All the gods of the world attend the Council of Valhalla every thousand years. They’re deciding whether or not to let humans live another millennium, and this time the gods decide enough is enough. They’re going to declare the apocalypse, but a Valkyrie named Brunhilde objects. Instead of killing all humans, she thinks there should be a final battle between gods and humans. If the humans win, they can live.
But why would she request this? How could a mortal win in a one-on-one duel with a god?
Some of the best (or at least most influential and/or infamous) mortals from history are brought back for battle. The mortals fighting are Qin Shi Huang, Leonides, Nikola Tesla, Kojiro Sasaki, Jack the Ripper, Adam, Tameemon Raiden, Soji Okita, Grigori Rasputin, Michel de Nostradame, Lü Bu, Simo Häyhä, and Sakata no Kintoki. The gods fighting are Zeus, Buddha, Loki, Apollo, Poseidon, Susanoo no Mikoto, Hercules, Thor, Vaisravana, Anubis, Odin, Beelzebub, and Shiva.
In the first volume, it’s Lü Bu versus Thor in the arena. Many characters are drawn with exaggerated muscles to look like hulking, larger than life beings. And they are larger than life, whether they’re gods or mortals. This is a manga pumping testosterone and action, with men becoming gladiators to stay alive. It’s bombastic, unapologetic, and gleefully runs with its premise.
The first volume sets up the premise and the battles, and lays some mystery on who exactly Brunhilde is, why she cares about humans, and why she’s called for the Ragnarok battle in the first place. Still, it feels like this is mainly an escapist action manga, and, boy, does it deliver the action with its fast pace. The series has proven quite popular in Japan, and has led to an anime adaptation on Netflix. VIZ Media has published the first two volumes in print, and Mangamo is releasing the series much more quickly on its digital manga app. The fourteenth volume was added to Mangamo on May 18, so this could be a fun binge read for someone in the mood for titanic action and adventure.
Story: Shinya Umemura
Script: Takumi Fukui
Publisher: Mangamo, VIZ Media
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin. She is also the author of its upcoming sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.