Manga Review: Helck

Details: The series finished. Also known as ヘルク

Score: 7/10

What started out as a slapstick comedy goes through a tonal shift about ten issues into this 100-issue story and becomes a serious, shounen, action-fantasy story.

Helck is an immensely powerful hero in a fantasy world. The demon king has recently passed and the demons are holding a tournament to see who would be the next demon lord. Helck joins in and to the surprise of all, is not only popular with the demons but seems unbeatable. The tournament organizers must now find a way to stop this human from being the next demon king.

At least that’s how the first ten issues go. Then things happen and the story gets a bit serious and dark and turns into a standard shounen action story (shounen refers to a genre of Japanese comics that targets young men, it’s usually filled with action and overcoming obstacles with positive thinking).

Without spoiling too much, it’s got all the standard shounen tropes you’d expect. There’s a big bad enemy they have to beat. There are different power levels for all the characters. The hero must overcome some tragic event and often uses the power of friendship to power up and overcome challenges. It’s some standard stuff. Even some of the plot developments near the end are simply tropes that have been done before from other genres (like science fiction).

Overall, I enjoyed the series for what it was, but it wasn’t amazing to me. I’ve seen too many shounen stories for a story like this not to feel redundant. It’s one of the reasons why Black Clover and My Hero Academia (the manga, not the anime because the anime is fantastic) felt boring to me. I’ve read these stories before.

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