If you’re a fan of shonen manga then you’ll no doubt be familiar with mangaka Hiro Mashima, the creator behind Rave Master; Fairy Tail; and on-going Eden’s Zero. If you are a fan of more than one of Mashima’s series then perhaps you’ve wondered what would happen if the stories were to crossover…? Well, that’s actually what happens in single volume Mashima Hero’s, which I’m here to take a look at today.
The story begins with Natsu, Lucy, Erza, Happy and Gray from Fairy Tail enjoying a break on True Island. While the rest of the group are sunbathing, Natsu finds himself bored and wanders off in search of some delicious smelling fruit. While hunting it down ,our hero runs into a boy with the ability to manipulate gravity who calls himself Shiki (the protagonist of Eden’s Zero) and his companion Rebecca.
Shiki reveals that he and Rebecca have come to the island looking for their friend Homura who went missing while searching for something on the island known as “Oasis”. Never one to turn down those in need, Natsu readily agrees to help in the search. Little do they know that they’re about to become caught up in a fierce battle over the Oasis…
Elsewhere on the island, Haru, Elie and Hamrio from Rave Master are hunting for the Oasis, intending to destroy it. What they’re truly seeking is a power wielded by the Master of Creation who is in charge of the island and can make anything reality with his powers. Haru is worried that the creator will be corrupted by the “Dark Bring” stone that gifts him his power and wishes only to destroy it, but naturally, that’s easier said than done when you’re in a shonen series!
Across this 10-chapter book, it’s a true joy to watch Mashima’s cast interact with one another. Although only the main group of each series make it into the story, there are plenty of nods back to the extended cast of all three, which will be a welcome addition to fans of these worlds. It’s also refreshing how self-aware Mashima’s dialogue is, with various references to how similar a lot of these characters look to one another.
What’s also nice is that there is a valid reason in the story for all of these characters to come together. It doesn’t feel as forced as a lot of crossovers do and Mashima has obviously put a lot of thought into making it work. If you scrutinise it enough then there are surely places where it doesn’t quite make sense, but I feel Mashima Hero’s is best enjoyed without worrying about the bigger picture too much.
Before reading the book, I was worried that if you weren’t familiar with all of Mashima’s series then you wouldn’t be able to enjoy Mashima Hero’s, but that turned out not to be the case. I have only read Fairy Tail and Eden’s Zero but it only took a chapter for me to warm up to the Rave Master cast and ultimately if you like any of the creator’s works, you’ll be just fine reading this collection.
In a lot of ways, this really is the best of Hiro Mashima. From the first page, his quirky humour is in full swing and it’s clear the mangaka has no intentions of hiding his love for his characters – nor his tendency to have them in very few clothes, I must add! If you’re familiar with his work, then you certainly know what to expect, but if you’re a newcomer, then this is certainly going to be a confusing and perhaps overwhelming read.
Mashima Hero’s comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and has been translated by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley. The translation reads well with no issues and seems to be consistent in terminology to each respective series featured. This manga was created as a one-off to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Weekly Shonen Magazine, but Mashima does comment in his afterward that he’d like to create a sequel someday, so maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see more!
Overall, Mashima Hero’s is an entertaining crossover that captures the best of Fairy Tail, Rave Master and Eden’s Zero. It’s certainly not perfect but the impressive fight scenes and fanservice go hand-in-hand to deliver a truly delightful tribute to these franchises we all love so very much. A must-own for Mashima fans!
Read a free extract at the publisher’s website here