Flame of Recca
Anzai Nobuyuki

You might think that the originality of Flame of Recca is already threatened by the fact that it’s another story about ninjas and that it also has a ‘guy defends girl’ premise to it. However, creator Anzai Nobuyuki somehow manages to combine a perfect blend of action, comedy, character development and an awesome storyline into his work. Let me start off this review by stating that FoR is an absolute masterpiece. Note that I will not point out the similarities For has to Yu Yu Hakusho since I believe that both series are equally good and entertaining to delve into.

High school student Recca Hanabishi started out with a child’s dream of becoming a ninja, currently living with his stepfather who makes fireworks for a living. One day, he bumped into Yanagi Sakoshita, who was being harassed by a group of men. Recca tried to help, but of course, he got beaten up badly and was left lying in the dirt. When he woke up, he realized that Yanagi possesses magical healing powers. As in pure shinobi tradition, Recca vowed to take Yanagi as his ‘princess’ and from then on they became good friends. At school, Recca always had to deal with rivals Fuko and Domon (who has a crush on the former) who are his best pals. Then there’s the effeminate Mikagami who’s trying to find the person who murdered his sister when he was a child. He also targets Yanagi who has a close resemblance to Mikagami’s deceased sibling. After a bloody encounter with Recca, he decided to team up with him and his friends in order to reach his goal and at the same time, preserve Yanagi's well-being. I also feel the need to mention that Recca is able to produce fire with his right hand somewhere in this paragraph.

In the beginning, a mysterious woman keeps approaching him and seemed to acknowledge both Recca and Yanagi’s hidden powers. At first, Recca thought that she was an enemy but as it turns out, the woman usually comes to offer help from time to time. She also presented two mythical weapons to Fuko and Domon, elemental crafts which were similar to Mikagami’s water sword Ensui. As Recca soon discovers, the woman turned out to be his mother. 400 years ago, turmoil ensued in the ninja family when there were two offspring (Recca being one of them) instead of one who inherited their father’s ability to produce fire with bare hands alone. Right after that, a war struck out of one’s desire to obtain the extremely powerful ninja weapons as previously mentioned. To save Recca, his mother used forbidden magic to send him into the future, which in turn cursed her into being an immortal. Centuries later, she finally found her long-lost son after being separated for so long. But all is not well even in this period of time, where Recca will have to encounter evil forces of both old and new. And the special weapons still remained an integral part of today’s skilled fighters inheriting them.

Speaking of immortality, there’s another story about the corrupt businessman Moriko Ran, who seeks to achieve eternal life in one way or another. Because of that, he targeted Yanagi whose healing powers were looked upon as the key to it. Led by his ‘son’ Kurei, the villains set out to get the princess at all cost and extract her ability. Recca later learned about his enemy; the despicable Kurei, a spiteful man who will stop at nothing to complete his task. He was Recca’s half-brother from 400 years ago, and was accidentally brought into this period of time. And of course, he too has the same powers as Recca, which were seemingly overpowering at first. But eventually both will get stronger and stronger as it is unknown just how powerful exactly either of them can be.

Now, the arena-style fights that occur throughout For are mindblowing. They hardly get repetitive, and the uniqueness a single duel would offer is truly something to behold. Nobuyuki successfully added his creative touch into each and every one of the main characters (and villains), keeping them interesting as they develop further into the story. And unlike many other manga series, his drawing style actually gets better and better, most notably during the latter volumes. Mark my words, you wouldn’t want to miss For, though partially affected by certain clichés, everything else in it is incredible and it’s right up there with the very best action manga available out there. If you’re looking for a new series to get into, For should very well be it.


ILS is not affiliated with, endorsed by or related to any of the products, companies, artists or parties legally responsible for the items referred to on this website. No copyright infringement is intended.