Big Order has moments of utter madness and absolute idiocy. That basically leaves it right down the middle of the entertainment aisle.
Title: Big Order
Publisher: Kadokawa (JP), Yen Press (US)
Story/Art: Sakae Esuno
Serialized in: Shounen Ace
Translation: Caleb Cook
Original Release Date: January 31, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
Big Order features a nice amount of random actions that make no sense yet is actually amazing to read. Sadly, it also features an assortment of narrative issues that fails to help me engage with its story, or its characters.
In short, I think Big Order can be quite good, but also holds itself back with everything else aside from Rin.
Eiji Hoshimiya is an “Order” — a person who had a wish, and received an ability coinciding with it. His wish as a kid was to destroy the world. Instead, he got his parents and hundreds of others killed, and allowed many more people to potentially become an Order. When Daisy, the one who gave him his ability, questions the wish he made as a child, Eiji wonders what his wish was as he lives a lackadaisical life going to and from school. Before he can get that solved, he ends up meeting a beautiful transfer student named Rin Kurenai.
She ends up tasering him and some panels later stabs a sword through his hands.
After surviving that, another Order user appears to threaten Eiji, and he has to fight so he can save the one person he cares about, his sister Sena. This turns out to be a trick — the Daizaifu government of Kyushu has declared war on the whole world, and he either becomes their figurehead or lets his sister die.
Essentially, Eiji has no choice but to join the government.
There’s definitely manga out there that present a character forced to serve as the reluctant leader (you can totally share what they are in the comments), but I can’t think of any at the moment, so I’ll just reference something I do remember — Game of Thrones. In that series, one of the children has to be the King, and just about every time big decisions were needed, others made the decisions for him.
Big Order’s attempt compared to GoT is not as interesting as that. Naturally it’s not fair to compare the two, but even being average in the puppet department would have been great, but the only time it provides a good grasp of how Eiji stands compared to the peers he has to “lead” — they also are Orders — is when he meets with the Prime Minister. Aside from that, his moments aren’t very interesting, and for someone aiming for world domination and can control anything physical with his power, it’s pretty bad.
The only time things get interesting is when Rin appears. With her immediate presence, she turns “boring protagonist kinda moping” to “Holy crap why did Sakae Esuno make me the main character again?” It’s not just that there’s a lot of chatting about stuff I don’t care about, but Big Order expresses them poorly. The best example is when Eiji explains why he needs to live despite what he’s done, and it involves Sena. It’s a reasonable motivation, but the art fails to show how serious this is for him.
That’s why almost any panel involving Rin is cool. How do you fight a girl who can regenerate and has a one-track mind of revenge? You use your “Order” to fling a bunch of cars at her. Want to use that one-track mindset to kill Eiji by teaming up? Yeah, she literally wants none of your team ups and desires to kill him herself.
Considering how vague Sakae Esuno has kept what exactly Eiji did ten years ago, there’s bound to be more to the story than him just wishing the world’s destruction and that’ll mean relationships will change. Of course, the relationship between Yuki and Yuno in Future Diary was always touch-and-go, and I definitely expect that here. It’ll be interesting to see what else changes from what happens in this volume to the next. Honestly, I hope ridiculous stuff happens because as it is, it doesn’t feel like the story will make much sense. Still, entertainment exists in this series, so we’ll see if it’ll happen.