Tenjo Tenge, or Tenten as its hardcore fans love to call it, hits an interesting stride in the 6th Full Contact Edition, which collects both original volumes 11 and 12. Like the mega-flash back sequence which lasted volumes, these volumes take the focus off lead character Soichiro, while staying present day still, and refocusing on the other members of the Juken Club, with Masataka coming more to the center of things.
WARNING: TONS OF SPOILERS AHEAD!
At the top of the collection, Soichiro continues the fight he was in the middle of last volume, fully becoming the black hair demon he’s been holding back, even creating water-bullets out of his own blood to use as a weapon! The fight comes to a stunning conclusion when the demonic Soichiro unleashes his inner dragon in one punch. However, before any real damage is done, Soichiro’s mom steps in and blocks the attack, calming Soichiro, but in turn having the dragon rip through her body, causing her to lose her arms as well as suffer massive internal damage. We jump to the aftermath as Aya returns home exhausted while Soichiro recovers with his mom in the hospital. The hospital trip doesn’t last long, though, as it turns out Soichiro’s father finally reappears, taking an unconscious Soichiro with him to unlock and control his will. The Juken Club begins to deal with the fact that they may never get Soichiro back, and Maya heads down to Kyushu. This leaves the club open to trouble from the mysterious group “F” who is trying to wipe them out, for our heroes still have the microchip that “F” is placing so much importance on.
Then one morning at school while training, Bob is viciously attacked by “F” member Madoka Mawari, a school girl who weeps on a practical suicide mission to get the microchip or don’t come back, who can pull out an endless amount of swords, until finally she unleashes these gas-powered blades that burn as well as they slice. This epic battle goes on for pages, and just when it looks like Bob is going to be killed, Masataka steps in and unleashes his true self. Mawari is defeated, and the club breaks her necklace which was filed with demon-dragon energy from Soichiro’s father, who seems to be an incredible villain in reality and part of “F.” However, “F” just doesn’t give up, and as Mawari snaps to her senses and possible underlying feelings for Masataka, the group is attacked again, but this time it’s even more bat-shit crazy, by the reconstructed cyborg body of Fu Chi’en (who was supposedly pretty much dead since Shin had a go at him in the epic flashback arc). This finally gets Tawara to step back into the fight, as he remembers everything that happened first hand back when this guy originally appeared and fought Shin. The battle gets intense with Masataka jumping in, and there’s plenty of excitement to the conclusion. The volume ends as “F” plans their next move, with Bob questioning what side he really should be fighting on, sick of living in everyone’s shadow of strength.
Oh! Great does some amazing fight art in this volume, as page after page is filled with basically just folks kicking the crap out of each other. True, his writing is getting even more philosophical about life, death, and martial arts. And yes, story wise he finally threw in a friggin’ cyborg. However, when you have a fighting manga that is supposed to be about high school kids battling internal demons, having all sorts of crazy martial arts energy moves, summoning deadly dragons, etc., can we really say throwing in a cyborg is jumping the shark in something so already over-the-top? What Oh! Great does best, which is crazy action, he does here in this mostly all action volume that accelerates the story and mixes things up a little bit for the reader by bringing the focus to the other members of this large cast who deserve some focus and page time (although the art at this point is more the reason readers keep coming back than the actual story).
Tenjo Tenge Full Contact 2-in-1 Edition volume 6 is available and out now from Viz.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.