Title: Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Vol. 1 Author: Kei Toru (Art), Ishio Yamagata (Story), Miyagi (Character Art) Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 176 Genre: Shonen, Mystery, Fantasy Publication Date: January 24, 2017
The Demon God can be defeated, but he never truly dies. Every 300 years he resurrects and threatens all of humanity with extinction. The world chooses six warriors known as the Braves of the Six Flowers to combat the Demon God and subdue him. The Demon God has awoken and the Braves have been chosen, but there seems to be a little problem this time around. Seven braves were chosen meaning one of them is a fake!
Enter Adlet Mayer… the self-proclaimed Strongest Man in the World. After meeting up with the other braves, they all suspect that he is the Seventh. Now the game of proving his innocence and unveiling the true seventh brave begins!
One thing I will say about the manga adaptation is that the pacing is completely rushed. The anime is an adaption of the light novel and the manga is also an adaptation of the same light novel; however, the starting point of the manga was WAY far ahead of the starting point of the anime. They completely skipped over the holy tournament where people who battle for a chance to become one of the braves, how Adlet and Nashetania met, how Adlet became imprisoned, when Adlet received his brave power and their journey up to where Nashetania and Adlet got separated.
That’s a LOT of background the manga just glanced over. The manga begins where Adlet and Fremy first met, which is also where Adlet learned about the All Heaven’s Temple and how to activate the barrier. From there Nashetania and Goldorf meet up with Fremy and Adlet to which one of the established mysteries of the series was unveiled almost instantaneously. In fact, by the time volume one wraps up, we are almost to the end of the television anime. At this pace, volume two will wrap up everything the TV anime covered.
I haven’t read the light novel so I am not sure if it started out the same way, but I know that there is more material beyond what was shown in the anime and that is what I am hoping to see in future volumes of the manga. If the manga is purposely burning through the material to get to the stuff that happened after the anime, then I guess that’s fine, but I’m also here to look at this from a new reader’s point of view and there is just so much inconsistency and loose bits of information that I can’t imagine any new reader picking this up and NOT getting confused by what is going on. While the main plot points are intact, almost all of the main character’s backstories are completely missing. I would have hoped that when Adlet had to explain who he was to clear his name, that the manga would then piece together all of the information it skipped over, but it didn’t even do that, which made me pretty disappointed.
As aforementioned, some characters don’t have a LOT of back story, but they give you just enough to learn about them, but not reveal too much as to accidentally spoil the big mystery. It’s a very fine line to walk and I think this first volume walked it pretty well.
Adlet Mayer – He is the Strongest Man in the World according to himself. He’s a rather chipper fellow who doesn’t take life too seriously. Adlet is a breath of fresh air to the main protagonist role. He’s cool and confident throughout the whole series and he takes things both seriously and lightly at the same time. He genuinely cares about his comrades and will do anything to protect them, but he’s not above to using cheap tricks to get the job done. He’s a wonderful mixed bag and a great example of a unique main character that can fill so many roles. I feel that a lot of main characters lack diversity these days. They fall into one archetype and they ride that wave throughout a series, but Adlet has so many different facets to his personality that he’s just a joy to experience!
Princess Nashetania – Nashetania is one of the chosen six braves and rescues Adlet from prison after meeting him in his holding cell before he was transferred to his main cell. She is also the Saint of Swords and can create blades from out of thin air and yield them to her command. Her personality is a bit flat, but she has some cuteness to her.
Fremy Speeddraw – Now you know it’s a fantasy series when you have a character who wields a gun and has last name of Speeddraw! Fremy is the Saint of Gunpowder and is also known as the Brave Killer. She acts cold-hearted, but she only does that to push others away from her. They really do a nice job making use of the usual tropes to sell her shrouded past and, aside from Adlet, she gets the most development out of the seven main characters in the first volume. Learning about her past makes you feel a bit sorrowful for Fremy. The reason I say that is because of her personality. She simply can’t trust anyone no matter how close they get to her, but when you learn about her past, can you really blame her for being so overprotective of herself?
Hans Humpty (Nyah!) – What fantasy wouldn’t be complete without someone who mimics a cat? Typically, you see this on a female lead character, but in this case, you get it on a male character instead. It does break the mold a bit, but it’s something that hasn’t been done before, though. I think we’re just accustomed to seeing the “cat person” be a female each and every time that it just strikes us as odd when we see a male character take the role. Hans is an assassin through and through and he claims he was taught by cats so he pays homage to them by saying Nyah every chance he gets. Hans is a very unique character that seems out of control and psychotic, but at the same time, he’s very reserved.
Mora Chester – Mora is the Saint of Mountains and is supposed to be the voice of reason type of character, however, she’s very quick to judge and relies on facts of the present rather than the overall evidence to make those judgments. She’s also the kind that when she sets her mind on something, she won’t get off of it until it gets done, whether it’s right or wrong. Of course, I’m talking about Mora pegging Adlet as the seventh brave, thus the whole reason why Adlet needs to prove his innocence.
Chamot – Chamot is the Saint of Swamps and is said to be the most powerful being in history aside from the Saint of the Six Flowers who created the braves. She has the appearance and mindset of a little child, but the personality of a psychopathic madman! She cares not about anyone… if they oppose her in any way shape or form… they must die… simple as that.
Goldof Auora – What can I say about Goldof? He’s the personal bodyguard of Nashetania and a life-long friend. Outside of that… your guess is as good as mine. I know he’s devout to Nashetania, but you get almost zero background on him which makes him very suspicious. He’s a strong silent type character that will do anything to protect the one he serves.
The first volume of Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers threw every character at you at a breakneck speed. I’ve never seen a manga outside of Assassination Classroom overload you with characters right out of the gate like this. I was hoping this series would do a retelling of the anime with more information (since anime adaptations tend to leave things out) and then branch into the light novel information that the anime didn’t cover, but it seems just the opposite. The first volume blew through almost three quarters of the anime adaption and threw main character development out the window.
I’m really hoping that the manga adaptation does adapt the light novel because that is all new information to me and that is what I’m really looking forward to. Also, since I do know that anime adaptations do change things from time to time, I am also hoping that whoever was the seventh brave is someone different this time around. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one. This is one of those rare times I’m going to have to point you in the direction of the anime before reading the manga adaptation… at least for the first few episodes. I think readers would owe it to themselves to see how the manga got to its starting point before actually diving in.
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