Creator: Ryu Fujisaki
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Action
RRP: $7.99
Hoshin Engi v2
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

�Taikobo continues to look for survivors � and to hunt down Dakki, the Sennin who murdered his family. But as he delves deeper into the Hoshin Project, he learns how little he really knows about his mission. What is his true destiny? He may find out sooner than he thinks.�

I don�t know whether it�s the terrible character designs or the bland personalities, but Hoshin Engi strikes me as a distinctly amateur effort.

It�s not that the art is bad so much as everyone looks like a clown. Taikobo�s outfit is a cross between a nurse and a lunch lady � it�s not particular masculine to any extent. Supushan is an oversized lemming who talks in spite of the lack of any mouth. Dakki�s outfit isn�t particularly revealing, but the narrative treats her as if she�s a porn star on her day off. And Shinkohyo literally resembles a clown. It�s all quite bizarre in the most distracting way possible.

Aside from nondescript dialogue, each character has a one-dimensional role to fill, but fills it in the least logical way possible. Rather than flex his strength and moral will, Taikobo uses deception to thwart his enemies. Rather than flaunt her evil powers, Dakki uses sex appeal to confuse her enemies. Rather than do anything useful, Supushan runs and hides. It�s nearly impossible to root for unlikable characters with hardly any will of their own.

Moreover, the terms given to the Sennin powers are becoming confusing, and the choice to keep rather lengthy terms in Japanese makes the narrative that much more clumsy. Thankfully there�s a glossary in the back, as new readers might otherwise have chosen to gouge their eyes out.

There simply isn�t anything to recommend of Hoshin Engi. It�s not the most terrible series I�ve read, but it certainly isn�t overly concerned with trying to win over the reader.

11 October 2007
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