Archlord Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 232
  • ISBN: 1-59816-967-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right
  • Series: Archlord

Archlord Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     April 06, 2007
Release Date: February 28, 2007

Archlord Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Jin-Hwan Park
Translated by:Jennifer Hahm
Adapted by:Nathan Johnson

What They Say

In this classic tale of a hero who must fulfill his destiny, a father takes his newborn son on a journey to be named. But when fortune and loyalty give way to betrayal and greed, it's up to an unlikely champion and one remarkable sword to restore honor and balance to the land!

Based on the Hit Video Game!

The Review
Good artwork battles against a story that isn't quite sure if it wants to be a drama or comedy.

The front cover has Zian, the protaganist, wearing a full suit of armor and wielding a sword, with the sorceress Arin standing behind him. The cover is made more appealing with the purple and white swirls in the background, which does a good job of mimicking a partly cloudy sky. The back cover has a synopsis and an imposing battle scarred Zian standing on a broken battlefield against a sunset. I have become quite happy with the quality of TOKYOPOP's printing over the last year. Every book I have picked up has had solid blacks and clean pages from start to finish, and Archlord keeps up that quality with the exception of one or two pages with a slight amount of smudging.

There is a three-page comic about the author and the release of this book along with a synopsis of the next volume. The story in this first volume of Archlord is actually 190 pages and then TOKYOPOP added a large preview of both the first volume of Battle Vixens and another 'Choose Your Own Weapon' title, Phantom

Park draws some impressive monsters and his human characters are quite appealing. All the characters are very proportional and their clothing is a good match for the Archlord world, especially cool are the suits of armor. And I can't ignore Arin's incredibly sexy leather thigh highs, Grawrrr. Backgrounds are mostly forested scenes or dungeons, but well rendered. Fight scenes rely heavily on speed lines, which doesn't bother me. However, in some of the fight scenes, I found it difficult to follow what was happening from panel to panel. This is the only real weakness I found in Park's art style.

The translation/adaptation for this book reads well and does a good job keeping the theme of a 'feudal Europe' based world together. So happily, I didn't have to cringe at modern day language in a world of sword and sorcery. No translations for the SFX.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Based on a video game, Archlord is a world full of swords, magic, goblins, orcs, wyverns and noums. Yes, noums, or gnomes for us English speaking fantasy fans. This volume starts with a rather unnecessary history of the world, just too much exposition. Once the story gets going we find Sir Leon, wielder of the magical sword Brumhart, begin a journey with his baby son and second-in-command Ernan. Sir Leon's son is finally old enough to attend his naming ceremony, but unfortunately betrayal is in the air.

Desperate to gain Brumhart's power and Sir Leon's title, Ernan betrays his lord by sending a group of thugs to attack them. Sir Leon eventually loses the battle, his sword, and his son. But Ernan discovers the hard way that only one of Sir Leon's bloodline can draw Brumhart from its sheath.

Sixteen years later, the young and attractive sorceress Arin enters the forest to seek out Father Kenneth and his help in dealing with the now 'Sir' Ernan. Along the way, she stumbles into Zian, the half-orc Ugdrasil, and a heavily comedic tone. For all the seriousness of this tale, a small amount of SD and a lot of goofball antihero antics ensue whenever Zian is involved. For as much of dork Zian seems to be, Ugdrasil and Arin both hint at having some depth to their characters. Arin is not only interesting because of her leather thigh highs, but also because of her personality. She puts up a very lady-like exterior, but Zian always finds away to shatter the front she puts up, usually with a humorous outburst on her part. Then the ass-kicking Father Kenneth eventually makes his appearance but refuses to help Arin in any way other than telling her to seek out the prophet Berouze in a place called Elka.

But wait, what about the noums? Sir Ernan decides to pay the noums a visit since they crafted the sheath that binds the sword Brumhart. The noum chief doesn't want to cooperate, but he also doesn't want to watch his people slaughtered so he takes Sir Ernan deep into the noum volcano to let the soul of Brumhart's original owner decide how to deal with Sir Ernan. There are a couple of ways this could work out and I'm not going to tell you what happens, but let's just say it surprised me.

'Based on the Hit Video Game!' Yes, you have my permission to cringe. No, this story isn't that bad, it's actually mildly interesting once you get past the horribly unnecessary text-heavy prologue and the dramatic first half of the story. Both the first and second half of this book aren't bad by themselves, but together they contrast each other too much. I felt reading half a seriously dramatic book that switches to a heavily comedic second half to be rather jarring. Give me one or the other. However, by the time I reached the end of this volume I found myself enjoying Zian's half-assed attempt at being a hero. It's a nice contrast between the cowardly antihero and the morally inept antihero.

I am unfamiliar with the game this book is based on, so I cannot comment on how similar the two are. However, the art in Archlord is good and despite my complaint of the rough start for this series, I'll probably still pick up volume two so I can see what the evil Sir Ernan's next move will be. I'm also curious to see how, and if, Zian changes from a smartass goofball to a magical sword wielding hero.


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