki sneak out in the middle of the night against Maya’s wishes, and head down the highway for revenge and to rescue Enma, the priestess held hostage. Before we know it, joined by one of the holy generals, Yorihira Tsumuji, our heroes square off against a bunch of henchmen, led by Yorihira’s own son, a computer/martial arts genius who has electronically hooked up multiple arms to himself to beat to death his opponents. The fighting is rough, and the implied torture and rape scenes of hostage Enma are equally as rough. By the end of the volume, plenty of folks have fallen and blood lies everywhere, as Soichiro in his transformed dragon state squares off against “F”‘s Tsumuji, who conjures up his own demon power to fight.
Overall this collection has a little bit of everything. Oh! Great’s fight scenes have gotten better and better as this series has progressed, and by the time we hit these volumes, we see him at his best with some incredibly well rendered battles going on in these pages. Also, now that we are a good chunk out of the mega-multiple volume flash back story, the manga actually feels like it’s progressing and no longer spinning its wheels. The torture and rape scenes of poor Enma in the second half of the collection may be a little tough for some readers to get through, however, they are not nearly as explicit as in the early volumes, and Oh! Great has started to become a master of the “off camera” sexual violence in these pages, making us feel terrible, but avoiding any sort of hentai. The new character of Kurei provides plenty of needed laughs, with his big eyes, tear dropped shaped head, and 4 foot height; he supplies endless gags at the expense of him looking like he is from outer space. At first I wasn’t as sure about this gag, however, the humor with him also provides a much needed counter balance later on when we get to a bit of the ultra violence, to help keep readers in a better and less dark place.
Tenjo Tenge Full Contact Edition volume 5 is out now.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.