Chained Soldier Review

chained soldier review

Chained Soldier: A Fantasy Manga With Demons, Ecchi, and a Relatable Teen Hero

Introduction

Chained Soldier is a popular new fantasy manga and anime series created by mangaka Takahiro and illustrator Yohei Takemura. The story follows Yuuki, a Japanese high school student who is suddenly transported to another world resembling medieval Europe. This fantasy realm is filled with magic, monsters, and warring human kingdoms. Yuuki finds himself forcibly recruited into the Demon Defense Force, an elite military unit tasked with defending humanity against demon hordes.

Despite having no combat experience or special abilities, Yuuki is given magical chains that grant him extraordinary strength and fighting skills. However, he remains bound by the chains as a slave soldier who must follow orders, earning him the nickname “Chained Soldier.” The premise combines action, adventure, and ecchi elements as Yuuki navigates this strange new world of danger and demonstrations while seeking a way back home.

The manga began serialization in Monthly Shonen Jump magazine in 2019 and has been collected into 5 tankobon volumes so far. An anime TV adaptation by studio Lerche premiered in 2022 and covered the first major story arc.

chained soldier review

Story and Worldbuilding

Chained Soldier takes place in an intricate fantasy world where portals to a demon realm open unpredictably. This creates an interesting backdrop as the protagonist Yuuki joins an elite Demon Defense Force tasked with closing the portals and defeating any demons that make it through. The manga provides plenty of rich lore and worldbuilding details about the history of the portals, different clans and kingdoms, and the abilities of the demon fighters.

There are hints of a deeper mystery behind the demon incursions that Yuuki may uncover as the story progresses. For now, the focus is on introducing the variety of imaginative demons he faces such as serpentine Drakolings or brutish Ogron. The worldbuilding extends to the diverse weapons and fighting styles employed by the Demon Defense Force, like Yuuki’s chained sickle or the marksmanship of his comrade Miria.

Fans on Reddit have praised the creative worldbuilding, with one user writing: “The fantasy elements are fresh and immersive – I’m hooked on the premise” (source). There’s a lot of potential for the story to further explore this rich setting and history of the world.

Main Character

Yuuki Wakura is the main protagonist of Chained Soldier. Originally an ordinary high school boy, he gets summoned to a fantasy world to join their Demon Defense Force. Yuuki is a relatable character who enjoys cleaning and takes pride in doing household chores, which is an amusing quirk. However, he needs more development beyond this initial characterization.

Yuuki’s primary motivation is trying to find a way to return back home to Japan. This drive pushes him forward through the early story arcs as he participates in battles against demons while searching for clues on how to get home. Over time, Yuuki also starts developing a sense of duty and honor as a soldier, particularly after befriending Princess Kyouka and his fellow troops.

While Yuuki exhibits courage and intelligence, he can also be impulsive and stubborn. This leads him to make questionable choices at times, like disobeying orders from his superiors. Yuuki’s character arc appears to be headed towards increased maturity and leadership as he comes to terms with his role and new responsibilities.

Overall, Yuuki is a normal teen thrown into extraordinary circumstances, struggling to adapt. He has the foundations to be a compelling protagonist but needs more growth and depth as the story progresses (Source). The early chapters establish his good heart and potential for heroism.

Supporting Characters

Chained Soldier has a cast of supporting characters that add color and interest to the story beyond just the main protagonist Yuuki. Some of the key supporting characters include:

The princess Himari is a classic damsel in distress that Yuuki vows to protect. While at first she seems like just an archetypal princess character, later chapters hint at hidden depths and a connection to Yuuki’s past life. Their blossoming romance adds complication and stakes to Yuuki’s battles (Characters/Chained Soldier – TVTropes).

Yuuki’s fellow soldiers in the Demon Defense Force like Shushu Suruga provide comic relief and camaraderie. Though their motivations are simple, their bonds of loyalty help ground the story. The commanding officers like Kyouka Uzen serve as mentor figures, guiding Yuuki on his journey (Characters – Mato Seihei no Slave – MyAnimeList.net).

While none of the supporting characters stand out as particularly unique yet, they fulfill their narrative roles adequately. There’s room for development as the story progresses that could add more depth to the supporting cast.

Early Story Arcs

In the first few volumes of the manga, Yuuki joins the Demon Defense Force and begins going on missions to fight back invading demons. The initial story arcs focus on Yuuki getting used to his new surroundings and companions in this fantasy world.

One of the first major storylines involves Yuuki and the Demon Defense Force responding to a demon attack on a village (Chained Soldier, Chapter 3). This shows Yuuki’s inexperience in battle as he struggles to keep up with his new teammates. However, he eventually helps turn the tide against the demons using his modern world knowledge.

