Cover Image: Helck, Vol. 1

Helck, Vol. 1

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Member Reviews

A silly but fun swords and sandals epic herein a human warrior, Helck, is participating in a to-the-death tournament to be come the new lord of the demon lands. It seems like there is nothing Helck can't do - he's even a good cook - but some of the demons don't trust his motives.
Super cute character design, fun fight scenes and plenty of slapstick.

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I feel really bad giving this such a low rating, but I’ve struggled to read this singular volume for months.

The art is nice enough and there’s a lot of action but it was a bit underwhelming and it just didn’t draw me in or hold my attention. I probably should have DNF’d it but I wanted to give it a fair chance as there’s nothing offensive or triggering in the volume, it’s actually kind of dumb? Like in a good way, it’s clearly supposed to be funny and not take itself too seriously but I just struggled to keep my interest on it.

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Vermilio cannot believe that the front runner for the new Demon Lord is a human, even if Helck is a human who says he hates humans. The rest of the book questions this situation and takes us through different trials as the trials for the Demon Lord throne continues.

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Again another story that was just ok. It was slow for being a book that includes battles. It was ok, but not one that I will be continuing.

3 stars

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Helck, Volume 1 by Nanaki Nanao is a fast-paced action-packed adventure story about a human hero with an unusual goal—to become the next demon king. Naturally, his conviction draws the suspicion and ire of many demons alike, including Vermilo the Red, one of the demon empire's four elite lords. Vermillo vows to uncover Helck's true motives for chasing the throne, and her curiosity leads her and her allies down a strange path to learn more about this even stranger human who dares go against his own kind.

Helck is rich with world-building and a fun cast of characters. Although it's largely plot-driven, individual characters are given their time to shine, often, but not always in humorous vignettes. Nanaki Nanao's art is characterized by clean, dynamic lines and simple, yet striking use of halftones that separates the background from the foreground in a clear way. David Evelyn's translation is full of fun quips and each character has a distinct voice. Ace Christman's lettering blends smoothly with the art and is especially powerful in action scenes.

Story and Art by Nanaki Nanao
Translation: David Evelyn
Touch-Up Art and Lettering: Ace Christman
Design: Kam Li
Editor: Jack Carrillo Concordia

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A manga where a demon society must hold a gladiator style fight to pick their new leader. An unexpected champion competes, but they're a human?!
A hysterical first installment! I cannot wait to introduce my students to this manga. The action is incredible, and what a wild cast of characters.

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Helck is the first volume of a fantasy manga series from VIZ. It bears the name of the story's hero - who isn't the focus of this installment. The story takes place in the demon land of a world that also has an area with humans. Helck is a "hero" who hates humans and enters a competition to become the next demon lord. This creates conflict with one of the demons' Lords and leads to a humorous twist on competition/tournament arcs in manga.

This is a funny and strong start to the series, which I hope will be very good as it continues. The start is great and it puts very interesting and fresh twists on iconic manga tropes.

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I enjoyed this volume well enough. If you love a good tournament arc, then this is the manga for you. I love the concept of a human wanting to become the demon king. The fact that he actually could freaks out the higher ranking demons, and it makes for a fun competition.

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This was fine. I don't think I learned enough about any of the characters to really care about them though. Overall it was underwhelming and kind of boring. I don't think I'll be continuing this series.

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I would like to thank NetGalley and Viz Media for the chance to review this title.

We’re starting the new year with a new review, and what better story than the first volume of Nanaki Nanao’s Helck?
Our story begins with the defeat of the Demon Lord at the hands of a lone human warrior. As the humans celebrated the end of the Demon Lord’s Reign of Terror, an intense tournament gathered the most powerful fighters who hoped to become the next Demon Lord. In the list of contestants, there is an unexpected warrior named Helck, among the fighters, who not only want to be the next Demon Lord. He hates all humans, but the only problem with this is he is a human himself!

There are plenty of individuals who aren’t happy with this outcome, especially Vermilio the Red. She wants to protect demon kind and prove Helck is the enemy, even if she has to rig the competition to do it.

In terms of a first volume, this was a solid debut. It introduced the main cast with a good grasp of what they stand for (Helck included), introduced the problems of the Demon Land (which include enemies attacking from all sides, trying to take advantage of the situation), poisoned lands, and mysteries like Helck.

Honestly, I enjoyed this story. It had a certain comedic familiarity of ONE’s One Punch Man in terms of uncertainty and a great tone to the story it’s trying to tell. Packed with Action and Fantasy, it was a story that didn’t drive a definite philosophy on the reader, nor it goes on about its theme. It sticks to a great plot and develops the relationship between each character, and builds its world.

The artwork and character designs for this story are another great quality of this volume. Nanaki Nanao’s eye for detail helps the book stand out. Each panel is drawn neatly and offers a charming feel to accompany the depth of the story. This story wasn’t exactly in my interest at first glance until it was recommended by a friend to check it out. It did not disappoint.

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It was fine, but rather forgettable. I liked the art style and the humor was really funny at times. However, the plot itself just didn't grab me.

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The cover of this one caught my eye, however the art inside was not really to my liking. This may come out more refined in the final release, currently panels on the same page can look disjointed and from different genres. Interesting premise and characters, but it didn't keep me interested the way I thought it would.

