REVIEW: Versus Fighting Story Vol 1 (2021)

A Graphic Novel Izu, Madd, & Kalon

I’m not going to lie, I’m not really into E-Sports in any way, and to avoid sounding like an old out-of-touch man, I don’t quite “get it”. That said, I am willing to give Ablaze a shot since they always put out quality material, and this looked interesting at least. Versus Fighting Story follows a lot of tropes that have previously been used for sports manga, which is fitting seeing that this is an extension of that to a degree. You have a hot-headed, overly arrogant star player that loses everything due to laziness, and his attempted reclamation of his lost spot. Even Pixar’s Cars has a similar general plot – it’s tried and true and works for this sort of story quite well. I was happy to see that the art-style used in this was a throw-back to older anime and manga, a style I generally prefer over modern stuff – all-in-all presentation-wise this was solid.

“Max Volta, leader of a team of professional players, launches an assault on the Capcom Pro Tour, one of the major international competitions for Street Fighter V. Everything does not happen as expected for the arrogant and overconfident Max… even after being named top pick to win the tournament, he suffers a crushing defeat. Max takes it out on his friends, which leads to his sponsors pulling out. He is afraid his career is over. But then the mysterious Inés offers to return to the basics of “VS fighting” and put together a team capable of beating the Japanese god of fighting games…and which will cause a storm in the world of professional gaming.”

Max starts out in the story as a fairly unlikeable character, I’m not sure if he fully gets his redemption in this volume as he just seems slightly less conceited than before. Then again, this is more of a comedy/action manga than a drama, so I’m not expecting it to really bare it’s soul or anything. If you are a fan of E-sports, or the history of fighting games, this is a solid manga with a competent story and great artwork. I’m not super interested in the story, but even then, I found it’s merits and would welcome reading more of it if the situation presents itself. I know of plenty of people in the fighting game scene that would love this, perhaps I should recommend it to them?

NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.

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