Have you ever wondered what would happen if you pit two psychopaths against each other? Their swords clash constantly and their wits, or lack thereof, forcing them to a mere stalemate. A stalemate to which they form a bond in order to kill Blackbeard the king of crabs! What? Blackbeard the king of crabs? Yeah I’ll get to him in a tiny bit, but Burning Hell is filled with these nonsensical moments. It is funny how this series got canned after only four chapters, but let’s look at this in a positive light. We have received an incomplete mess of logic that makes for some fantastical entertainment even if for a short while.
Burning Hell, as it is aptly put, is the story of a sociopathic doctor who limelights as a serial killer and a cannibalistic psychopath with insane physical strength. Kim Han, the doctor, is Korean and Juu, the cannibal, is Japanese. This creates an interesting dynamic between the two since they have no idea what the other says, until somehow they do. Yeah more glossed over than anything is the language barrier. It just sort of happens and that is merely the start of this weird assault on the senses. These two are secluded on this island for criminals and after a year of waiting found a European pirate ship arrive on their shore.
This premise, and pretty much all the story the manga has, is just outrageous. It is completely action heavy and it shows. Almost every panel is dedicated to an action sequence and it almost shines because of that. The artwork is really nice and the character designs are stereotypical for both characters, but they are interesting characters to begin with. The designs sell the wild child that is Juu and the calm but chilling mystique that is Kim. That being said, the artwork is about all you can praise as this story is too much for words.
I almost forgot about Blackbeard the king of crabs for a second! The captain of the European pirates, McMahon, is what makes this manga far too weird for words. He is using black magic, called Roar, to make himself into a superhuman crab type thing. Coincidence is the key word as they land on the same island these two psychopaths are on. This plot point is just an icing on top of a crazy cake as even in this opening the enormous amounts of exposition dumping from this guy is huge. That is not to say the rest of the dialogue is good either, it mostly is just a mess of awkward one-liners. Juu is the biggest offender as his lines sound more like a pirate’s than the actual pirates! Drinking someone’s bones hardy is just awkward speech! Nobody talks like that, but it makes this crazy story even more entertaining. It is over the top and embraces that in every moment, creating an insanely entertaining trip.
To start off samurai month with this insane start of a series that will never be completed is just horrid. Going off the actual content of this manga, it isn’t good. It is almost painful how we could have gotten something interestingly bad, but we’re left with two interesting characterizations that go nowhere. There is an inkling into the past of Han with the introduction of a new character and this European black magic called “Roar”, but those elements felt like side notes in comparison to the action that takes foreground. Roar? Really they couldn’t think of something more creative? It’s black magic for crying out loud! Go crazy! That is beside the point though, this is not worth the time to read four chapters unless you want to scratch that insane action itch. Burning Hell could have been a crazy ride if continued, but ends up as just a beautifully drawn mess of a stupidly entertaining action manga.