|If you want a definition
of shounen style manga, Shadow Skill would certainly be
an excellent example. In the world of Shadow Skill,
everything from honor to royalty is determined through
fighting. The Sevalle class describes those rare people
who truly excel at fighting. Elle is a young woman who
became a Sevalle in her middle teens, a great
accomplishment. Only the legendary Scar Face had done
better. During her travels, Elle comes across an orphan
boy who had fierce eyes and the determination to attack
anyone who may be a threat to him. Seeing this little
boy, Elle gets the idea to form the strongest warrior
with her own hands, to see how far a human can go. Thus,
she takes him under her wing as an adoptive sister. The
boy, Gau Ban, while at first a "toy" becomes
very dear to her.
And Gau Ban does live up to becoming an amazing fighter. He even attracts the attention of Scar Face, the man who could've been king with his fight abilities, but choose otherwise. As with every shounen fighting manga, "the ultimate fighter" Scar Face is in search of a man who could actually challenge him in a fight. He recognizes that Gau could very well become that man. Helping the boy grow stronger, Scar Face helps to motivate Gau.
While I haven't seen the tv series, I know that the manga certainly adds a lot to the OAVs. One important thing: Gau kicks ass. When there is a scene in which Gau is basically fighting an army by himself, you know that Gau has gotten strong, and is growing strong all the time. The best part of the manga is learning where Gau's handle of "Black Howling" comes from. The slightly annoying aspect of the series is the artwork. It's almost too detailed, and everyone's hair is huge! It's surprising the series wasn't done in the eighties. But if you enjoy a good fighting series, this is a definite buy.
Oh, and the collection of volumes is very confusing. Apparently there are two different sets of combinations. Black Howling holds volume 1 and 2 of the original manga. Black Wing has volumes 3 and 4. Phantom Shade is the fifth or third volume depending on which set you are collecting. I highly suggest visiting the link to the left to know more.
Rating -- 6.5