Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Rediscovering the pure silliness of Rave Master

When I saw that Humble Bundle was offering a Hiro Mashima bundle, my first thought was that it would be a way to get the rest of Fairy Tail (a manga I quite like, in no small part because of the ways it gently subverts some of the tropes of Shonen) Then I saw it also had the complete Rave Master. Which whole heartedly embraces all of those tropes lol 

Many years ago, I picked up the first few volumes of Rave Master at a flea market. My first reactions: One, that it was fun. And, two, it felt like it was Hiro Mashima was trying to distill the essence of what was going on in Shonen manga at the time into one cliche storm.

Haru is a spiky-haired badass with a heart as big as the world and whose brain is slightly less rational than Pinkie Pie. He’s prone to finding or coming up with new techniques and powers and his determination has no limits. He’s also much nicer than Son Goku. (Seriously, Goku is a sociopath) 

The fact that the manga begins with Haru fishing  as snowman/dog hybrid out of the ocean on his home of Garage Island announces that we don’t have to take things too serious. Yes, there will be life-and-death battles and the fate of the world will be at stake and angsty revelations will happen.  But Rave Master assured us it will be goofier than One Piece.

Rave Master isn’t the best Shonen manga I’ve ever read. Nor is it my favorite. However, it has the joy of a ten-year-old who gets to create their own manga but with the art and writing skills of a twenty one-year old. It’s clear that Mashima had a blast making it.

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