All opinions are mine and my opinions are trash, just like the plot of Juujuka no Rokonin.
Juujika No Rokonin is something I regret reading not for the usual moral reasons, but because it’s giving out-of-control train about to crash energy. Alas, like a dog returns to its vomit, so one idiot (aka me) continues reading the equivalent of vomit they’ve already become too invested in.
Juujika follows my homeboy Uruma on his quest to get vengeance against the bullies that made his life terrible and killed his parents. The plot is essentially Uruma violently murdering all the bullies until he gets to the final boss, Kyou Shigoku. It’s like Saw or Hostel except those being offed deserve what’s coming for them (I guess?) and it had a semi-interesting albeit typical premise. Anyway, the massive amounts of violence and unnecessary edginess is obviously why I was drawn to it (no cap, saw a random panel from the manga on Instagram and immediately started reading it), plus who doesn’t like a good revenge tale?
Anyway, child Uruma is tortured by Kyou and his goons. Since bullying someone to suicide isn’t enough,
anti-Christ jr. one day Kyou decides to kamikaze one of his goons by tossing him in front of a car, causing Uruma’s parents and younger brother to get into a car accident and die. Except no, they don’t die. So Kyou lights the car on fire, which seals the deal and consequently torches the younger brother, Kakeru, putting him in an indefinite coma. Mind you, no one is arrested for this, nothing appears to be investigated, nothing happens in regards to what is incredibly extreme bullying either. But let’s be honest, no one is reading this because it’s super realistic and reflective of real life.
Flash forward, Uruma has gone Super Saiyan and is with the only well-written character in this manga, Gramps, who is a straight thug. The two of them decide to get revenge on the bullies and Uruma begins Act I: systematically kidnapping and killing all of his childhood bullies and erasing all the evidence of his crimes. We get a brief “they had me in the first half, ngl” moment with the first “victim” Madoka, who seems apologetic for his past treatment of Uruma only to be faking it. From there on, Uruma snatched Kyou’s goons and slowly tortures them to RIP with the help of Gramps. There are random side characters, but they’re mostly annoying and could be removed from the story without changing anything.
Garbage Plot, Garbage Characters
The plot was always lowkey trash, with poorly written (female) characters, but the first two villains (Madoka and Ushiro) briefly displayed some tepid shades of complexity, which made me think perhaps the next few bullies would be better fleshed out. At this point, I’m beating a dead horse because again I didn’t start reading it for the plot or for character development, but because I wanted to see Uruma kill the bullies. That said, it’s entirely possible to create edgelord trash that pushes boundaries and have well-written characters (like The Boys).
Alas! The remaining villains are variations of Ushiro with somehow less depth than him. The kicker though is once they all die, the plot repeats itself with older, adult goons who are part of the Cult of Kyou and are all willing to die for a child.
The introduction of these adult, cult goons preceded the deterioration of the plot into something boring, repetitive, and somehow even more poorly written than the earlier chapters. The manga should’ve ended long ago with Uruma taking down the last bully, and then Kyou. But even if the author didn’t want to do something so cliché, there are a myriad of ways they could’ve ended the story on a semi-fulfilling note. Instead, the reader is tossed several years into the future, after both Gramps and Kakeru were killed at the hands of Kyou, and Uruma seems to not even remember who he is.
On that note, the villains are all horribly written, but especially Kyou – why are all these people following him? That’s never elaborated upon or even shown beyond a few, sparse scenes here and there. Nothing about him is particularly charismatic or attractive, and Kyou even admits he’s evil for the sake of being evilz. Again it’s perfectly possible to write chaotic evil characters decently (see: the Joker, Ramsey, Johan Leibert, Mado, probably Misa), so it really seems like the author put forth no effort in developing any of the characters.
Juujika No Ronukin is ongoing and normally I’d wait until a manga ends to review it, but I stopped reading not long after that one manager creep was introduced as I can tell the story is going to devolve into a series of introducing random characters and killing them off until Uruma reboots or whatever, and remembers his true goal.
Juujuka No Ronukin Rating: Gramps Cutting His Own Leg Off/10