WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter 0 of Kengan Omega, available for free in an English translation on Comikey.
When it came to following up Kengan Ashura, the martial arts manga Kengan Omega had quite the task ahead of it. The epic series followed through a tournament arc that seemed to stretch across the entire world of martial arts, involving a plot that threatened the world itself. In kicking off a sequel, there was always going to be a challenge in making the fights and the stakes feel bigger.
Kengan Omega starts strong, introducing a new cast of characters in Chapter 0 while keeping key figures from the original series in central focus.
With the Japanese martial arts manga finally receiving an official English translation after years of building up an international fanbase, many readers around the world are likely discovering the world of Kengan for the first time. With Kengan Omega being a sequel series to its predecessor Kengan Ashura, there may be some concern for new readers worried they are jumping into a new story in a world they are unfamiliar with. However, Chapter 0 allays those concerns by providing a perfect entry point to the series.
Much of the basic setup from the original series is repeated organically in Chapter 0. The Kengan Association is an ancient collection of major movers and shakers in the world of business who settle many of their most important disputes in martial arts matches that utilize proxy fighters. The matches occur outside the realm of the public eye but have a major influence in the world of global politics. As heady as the concept seems, however, the franchise maintains its roots in first and foremost providing heart-pumping action and cool hand-to-hand fight scenes.
Omega kicks off with that same tradition, introducing a new fighter to the series. Narushima Koga, an up-and-comer in the world of martial arts, shows so little restraint in his matches that he's likely to be disbarred from officially fighting any longer. This is of little concern to Koga, who turns to his web-savvy friend in order to track down underground martial arts tournaments that he's sure exist somewhere on the dark web. His friend uncovers scant rumors of the Kengan matches that are so unbelievable, the friend dismisses them offhand.
However, Koga becomes more determined than ever, fixating on one image in particular as his focus: Tokita Ohma. Serving as the closest thing Ashura had to a protagonist in the previous series, Ohma was the nigh-peerless fighter who very nearly won the previous tournament. He utilized a unique set of skills known as the Niko style that very few have ever mastered, but which pushed his body to such a great extreme that he died at the end of the series.
Determined to test his own skills, Koga sets out to uncover the Kengan Association's matches. With the first spat of chapters freely available online, readers of the English translation are free to follow along to see if Koga's journey is successful in subsequent stories.