Well, a lot of us end up watching or reading something because a friend recommended it to us. My friend Schwanka is the person that got me into a lot of things over the years and Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is one of those things. I was looking for new manga to read during high school and this was something that Schwanka was really into. Unfortunately, I liked reading manga more than I liked doing homework, so I read all 192 chapters of Reborn that were out at the time in one sitting. That tells you when I started readin the series, how much I like reading, and how bad my social life was at the time. What do you need to know about this series before we go any further? It is your typical Shounen Jump, so leave now if you are expecting anything new in that department. Aside from that, there is nothing graphic or anything like that which could be considered a general deterrent, so let’s get into the story.
Blood is thicker than water. Do you ever feel the pressure of having to take over the family business? Well, that pressure can be a little more severe when that family business is the most powerful Mafia family in the world. I guess you could say that this this the foundation of the story. Tsuna is your below average high school student in Japn. One day, a baby in a suit shows up and tells him that he is the next in line to lead the Vongola Family. You know what that means. The pressure gets even higher because people want your head. Don’t worry, this is Shounen Jump, so you will have supernatural powers to rely on. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. The story is pretty straightforward in terms of its skeleton. You have your main character that is a bitch because they want him to be relatable, but he is too much of a bitch. The guy gathers his friends and they train in order to fight groups of people that stand in their way. The cycle of training and then fighting your counterparts one-on-one occurs several times. This is Shounen Jump at its core.
People are able to fight using different elemental flames that are amplified through the wearing of rings or pacifiers. Your affinity is based on your personality and most groups have seven characters because there are seven different flame types. Once again, I am not making this up. The unique thing about this is the mafia aspect of things. Although, it is easy to lose that when you are reading the series. People just refer to themselves as families really. Let’s move on.
Much like any big manga series, there are way too many characters. I will go over the main good guys as individuals and as many other people as groups as I feel like is necessary. Tsunayoshi Sawada is the main character. “No Good Tsuna” is his nickname because he sucks at everything. However, he has that protagonist drive that makes him want to protect his friends. Tsuna is the descendent of the Vongola Primo, the first head of the Vongola Family, and this means that he holds the power of the orange sky flame. Hayato Gokudera is from the main branch of the family and he has come to Japan in order to become Tsuna’s right hand man. He may be a hothead, but the guy is really smart. Hayato uses dynamite as a weapon and wields the power of the red storm flame. Takeshi Yamamoto is a very popular person from Tsuna’s high school. Being on the baseball team gives him a natural athleticism that helps him out when he is fighting. Takeshi uses a sword style that his father taught him and the power of the blue rain flame. Ryohei Sasagawa is a boxer from Tsuna’s high school with a very bright personality. Tsuna knows him because he is Kyoko’s brother. The guy uses his boxing skills and the yellow sun flame in his fights. Chrome Dokuro is a young girl that was saved by Mukuro Rokudo. Mukuro is a dangerous criminal that uses illusions in order to accomplish things outside of his prison cell. He uses his powers to help keep Chrome alive. Chrome lost many of her vital organs in an accident, but she can be kept alive by replacing them with powerful illusions. Chrome uses illusions and the indigo mist flame. Lambo is a baby that is dressed like a cow. Even though he is from another mafia family, the little guy hangs out with Tsuna’s gang. He uses the Ten Year Bazooka to swap places with his future self during fights. Lambo uses his horns and the power of the green lighting flame when fighting. Kyoya Hibari is the head of the disciplinary committee at Tsuna’s school. The guy is very tough and he uses the phrase “I’ll bite you to death” when he is after someone. Kyoya is the strongest member of Tsuna’s team and he is always looking to defeat strong opponents. He uses tonfa and the violet cloud flame in battles. Kyoko Sasagawa is the girl that Tsuna likes and she plays a pretty big role in the story even though she doesn’t fight. Haru Miura plays a similar role, but she is in love with Tsuna. Reborn is a cursed baby known as an Arcobaleno. He is the world’s greatest hit man and the one that is guiding Tsuna down the road to becoming the next head of the Vongola Family. The Vongola Family is the most powerful Mafia Family in the world. The Varia are a powerful group under the Vongola Family. The Arcobaleno are all cursed babies with extreme capabilities. Everything basically follows this pattern and we meet quite few mafia families along the way.
Have you ever read something that had some interesting concepts, but it ended up being completely stupid? Well, this is that something. I know a lot of people that really liked this manga, but I just can’t get on the same page as them. Let’s forget the fact that the main character not only starts out as a weakling, but he shows very little growth as the series progresses.
Don’t tell me that simply going from completely incompetent to fighting for your friends is great development because adding that into a story is very easy. He is still more dependent than anyone I have ever met. The series does that stupid thing that a lot of shounen manga do where the beginning is completely comedic and you don’t even get into the real action until a few volumes into things. I know a lot if people that have dropped it because of that. If you are going to make an action series that lacks comedy later on, don’t make a joke out of your introductory stage.
What pissed me off about this series was that I actually enjoyed the action and the concept behind the various powers that people had. There was a wide variety in terms of both fighting styles and weapons used during all of the arcs. That is what kept me going while I was reading this. I don’t think that anyone really disappointed me with their abilities. Although, Hibari was a little too over powered when everything was said and done.
This was probably the most confusing part of the story. One of the villains was able to share his knowledge with versions of himself in parallel worlds. That actually isn’t too crazy. Tsuna then had to defeat him because stopping one would stop all of them in every parallel world. That isn’t stupid yet. Here is the kicker. They traveled ten years into the future to stop people that defeated their future selves because the power of their rings exceeds that of the ten years of experience that their future selves had. Also, changing things in the future fixes it from ever happening when they go back to the past. You lost me and everyone with a brain at that point. That was just stupid. Do not change history by altering the future. Overall, things like this killed the series for me.
I can’t recommend this series the way that Schwanka recommended it to me. The action is nice and I like the fact that they dove into the concept of using the mafia system in a manga, but it was handled horribly. Do not read this story unless you are fine with changing the future and everything being fine when you go back to the past. Screw redundancy, I will say it again. Changing the future does not fix the past. I don’t care if time travel isn’t a thing yet because that is just stupid. If you really want to get into this story, then you should know that you are getting into 409 chapters worth of material. Also, there is an anime adaptation for it, but they didn’t finish everything from the manga. On that note, the manga had a horribly inconclusive ending that left room for continuation even though the series doesn’t deserve it. Yeah, if you do read it, then you will be getting plot blue balls. You can find the volumes at book stores in America. I do not suggest that you spend money on this series.