Review: Helck, Volume 1

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Helck first caught my eye in February of this year when the anime announcement was made public. The fantasy manga ended in 2017 and was never licensed in English (until now), but it still managed to cultivate fandom overseas. The first volume will soon be out in English for the first time, and here is what you can expect from it.

The story is set in the Demon Realm, where demons have come together to elect a new leader after the previous Demon Lord was killed by a human hero. Vermilio, one of the Four Heavenly Imperial Rulers, comes to oversee the tournament and is surprised to see a single person absolutely killing it in every stage. His name is Helck and he is perfect in every way, except for one small thing… He is a human. Vermilio decides he can’t be trusted and tries to sabotage him. However, Helck manages to overcome all her traps without difficulty. As the tournament carries on, the number of participants dwindles. Soon, terrible news reaches Vermilio and it seems like the demon race will be forced to fight against a new mysterious enemy. Can Helck help? Whose side is he really on and what dark secret is he hiding?

I am honestly surprised that Helck didn’t get licensed or adapted sooner: the story has a lot of tropes that we’ve seen in many fantasy and isekai series that came after it. It perfectly balances the humor and the silly moments with the serious undertones which will probably become more prominent as the story continues. Characters are loveable, even when they are not doing the right thing and based on the first volume it’s easy to see that they will get more in-depth backgrounds as time goes on.

What struck me as funny is that we know nearly nothing about the titular character – Helck. This is one of the main selling points of this story: I really, really want to know what happened to him, because they do mention he did something pretty bad (not going into details to avoid spoilers). The few chapters in the volume only served as an introduction, but they were enough to hook me in as a reader.

Nanao Nanaki’s art is overall very pleasant and judging from online reviews it gets better much better as the story goes on. A sneak peek of it is available in the official manga trailer:

Anime Corner received a review copy of Viz Media’s release of the Helck manga for review purposes.

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