The Japanese appreciate all forms of martial arts – with the emphasis of fighting as an “art”. Which is one of the reasons why the largest and most organized professional martial arts tournaments are often held in Japan. Able to fill massive arenas and draw significant ratings on television telecasts, Japanese mixed martial arts promotions possess the financial prowess to sign the world’s top fighters. This in turn has led to rise of Pride FC, K-1 and numerous other organizations in the last 4-5 years.
Which brings me to the Japanese manga Shamo, originally a story about a juvenile delinquent who becomes a professional judo practitioner. His win-by-all-means approach contrasts sharply against the established judo masters. The comic is remarkably detailed in its portrait of the fights.
Having taken a long hiatus, the latest installments of Shamo (the Chinese translated edition) came out this summer. Following the latest trends in Japan, the protagonist has made the transition to becoming a mixed martial arts fighter. In issue 22, he begins to cross train – first learning to counter take downs and then avoid submissions. The artwork continues to be excellent.
Verdict : highly recommended to fans of mixed martial arts and fight comics in general