Ten years ago there was a cataclysmic event which became known as The Great Destruction. So widespread was the damage that Japan could no longer manage its own resources and fell under the control of United Nations. Coupled with The Great Destruction was the appearance of the first of The Orders.
Orders are humans granted magical powers because of wishes they made, usually under moments of great duress. The powers of The Orders vary in size and scope, with the most powerful of them being able to negate the natural order and physical law at will. The danger Orders pose causes them to be hated and feared by society at large—not unfairly, given the danger caused by the Orders who abused their powers in the past.
Slacker student Eiji Hoshimiya is an Order, but he keeps his power secret for another reason. Eiji’s childhood wish, to be just like his favorite anime character, somehow caused The Great Destruction. Worse yet, it crippled his step-sister, Sena, the only person he truly cares about.
So it was that Eiji swore never to use his Order powers, at least not until he was attacked by Rin Kunrenari, an Order with healing and regeneration powers that manifested in The Great Destruction upon the death of her parents. It was then that Eiji discovered his true power—to physically control anything within his “domain”—and his life became even more complicated.
Big Order is an interesting spin on the superhero genre, which invites comparisons to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards novels. Both series offer realistic takes upon the question of what would our world be like if people suddenly did start manifesting super powers. Big Order’s take is unusually bleak, however, starting with the dangers of an idle wish made by an excited child and escalating from there.
One can also draw comparisons to Deathnote, in that Eiji (in this first volume, at least) is a largely sympathetic protagonist who tries to use a dark power for noble purposes, much like Light Yagami. But the possibility for corruption is there from the beginning, and the story is not shy about exploring the potential for how the powers of The Orders can be used in disturbing fashions. Rin, for instance, attempts to turn herself into a suicide bomber to take out Eiji, knowing that her power makes her effectively immortal, not caring at all that innocent people might be hurt in the process.
The artwork is skillful, but not outstanding. Sakae Esuno gives each character a distinctive and memorable look, but there is little in their style to differentiate itself from the vast majority of action manga art. The action sequences are all well-blocked and flow naturally between panels, but the presentation is competent rather than noteworthy. However, the strength of the writing and concept make up for this.
Big Order is rightly rated M for audiences 18 and older. While there’s surprisingly little in the way of bloodshed or severed hands in this volume, the subject matter discussed does demand a more mature perspective than the average teenager is likely to possess. Throw in a spattering of curse words and a ton of fan service in the form of busty blonde “Rock Goddess” Kagekiyo (a.k.a “g-string girl,” as Rin calls her) before capping off the issue with a gratuitous bath house scene and you have a book that earns its M rating.
Big Order, vol. 1
by Sakae Esuno
Yen Press, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: M (18+)