Another early arc centers around Yuuki and Kyoka investigating an abandoned mine that has been taken over by spider demons (Chained Soldier, Chapter 5-7). This allows Yuuki to learn more about Kyoka’s backstory, while also highlighting the discrimination she faces as a half-demon.

These early adventures establish the demon threat and Yuuki’s desire to prove himself. They also showcase the interesting abilities of Yuuki’s teammates in the Demon Defense Force. Overall, the initial story arcs lay the foundation for Yuuki’s growth while providing exciting fantasy action.

Artwork

Chained Soldier stands out with its stylish and energetic artwork. The character designs are very appealing, with cute facial features for Yuuki and elegant dresses for Princess Rona. The demons also have inventive designs, like the minotaur and harpy enemies. Fight scenes are a highlight, with sweeping movements and impactful blows. The use of vibrant color adds to the sense of fantasy adventure. As one review notes, “The art is very good. The character designs are cute and the facial expressions are emotive and dynamic. The battle scenes are also well drawn and exciting” (Source). While there is a fair amount of fan service with revealing outfits and suggestive angles on female characters, it does not detract too much from the overall aesthetic. The backgrounds are beautifully detailed, from the royal palace to dank caves. Overall, the visuals in Chained Soldier do justice to the exciting story.

Pacing and Progression

One of the weaknesses of Chained Soldier so far is the uneven pacing and occasional overly long exposition dumps that disrupt the flow of the story. There are times when the manga spends several chapters on drawn-out explanatory backstory or character interactions that slow the momentum down too much. As one review on MyAnimeList notes, at certain points “the plot is just thrown away” in favor of excessive dialogue or flashbacks.

The beginning of the story in particular features lengthy sections of Yuuki learning about the new fantasy world he’s transported to, which are logically necessary but make the early chapters drag. The manga could benefit from tighter editing to trim unnecessary pages and streamline the flow. Once the demon battles ramp up, the pacing improves, but Chained Soldier continues to suffer from periodic lulls up through the current volumes. While adequate world-building and character development are important, the series would be stronger with better momentum and progression overall.

Fan Service

Chained Soldier contains frequent fan service, which is not uncommon for manga and anime series aimed at a male demographic. However, it is not so gratuitous as to be overly distracting from the story and action. As one Reddit commenter notes, “Its literally built into the story that MC gets a ecchi fanservice moment reward when hes used in action sequences” (Source). So while fan service scenes occur often when the main character Yuuki uses his powers, they do connect back to the overall narrative.

Reviews on MyAnimeList observe that despite some of the ecchi elements, Chained Soldier is “Definitely Not a fanservice type of manga” and more focused on fantasy action (Source). The fan service does not detract too much from the vibrant world-building and energetic battle sequences that define the series’ strengths.

Overall, the fan service, while at times gratuitous, is not so excessive that it takes away from the appeal of the series for most readers. It strikes a balance that will satisfy those drawn to that element while still emphasizing the strong adventure storytelling that hooks most fans.

Comparison to Other Series

Chained Soldier has some similarities to other popular fantasy manga and anime series like Black Clover, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, and more.

Like Black Clover, Chained Soldier features a male protagonist with special powers who joins an army/defense force and battles demonic enemies. However, Yuuki in Chained Soldier is transported to the fantasy world, whereas Asta in Black Clover was born there. Additionally, Asta utilizes anti-magic while Yuuki relies more on standard fantasy abilities.

Compared to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, both series involve the protagonist being transported to another world. However, the tone and plot progression differ quite a bit, with Slime focusing more on nation-building compared to the military action of Chained Soldier.

Overall, while Chained Soldier shares some familiar high-level elements with other isekai and fantasy shonen series, it also has a distinct premise and approach to storytelling. The heavy focus on ecchi/fanservice also sets it apart from many of its peers.

Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand this section further.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Chained Soldier shows promising early potential but has some flaws in the opening volumes. The fantasy worldbuilding is strong with an interesting premise of demons to battle, though the pacing and progression could be tighter at times. The ecchi elements are frequent but generally not too distracting. While the main character Yuuki is relatable so far, he and some of the supporting cast need more development and depth. The action sequences and artwork showcase the talent of the manga artist.

Overall, Chained Soldier should appeal to fantasy manga and anime fans, especially those who enjoy overpowered main characters and harem elements. It may not yet rival the greatness of classics like Berserk, but the series could grow into an epic fantasy tale if the storytelling continues to mature. Readers who stick with it may find it becomes a hugely entertaining and memorable saga. For now, it’s recommended for fans of the genre willing to forgive some imperfections, with the potential that Chained Soldier could join the upper echelon of fantasy manga.

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