‘Cyborg Roggy’. I’ll let you soak in that name for a moment. Does that sound like a good manga to you? Does it sound like a manga on the level of all time greats such as One Piece, Naruto or Dragon Ball? I don’t know what it is but something about the name Cyborg Roggy makes me think it is destined for cancellation. Maybe because it is a terrible name that looks bad, sounds bad and is just plain silly to say out loud. Poor Roggy, we hardly knew thee.
Set in a world where everyone started to transform themselves into cyborgs one day, Cyborg Roggy is a new Shonen Jump manga from newcomer Yu Miki. Now while I opened this article with some rather damning statements against Cyborg Roggy and its potential future as an ongoing serialized manga, I must give credit where it is due. Cyborg Roggy is unlike any other manga I have ever read in Shonen Jump, heck it is unique in the manga genre as a whole. It feels distinct and although the setting could easily fall into a Ghost in the Shell style rip off, it comes off more mafioso than it does cyperpunk. While it does feel unique, it is in that concept where Cyborg Roggy utterly falls apart.
We begin the first chapter following a character known as Dog. He appears to be our protagonist, down on his luck and just plain shitty at everything he does in life, including being a thug for a local gang. Soon enough he runs into title character and apparent cyborg, Roggy. After things go south with Dog’s gang turning on him and setting out to end his miserable life, Roggy decides to step in and completely demolish them because of a promise to a young girl. Let me just cut things off here, because I need to express something quite frustrating about Cyborg Roggy. Every character is simply crock.
Dog is your stereotypical loser protagonist who will one day find some kind of power within himself, likely after becoming a cyborg as well I’d presume. The entire gang he works for are inherently villainous and seem to be evil just because this chapter needs someone for Roggy to beat up. That brings me to Roggy, a character so thoroughly entrenched in an amateur author’s attempts at writing a ‘badass’ character that he comes across as an absolute sideshow clown rather than an ass kicking cyborg hero as he is clearly intended to be. To make matters worse he has a lame as all hell character quirk that he is self conscious of his ‘asian eyes’. Bottom of the barrel stuff folks.
To make matters worse, the artwork is sloppy at best, illegible at its worst. Nearly all action sequences in this first chapter are impossible to follow and lack even a modicum of panel flow. Manga art at its best can portray a sense of motion akin to live-action with only still images. Cyborg Roggy is clearly amateur hour for Shonen Jump and the panel flow and weak character designs are enough evidence that this is the work of a newbie mangaka. I’d say give Yu Miki another couple years and he may produce a manga worth reading. But right now Cyborg Roggy is a monument to bad shonen manga.
Ultimately I am left feeling that Cyborg Roggy will be the first of the latest line-up of new shonen series to be cancelled. If this somehow goes on to be a success I’ll eat my hat. Now while it is rather unique with its cyborg yakuza style setting it is weak plotting, awful characterization, a clear lack of direction and conflicting themes that will send ole’ Rog straight to the bog. In the end Cyborg Roggy is a manga made up of a lot of different distinctive elements as any good manga should be. However there are certain things in life that just don’t go together and unfortunately for Cyborg Roggy’s many elements, it’s all of them. File this one under: ‘Not this time, please try again’.