MANGA REVIEW | "Rooster Fighter" - Volume Two
Who is Rooster Fighter creator Shu Sakuratani? According to his bio, it says that he’s been in the manga industry for many years, but has only gone by this pen handle for seven. Is he a classic 80s-era author, or is the back story — along with the tale of how this series might’ve been concocted — all humbug? A part of me wants to believe in it though, as Volume Two of Rooster Fighter feels like a weird what-if alternate scenario to Fist of the North Star!
Keiji’s quest to find the demon who killed his sister continues, with a couple of new friends in tow. The first is the chick from Volume One, who winds up saving Keiji’s tale after a demon slug fight. However, some complications arise when the rooster Elizabeth arrives, peeved at Keiji for their one-night stand. After some heavy pecking, all three come to an agreement: work together to defeat the demons…until Keiji’s target is defeated, of course.
Said target winds up being revealed thanks to Elizabeth, who pulls out a smartphone that documents all of the demons that have come around. Hundreds have popped up, with many being threats and others being kind of helpful. However, a mark on the neck of one leads Keiji into a pit of madness, and for a very good reason. But before the quest to find his sister’s killer can continue, a village is in need of vanquishing a greedy demon.
It’s easy to see a lot of comparisons between Fist of the North Star and Rooster Fighter. Keiji is easily Kenshiro, as he moves from town-to-town killing every demon he can find. The chick, whom Keiji dubs Chicken Little, is a mixture of Bat and Lin, the children who followed Kenshiro for a good chunk of the series. As for Elizabeth, it’s possible that one can find a little Mamiya in her, despite being a much more capable fighter than, erm, most of the women in Buronson and Tetsuo Hara’s iconic shonen.
Where the comparisons shine are in the ways Keiji and Elizabeth fight. Although Keiji lacks the fingers to use Kenshiro’s more pressure-pointed attacks, he does match the legendary hero when it comes to other skills. The cocky hero aims to find that sweet spot that’d mean victory, and even pulls off a massive finisher that leads any demon to explode in glorious fashion! (But would Kenshiro yell “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” instead of “You’re already dead!”? Probably not, but it’s funny to think about!)
As for Volume Two, there’s a lot of growth both in Keiji and Chicken Little. Our main hero starts to realize that his quest for vengeance won’t be satisfied until every threatening demon is wiped from the planet’s surface. Chicken Little, on the other talon, learns that overcoming great obstacles must be taken in small doses. After all, if he can’t eat a worm, then how’s Chicken Little supposed to face something actually ferocious?
The addition of Elizabeth makes for both a formidable opponent and love interest for Keiji. What should’ve been just a one-night stand grows into a companionship where all three start watching each other’s backs. Be it at a hot spring or during an intense battle, our Rooster Fighter team learn to grow closer as danger becomes imminent. However, things get uncomfortably funny when it involves sex, with some of the most awkward love-making visuals since the MacGruber movie.
I still can’t believe Rooster Fighter exists. It’s weird, hilarious, and badass all at once, with Volume Two being no exception. Whoever Shu Sakuratani really is, the author is either insanely brilliant or just plain crazy. Either way, we should all be glad we have Rooster Fighter in our lives, even if it’s just another cuckoo product in a world that’s already gone & lost its mind!
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media