Chained Soldier Vol. 1 Review – Masochistic Fantasy
Title: Chained Soldier Vol. 1
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Publisher: Yen Press
Dealing with the balance of fantasy and fanservice is challenging for most manga series. It typically ends up being extreme versions of both elements, but I’m ready for a toned-down approach. Enter Chained Soldier Vol. 1, a sci-fi action title that focuses on a unique premise and emphasizes worldbuilding.
Chained Soldier Vol. 1 introduces your typical high school student Yuuki Wakura. However, the power shift of this Earth has been altered by the emergence of mysterious gates known as Mato that appeared across Japan. These act as ways into another world full of demons that want to attack humans. Luckily, humans have a fighting chance with the discovery of Peaches, which grants females a special power. Unfortunately, this power is only available to women, so males are pushed aside to deal with various chores. It’s an interesting premise, as women now control the region, and the genders are segregated.
One day, Yuuki finds himself in Mato on accident and is about to be attacked when Kyouka Uzen saves him from the 7th Square of the Demon Defense Forse, a group of women fighters tasked with fighting against the demon threat. However, Kyouka has an extraordinary power where she can enslave a creature, but she tries it out on Yuuki, who can transform into a powerful beast at the cost of being her slave. In return, he’s gifted a reward from Kyouka, usually a kiss or other sexual act. Yea, what’d you expect?
Some of the most vital elements are the worldbuilding that explains the rules of this world at a steady pace. We get to meet other members of the 7th Square division as well, who each have their own powers and issues with Yuuki joining. I’d say this is a manga for masochists, but some interesting ideas sprinkled throughout give me hope the author will do more with this world and the idea that women hold all the power here.
While there are moments of nudity and fanservice, I think this series has been relatively tame, not focusing on the sexy scenes too much. Still, every chapter seems to feature some element of sex appeal, and Yohei Takemura’s gorgeous illustrations feed our starving eyes and give us exactly what we want. Sadly, there’s no real focus on backgrounds, so it’s difficult to tell where you are throughout the panels, but the facial animations and action encounters are incredibly detailed.
Chained Soldier Vol. 1 does a great job setting up the rules of this world. While Yuuki isn’t the most memorable protagonist, he’s interesting enough to want to follow for a few more chapters in hopes he stands out more. Right now, he’s a caretaker and an enslaved person, which I’m sure some readers are wholly down with. I don’t mind the idea of licking a boot, but I have to care more about this cast to want to stick with it.
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