F - Big Order Vol 1 Review

BIG ORDER Vol. 1 Review: Wish Granted

We all makes wishes sometimes, most of which never come close to becoming true. But in Sakae Esuno’s BIG ORDER, not only can a wish become reality, it can also change the world forever.

BIG ORDER takes place ten years after a great calamity happens on Earth. Around the same time as the disaster, people called Orders, individuals with the ability to turn at least one of their wishes into power, began to appear. The story focuses on Eiji Hoshimiya, an Order who blames himself for the current state of the world. As a child, Eiji imitated his favorite comic book supervillain and wished for the destruction of the world.

I found this premise quite interesting, but I was a bit confused by Eiji’s circumstances when we see him after his fateful wish. I assumed we’d see him in a post-apocalyptic world in the present, but after the book’s introduction, Eiji is seen leading a regular life. He is just a typical slacker high school student. However, Eiji’s world is turned upside down when a pink-haired student joins his class.

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While the new student, Rin Kurenai, initially seems normal enough, fans of Esuno’s work would probably suspect that there’s more to her character. Esuno’s previous manga, FUTURE DIARY (a free-for-all battle series where each combatant has a diary that tells them the future), also featured a pink-haired girl with long pigtails and large, soulful eyes in the form of the unstable Yuno Gasai, which made me think Rin would have a much bigger (and less innocent) role in the story. Sure enough, just as Eiji began to fall for her, my theory was confirmed. Rin is also a powerful Order, and she is out for vengeance.

We learn that her parents died in the disaster 10 years ago and she holds Eiji responsible. For me, Rin Kurenai stole the show in this volume. First of all, she has the badass power of regenerative flames that is visually stunning. The volume also did a good job of constantly reminding me that she has something that drives her. I found myself rooting for her more and more, because as far as I know, she’s in the right. If someone tore apart my world in the way Eiji did, I would want vengeance as well.

I was shocked when I discovered that Rin was working for the “Big Ten,” a group of Orders who had taken control of Kyushu’s government after the great disaster, and that she merely decided to get revenge against Eiji while on a recon mission. When this information came to light, it was the first time I felt that the world they were in had actually changed after the great disaster, something I desperately needed to continuing being invested in the story.

The “Big Ten” have been searching for Eiji for a while, as they believe they can use his power to take complete control of the Earth. The story seems to jump leaps and bounds in a few chapters, which I didn’t really care for. I personally enjoy a slow progression in a first volume leading to a big reveal ending. Unfortunately in BIG ORDER Vol. 1, he goes from slacker high school student to being groomed to be a future dictator in just a few chapters.

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While the story’s structure left something to be desired, I really enjoyed the unique style of fighting in this manga. Unlike mainstream shonen such as BLEACH or ONE PIECE, the characters in BIG ORDER don’t really fight fist-to-fist. Wherever Eiji roams, that land becomes part of his territory. When reading this volume, all I could think about was how perfect his power, Domain Expansion, would be for a world ruler. His power allows him to control whatever and whoever is in his territory. This made for some interesting and unconventional fight scenes in the volume. Eiji’s battles become like a game of chess. His territory becomes the board, and every direction he moves his pieces can mean checkmate or certain death. However, even though his fighting style was based on his wits, we’re given no hints that has above average intelligence until he’s in danger.

As for the artwork, the mangaka’s style hasn’t changed since FUTURE DIARY, which I found perfect for the dark state of the world in this story. The Earth is in shambles, and the book’s heavy use of dark tones enforces this feeling of chaos. Meanwhile, the depiction of the Orders’ powers were a perfect contrast to this darkness and dominated whatever page they were on.

On the whole, I enjoyed the first volume of BIG ORDER. It did a great job of introducing the characters and explaining the basics of how Orders get and use their powers. While the plot drew me in, though, I wasn’t emotionally invested in Eiji’s journey. Yes, he’s doing most of this for someone he cares about, but nothing about this hit me in the feels like similar stories in past manga series like YU YU HAKUSHO. I didn’t feel any passion from Eiji until the last chapter, where everyone was counting on him to step up. It wasn’t until this crisis occurred that I knew he was the hero of the story.

Nevertheless, I really did enjoy this manga and I want to see how Eiji’s story ends. As a fan of Esuno’s previous work, I have confidence that in the upcoming volumes Eiji will develop into a well-rounded character I’ll want to root for.

BIG ORDER Vol. 1 is in stores now.

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