Big Order Vol. 1 - Manga Review

In a world of wishes and inhuman powers, humanity is brought to the brink by one boy’s ambitions of world domination. Many years later, the same boy might have to use the very same ability to save the planet!

The Lowdown

Thanks to a careless wish he made as a child, Eiji Hoshimiya carries the burden of being responsible for one of the greatest worldwide catastrophes in mankind. After becoming something known as an Order, Eiji reserves himself from using the supernatural abilities. Things change, however, when the government begins taking interest in him and his family. Crazed women out for vengeance, a missile crisis, and false pregnancies await the powerful teen.

How Was It?

There are lots of areas of concern for the first volume of Big Order, and none of them give any cause for mercy for this shonen manga  Firstly, the pacing in this series is abysmal - the plot moves at a breakneck speed, meaning there is no real time for any story or characterization to develop. As a result, most of the impressions left for the various superhumans have to be formed by vague dots being connected and minimal depth to their backgrounds. Although this isn’t a drama or some character study, there is no reason a story about people with extraordinary abilities needs to feel so bland and uninspired.

The lack of imagination in Big Order’s crafting is particularly alarming as it takes the fun out of reading the story. In the rare times that it feels like there is a charming moment building or some sense in what is happening, everything screeches to a halt by a complete one-eighty/outright change in topic. An event that felt like a fluke the first few times in the earliest act became a real factor when the narrative continued to change suddenly like this, and this was sometimes as abrupt as dropping things within a single frame. Despite even the most focused attempts at reading the pages, these abrupt switches were glaring distractions. This ultimately hamstrung the process so badly that it felt as if the order of the pages was changed and I was reading everything out of order.

Most of the issues I have with Big Order are not necessarily all of the things it does wrong, but rather in how it is trying to do too much. It feels like the writer was really excited with ideas and just started throwing them out there all at once, a potentially effective brainstorming technique in writing. Where it runs into its problems, however, is that there wasn’t revision to that quick-fire of ideas. Each plot point, character, and action feels as discombobulated as the last, leaving the reader wondering if it was by design or if things really were this lacking from the jump.

Without a steady flow of ideas, all of the concepts Big Order throws out never connect and build into better moments worth experiencing. The action sequences don’t pop well enough on their own to take on noteworthy merit, nor do the characters have moments that render them any more than ineffective punchlines. Plot and character developments feel so forced and directionless that there isn’t even a remote sense of feeling for anything that is happening in the volume. Simply put, the whole thing just goes on for three hundred ninety two pages without establishing anything that comes close to a complete work of fiction.

Final Thoughts

To say that this series suffers from an identity crisis wouldn’t be a fair assessment, as there needs to be some form of identity to begin with first. It is astonishing that this manga somehow managed to run twice the size of an ordinary first volume and leave a reader feeling like nothing was taken from the tangled mess of concepts and regrettable story. If one were to throw random ingredients from around the kitchen into a steel pan, put it in the oven to bake, and take it out an unholy amount of time earlier than it should have been cooking, the first volume of Big Order would be sitting in the pan, center-mass.


Big Order, Vol. 1
By Sakae Esuno

Big Order was authored by Sakae Esuno and published by Kadokawa Shoten in their Shonen Ace imprint from 2011 to 2016. It received an anime adaptation in the Spring 2016 anime season by studio Asread. 

Verdict:

D

Date of Publication: January 31st, 2017

Translator: Caleb Cook

Author: Sakae Esuno

Publisher: Yen Press