Hoshin Engi Volume One is a manga by Ryu Fujisaki, and it was published by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.
The story presented in Hoshin Engi is based on the classic Chinese fantasy novel, The Creation of the Gods, which was written by Xu Zonglin. This telling of the story takes place in China during the Yin dynasty, which was ruled by a good king named Chu. Unfortunately, Chu was taken in by a temptation jutsu cast by Dakki, a beautiful and evil sennin. Through Dakki’s manipulation, the country has fallen into disarray, and the people live in poverty.
The main character of Hoshin Engi is Taikobo, a young man who was taken in as a disciple in the sennin world after the rest of his family was killed through actions ordered by Dakki. Taikobo has the title of “doshi,” which means he is still in training. Unfortunately, the great sennin are not happy with how Taikobo has been training, so he is sent on a special session.
Taikobo is placed in charge of The Hoshin Project, where he must defeat the sennin causing trouble in the mortal world; he needs to send them to a new dimension and seal them there. He is given a scroll with a list of 365 sennin who must be sealed away. The story follows Taikobo and the adventures he has as he’s looking for the sennin he needs to defeat in order to complete the project.
While Hoshin Engi is based on a Chinese novel and Chinese history, I did also catch at least one reference to Western history early on in this volume. Near the beginning, there is an exchange between Dakki and one the king’s men that made me think of Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. In addition to history, Hoshin Engi also has plenty of action to keep fans of the shonen genre interested in what’s going on.
I really like how Taikobo, the main character, is a source of comedy in addition to being the hero. Part of the humor comes from the fact that Taikobo keeps tricking the audience into thinking he’s not thinking his plans through when in reality, he is.
My 14-year-old daughter tried reading this manga volume, but gave up about halfway through. I think for her, it was a combination of two things: the fact that she’s not a big fan of shonen along with not having much of an understanding of the history that the story is based on. However, I think that if you’re a fan of shonen manga, the lack of historical knowledge isn’t going to be as much of a hindrance.