YggDrasil Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Gary Thompson
Review Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Release Date: Monday, September 15, 2008

The energy stays high, but the focus...something something.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Lay Mutsuki
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Mallory Reaves

What They Say
The world of Yggdrasil is more dangerous than ever, as bugs in the system cause high-level monsters to spawn at random. Ko and his friends continue to play, though the quests are getting harder. When the company challenges the players to find the source of the glitches, Ko decides to log on his high-level character, Phantom - and accidentally discovers the identity of the mysterious songstress... Teal!

The Review!

Koki and crew decide to help Aoi learn more about Yggdrasil by taking her on her first quest. They stake out a very low-level activity that should be just right for entry-level players, but hardly any time passes before trouble shows. The same bug that has been spreading through the game where high-level monsters appear in low-level areas happens early in the quest. But something different happens this time: after defeating the monsters and achieving the quest objective, Haru and Aoi are transported to an unknown area with strange monsters; could this be a creation of the hacker who is playing as Phantom and causing all the bugs? Since the bug continues to worsen, we are introduced to Yggdrasil GMs and developers who are put in charge of fixing the problem. But no matter what they do they can't seem to make any progress. Eventually, they become desperate enough to start enlisting the help of regular Yggdrasil players, and Koki/Phantom is the first to volunteer.
As with the first volume, there is a lot of energy and fun in these pages, but they don't have the cohesion that the first does. As I expected after reading the first book, there is considerably more time spent in-game this time around, and for whatever reason, that is not Mutsuki's strong point. It's not that the story falls to pieces, it's just whenever the story goes in-game it isn't executed as well, neither visually nor narratively. Unfortunately, there isn't as much compelling character action outside of the game to help balance out the strengths and weaknesses of the plot. With the introduction of the new character and new plot threads, everything out of game gets spread pretty thin.
Unlike the first manga, which felt rushed trying to fit in a considerable amount of information, this one seems to be going nowhere fast. Many of the more charming character interactions from the previous installment are given cursory glances and are replaced with content that has very little substance. As a result, volume 2 has a particularly "bookended" feel where there are memorable sequences at the beginning and end, but little to be concerned with in between.
In Summary:
This volume has less of what I like and more of what I don't, but I still enjoy it overall. There is a good amount of energy and some fun character moments, but I wish it would be more consistent. The new plot threads and characters that are introduced should pay off later, but they feel more like distractions than constructive additions so far.

Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Go! Comi
MSRP: 10.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1933617923
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left