I told you I’d get round to Volume 3 quickly! Admittedly I also read it quickly given again it’s only five chapters and very little in the way of dialogue. Does that make it a bad thing? No, but again only if you’re a fan of the KOF franchise, perhaps even more in this volume as it makes mention of the NESTS organisation from KOF 99-01. Interested? Then read on!
The first round match between Team Art of Fighting and Team China resumes with Rounds 2 and 3, but will it be a clean sweep for AOF, or will China pull off an upset?
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
I always liked Robert’s design, it’s a shame he’s mostly treated as a comedy character, even if the story normally also enforces his strength…
This volume actually follows the exact same pattern as the previous one: we get two chapters of fighting, an interlude chapter, and then two more chapters of fighting. The first part is the remaining two rounds of the Art of Fighting v Team China match up, starting with Robert Garcia facing off against the wise old master Tung Fu Rue. There is a strong Dragon Ball vibe with this fight, and not just because Tung looks like Master Roshi, it feels very similar to both when the aforementioned Roshi faced Yamcha, and later when Kami faced Yamcha in World Tournaments, both gave him a chance to show his stuff before eliminating him. This plays a bit more like when Kami faced him as Robert isn’t treated like a joke and actually managed to cut Tung open with a kick, before being eliminated by an admittedly Master Roshi-esque pumping up his body to massive size technique (though admittedly Tung creates a larger body out of pure chi, rather than actually increasing himself in size.)
Round 3 is pure comedy as Yuri Sakazaki faces off with Meitenkun from Team China. The latter does his sleeping-while-fighting thing while Yuri shows off her ability to mimic other people’s techniques purely by watching them, but isn’t actually strong enough to do them well and soon loses to the unlikely power of Meitenkun. This means that despite Shun’ei’s loss last Volume, Team China goes through to the next round (again, obviously given Shun’ei is the new lead in this arc!)
That camo must be a pain in the arse to draw…
The Interlude chapter this time focuses on two things: Leona from Team Ikari Warriors talking to Shun’ei about learning to control his demonic powers and knowing how hard it is (as she has Orochi power still inside her) and Team Mexico, specifically Angel and how she was once an android created by NESTS who now wishes to be free. She gets annoyed with fellow Team Mexico member Ramon naming her the “Angel of Justice” (which is fair enough as “Angel of Justice: Angel!” sounds stupid) but as our next battle between Team Ikari and Team Mexico begins, Ramon gets the crowd and people at home to chant it at her, much to her embarrassment. As this is all going on we see a secret underground NESTS building, and even flashback to the NESTS arc and their boss Igniz which is fun as KOF 00-01 on the PS2 was my introduction to the series. Anyway! They’re watching as the first round match between Leona and Angel begins…
The two are quite evenly matched, but NESTS soon activate a remote signal that turns Angel into an all-powerful, soulless killing machine and Leona is backed into a corner. She uses her Orochi Power with full control to pull the fight back (which perks Shun’ei’s interest as he watches from his hotel) until the other two members of Ikari Warriors, Ralph and Clark, along with Ramon find and disable to remote signal device. Angel loses but is excited to hear the roar of the crowd, showing that maybe she has found meaning in life after NESTS (who seem undeterred by their plan being found out).
So we’re in the same situation going into Volume 4 (which isn’t out until December, so it’ll be a longer wait this time!) in that we have two rounds to go next with rather a rather obvious end result as Team Ikari are actually involved in trying to uncover a plot, and while Angel and her being tied with NESTS was a nice subplot, Team Mexico’s Ramon and “King of Dinosaurs” aren’t exactly main character worthy. It’s just a matter of whether Ikari win 3-0 or 2-1…
Wow! An untranslated panel! … because it’s getting harder to find four pictures without going to a dodgy fan-scan website…
I can pretty much copy and paste what I put in Volume 2. The only real bad is that if you’re not a fan of KOF lore or you want a series with a bit more plot and dramatic story telling then you’re out of luck. Put this seriously up against most other Manga stories and it would fail hard (apart from the artwork, which is still stunning!) but for this KOF fan, it’s a great quick read.
I love the fact that NESTS is now still a thing, especially given how the game’s story ends… (no spoilers, obviously!)
King of Fighters: A New Beginning Volume 3 continues the series’ balance of strong artwork and great fights, but if you’re not invested in the KOF series or are looking for something less artificial and with more substance then you should look elsewhere… I’m still loving it though!