Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Fire Punch takes place in a frozen dystopia where natural resources are scarce and humans have to be resourceful to survive. Since Agni and Luna are blessed, they use their abilities of regeneration to sustain the village. Because the world is covered in snow, nobody really knows what is beyond the village or just how far they are from other towns or cities. This discourages people from ever leaving, but one day they get some visitors.
A group of militia from Behemdorg arrive looking for food and shelter. They won’t accept no for an answer, despite the village having barely enough to maintain its current inhabitants. Through barging their way in, they discover that the village has resorted to cannibalism although they fail to realize it’s cannibalism through magic. Although the militia’s goal was to seek out the young and fit to join them in Behemdorg, Doma, the leader of the group condemns the villagers. Giving no time for explanation, he uses his “blessed” abilities of immortal fire to destroy the village. Not knowing Agni and Luna are like him, he sets them ablaze as well.
As the lone survivor of yet another tragedy, Agni sets his sights on revenge. Several years go by and he finally makes his way to Behemdorg, which is known as the city of freedom and opportunity. In reality, it’s actually a slave trade city where children are bought and sold for sex and citizens are tortured. Only those with endless bankrolls get to enjoy the “freedom” and “opportunities” in Behemdorg.
Agni eventually finds the target of his revenge, only to realize it’s a dish that might not be worth serving at all…
Agni is the protagonist of the series. He is one of the blessed who was set ablaze by Doma. This unjustified attack on the village by Doma is what fuels Agni to make his way to Behemdorg, although it takes him a long time to get there.
Luna is Agni’s younger sister. She’s innocent and sweet and shares his regeneration ability. She cannot regenerate at the same rate as her brother, making her powers mostly useless. She gets killed by Doma, but later on we are forced to question if she actually died…
Togata is a feminine boy Agni comes across on his trip to Behemdorg. He’s very likable, but Agni has no interest in making new friends. Togata, who really wants to stay warm, follows Agni to Behemdorg which leads to Agni’s capture by the militia. Togata gets sold into slavery to have sex with something unexpected…
Doma is the leader of the militants who raid Agni’s village in the beginning of the volume. He is self-righteous and doesn’t give people the opportunity to defend themselves when he deems them immoral. Agni lives to kill this man.
When I first saw this title, I thought it was going to be another predictable shonen manga with a bunch of lengthy and redundant fight scenes that get old fast. I even thought the name of the series was cheesy, but a few chapters in and I saw that it made a lot of sense. Fire Punch is surprisingly dark with an emphasis on the frailty of the human mind. The dystopian world offers an opportunity to see just how horrible humanity can be when left to fight over depleting resources in a world buried by endless snow storms.
This series is NOT for a lot of people. There is an “explicit content” warning on the cover, so you know what you’re getting into before you open to the first page. This volume quickly moves into graphic scenes that contain violence, body parts, and horrifying adult themes. Even if you enjoy books with graphic content, you’re going to need a strong stomach for this one. The macabre in this series is unlike anything I have seen in manga before. I challenge you to show me a contemporary series that examines humanity the way this one does (excluding Goodnight Pun Pun).
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**This item was provided for review.