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'Kengan Ashura': The new Netflix original anime will bring the fan-favorite manga to life in all its shonen glory

Telling the story of a corporate-sponsored gladiator, the manga is easily one of the best works in the shonen genre and one of the most popular manga books of the past decade.

'Kengan Ashura' is one of the most popular manga books of this decade. This is probably why Netflix has decided to adapt the series as a part of the streaming giant’s big push into the world of anime. Telling the story of a corporate-sponsored gladiator, the manga is easily one of the best works in the shonen genre.

For those who don’t know, shonen is a particular kind of manga that is mostly directed at a young male audience. Shonen stories are generally built around a high-action premise. ‘Dragon Ball’, ‘My Hero Academia’, and ‘Naruto’, three of the most popular anime out there, are all based on shonen manga.

The central character in any good shonen is usually an insanely over-powered hero. Take Son Goku from ‘Dragon Ball’ for example. In his long fighting career, Goku has gone toe-to-toe with gods and can, at least in theory, give Superman an effortless beatdown. This immense power is usually balanced out by a negative trait like arrogance, inexperience or, in some cases, plain stupidity.

Son Goku is one of the most easily recognizable heroes in shonen manga and anime. (IMDb)

‘Kengan Ashura’ ticks off both these requirements. Its hero Tokita Ohma, nicknamed “Ashura”, is a formidable fighter trained in a unique fighting style called the Niko style. He is brash, arrogant, reckless and not above taunting his opponents, though he does possess a certain sense of honor.

Another trope that is common in shonen is the hero who is motivated solely by the lust for battle. Shonen heroes are rarely motivated by anything other than a desire to be the best fighter ever. The only obvious exception to this rule is Saitama from ‘One Punch Man’, who is motivated by - well, to be honest, he isn’t really motivated by anything unless you count supermarket discounts as a valid motivation for a hero.

Ashura is well aware of his might and unafraid to use it to make his way to the top. He is easily angered when he isn’t automatically seen as the best, though he is capable of channeling that anger into feats that dispel any doubts of his greatness.

‘Kengan Ashura’ promises to deliver a no-holds-barred bloodfest that could very easily become one of Netflix’s most popular anime shows once it drops. If you’re a fan of martial arts movies, if you’re a fan of combat sports, or even if you just want to see some epic badassery, this is the show for you. Don’t believe it? Check out the trailer here below:


‘Kengan Ashura’ will premiere on Netflix on July 31, 2019.