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While I can usually appreciate works with this kind of fantasy setting, the specific brand of humor is not to my taste, the characters oscillate between uninteresting and unlikable, and the storytelling is stilted. The only redeeming quality i can find is as a litmus test used to recommend different flavors of Fantasy Manga or Graphic novels.

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Helck Volume One is set in a fantasy world with heroes and demons.

Helck Volume One
Written by: Nanaki Nanao
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 10, 2023

At the beginning of Volume One, it’s established that the demon lord was defeated by the humans. However, three months later, a battle is being waged in the demon realm for the fallen demon lord’s crown.

We are introduced to Vermilio the Red, a young woman who is one the demon realm’s four elite lords. She has come to serve as the supervisor for the tournament to determine the who the new demon lord will be, since the previous supervisor has been injured and is unable to fulfill his duties. Vermilio is upset to learn from her assistant, Hon, that a human hero named Helck is participating in the tournament and has been doing quite well. Helck claims he wants to destroy all humans, but Vermilio believes that this is a trick.

Much of the volume focuses on Vermilio and her attempts to sabotage Helck in order to force him out of the tournament. Let’s just say that Vermilio’s attempts end back backfiring spectacularly, and this ends up serving for much of the comedy that appears in the series. Another source for the series’ humor is Vermilio literally burning with enough rage that she starts fires when she’s angry.

Meanwhile, an observer from the demon realm wanders out into the human world and makes some surprising discoveries. Not only does she have a hard time finding any humans, she picks up on the fact that Helck is a wanted man in the human world… and that Helck’s brother was the hero who took down the demon lord. It’s also established that unknown winged attackers have attacked and taken over a castle (Castle Urum) in the demon realm.

Helck is doing great in the tournaments, and it’s not surprising that he advances on to the finals. Over the course of the volume, his fellow finalists are also established. Kenros the Godspeed puts on an act in front of the crowd when it comes to his confidence, but behind the scenes we can see that he doesn’t feel that he can measure up to Helck. They may be competitors, but Helck and Kenros seem to have become friends. Hyura the Immortal is the only female finalist in the competition, and she seems to be rather stand-offish. Dorshe the Iron Wall comes from the part of the demon realm where the castle was attacked. When the final competition is to recapture Castle Urum, Dorshe is determined to get revenge for what the winged attackers did. Vermilio disguises herself as “Anne From Operations” to accompany the group.

From the way the story progresses in Helck Volume One, it would seem as if the story is going to wrap up within a couple of volumes (since the main characters make it to Castle Urum by the end of it). However, from doing some research, it appears that Helck runs for 12 volumes. While the humor in this volume works, I just don’t know that it’s strong enough to last for 12 volumes. And if the pacing continues at the same rate that it does in Volume One, I don’t see how Nanao was able to make this concept last that long without it becoming stale.

When it comes to the art in Helck, I was impressed to see that Nanao came up with character designs that were unique and made the characters stand out from each other. Yes, this is a fantasy story with demons so Nanao had a lot more room to play with, but the demons could have been designed to look similar to each other. Thankfully, they aren’t, and this makes it easy for the reader to keep track of who is who. The use of screentone feels a little on the heavy side, but since I’m reading a digital copy of this volume, the screentone may just stand out more here than it would on printed paper.

Overall, I found Helck Volume One to be a humorous and enjoyable read. I appreciated how it took various hero and fantasy tropes and turned them on their head to help create the humor. While I thought this worked well in this volume, I’m not sure how well this will work for the story for the long term. I hope to have the opportunity to read the next volume of Helck in order to find out if it can continue to be as strong of a fantasy comedy as it is in this volume.

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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.

To conclude, if you love fantasy, comedy, action and a little bit of mystery, definitely give Helck a go. You will not regret it.

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Can a human hating human hero protect demons? In a tournament to find the next Demin King, the Humon Hero proves his strength, wisdom, care, and even ability to cook. Vermilio refuses to trust the human and tries to sabotage his victories.

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Three month after a demon lord is slain, a tournament is being held to replace him. Vermilo the Red arrives to replace the injured Azudra as supervisor of said tournament. She is appalled to find that one of the contestants is a human hero named Helck. She is very suspicious of his motives and tries all sorts of schemes to get him out of the tournament. But then word comes of winged beings taking over another demon lord's castle, she has an idea - have the finalist take back the castle and whoever takes out the leader becomes the next demon lord? To be sure that she know what happens, she will have to accompany them, but hey, sacrifices must be made. Now the question is will the group survive the trip? And more importantly, will they win? The answer to these question can be found by reading this tome! Enjoy!

Thanks Netgalley for the opportunity to read this volume!

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What if the best contender for the demon throne was human? That's the question this action comedy asks, and it's a fun one. Helck himself is by all appearances a muscle-bound do-gooder with ludicrous skills, and the overall air of wackiness really works. It's good dumb fun, and that's something that there sometimes just isn't enough of.

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This has been getting a lot of advanced hype, so I was eager to try it. Unfortunately, it felt really bland. At the same time, it's goofy/semi-satirical humor failed to hit on any level for me, so I wont' be picking up further volumes.

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This volume was such a fun read. I had never heard of this series before seeing it announced for English release and fans excited in the comments. This has such a great blend of action and comedy moments through out. Definitely looking forward to the next volume as well as the eventual anime.

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