DICK FIGHT ISLAND (VOL.1)
**CONTENT WARNING: Review talks about penises, like, a lot. And sometimes makes jokes about the sexual content in the manga. Parental discretion is advised.
Creator: Reibun Ike (@i_reibun)
Publisher: SuBLime (@SuBLimeManga)
WHAT IS IT?
An ancient tournament calls forth fighters to compete for the coveted chance to rule their homeland in a highly unconventional manner. A mature battle manga rife with action, romance, and elaborate codpieces.
Think Mortal Kombat meets Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball (with a…different sort of ball).
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Sun’s out, buns out (literally!) as Harto returns home to the untarnished island paradise known as Pulau Yang Indah, a beautiful archipelago where pants are optional and time-honored traditions are sacred. After spending years away at a foreign university, Harto steps forth to represent his clan with newly attained knowledge and skills that can only be learned during long nights of collegiate activities.
The Great Wyrm Tournament is a test of willpower unlike any other. Chosen warriors from each of the eight clans must battle in literal head-to-head combat to prove their worth in the arena. The winner is given the chance to be crowned king for the next four years and help keep the peace and further the betterment of their homeland. Victory is claimed by a single rule – whoever comes first loses! The climax of a fight takes on a whole new meaning in this weirdly wonderful boys’ love title!
Ike has created a truly unique and wild romcom-meets-battle manga experience. There’s a surprising amount of world-building and thought put into the narrative (clan histories, island lore, etc.). She balances out the humor and action with romance, sex, and a sense of tradition that feels (strangely) plausible for the world she’s created.
When dealing with a storyline as heavily steeped in motion as Dick Fight Island, a focus on anatomy and nailing poses is a necessity. Ike's illustrations showcase the speed, agility, and muscular details required to create a believable battle manga, while also highlighting the raw sexuality that the fights are centered around.
The lettering is easy to read, external narrative is clearly recognizable and set against black boxes, and character introductions are given an ancient scroll look. These small details add variety to the text and help distinguish tone and emphasis.
The sound effects are, of course, a key aspect of a manga like this. Dick Fight Island is full of jiggling booties, hot-and-heavy action, and fight-focused movements, so the diverse collection of sound effects really sells the impact of what's happening from page to page.
At its core, Dick Fight Island is a romance series, and the dynamics between the couples are believable even in their ridiculousness. Ike is a veteran of the genre, so her ability to showcase a range of relationships (from long-standing crushes to instant lust on the battlefield) makes the romance and sexuality as vibrant as the fighters’ personalities.
It’s impossible not to appreciate the humor of this series’ concept and how well executed it is. Though a bit strange at first glance, the mature comedy doesn’t take itself too seriously and logically works within the rules of the world. It leans into its nonsense with a vigor that must be applauded.
The lore and exposition is given in an excellent manner by introducing Harto’s college roommate and not-quite-lover, Matthew, into the mix. It allows the reader to get to know the finer details of the traditions and island history/culture in a way that doesn’t feel like an exposition dump, but as a natural piece within the story.
A special note must be made for the armor/costume design. With a customized style to represent each clan's specialty to the weirdly functional and dangerous codpieces and instantly iconic open-assed pants, the fashion stands out as one of the most memorable attributes of this manga.
The character introductions are literally just shots of their codpieces, which expertly shows readers exactly what they’re in for right at the start. It's brilliant.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
CW: As the tournament rule goes, "children without the right to bare their asses can't come in" (AKA it’s plastic-wrapped for a reason. Featuring strong, mostly uncensored scenes of a sexual nature, strong sexual language, excessive nudity, and heavy action-based violence).
There are a few flashbacks that aren’t clearly defined as flashbacks. It’s not entirely clear that the story has shifted, but these moments are few.
Due to the large number of characters, the focus shifts from fight to fight quickly so not every clan/chosen fighter gets an equal amount of development. The more in-depth and personal narratives are stronger in vol.2, but the main plot of vol.1 is heavily set upon Harto and the tournament at large in this introductory entry.
There are a few translation differentials between the digital version and the print version when it comes to names (i.e. in the digital version, his name is Hart and the islands are called Pulau Yong'unda, in the print, it is listed as Harto and Pulau Yang Indah). Both editions are published by SuBLime so it is unclear as to why this happened.
You get a lot of weird looks at the cash register (not speaking from personal experience, or anything).
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
As Reibun Ike herself puts it, “this is a battle manga, but also a heartwarming story.” Though the premise may be riDICKulous, Dick Fight Island is a charming and humorous romance-filled manga that stands alone in the pantheon of WTF titles. Over-the-top action, an unabashed expression of male sexuality, and a unique premise make this introductory volume memorable. It leans into its crazy concept without inhibition or taking itself too seriously.
An eye-catching title that will make your friends and family question your sanity when they look through your shelves, this surprise hit from boys’ love mega-publisher SuBLime is an unforgettable read that promises a good time every time you read it. With its beautiful island setting, elaborately designed armored codpieces, memorable characters and thrilling tournament, the men of Dick Fight Island came to lay it all bare on the battlefield.
HOW DO I READ IT?
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