Dragon Eye Vol. #08 (Mania.com)

By:Ben Leary
Review Date: Friday, April 09, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The excitement continues with battles in the VIUS tournament and intrigue behind the scenes.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Kairi Fujiyama
Translation: Mari Morimoto
Adaptation: Mari Morimoto

What They Say
The big tournament has started, but beyond the thrilling matches a more ferocious struggle is under way. Leila has been kidnapped by the wicked Daraku, who has a fiendish plan to destroy the city of Mikuni. Can Leila save the day when she's not even sure she can save herself?

The Review!

I have to admit, when I saw this series heading into tournament mode in the last volume, I began to have misgivings about the direction the story was taking. I was worried that the very good plot that had been unfolding piece by piece throughout and in between the numerous missions that Squad Zero has found itself involved with to one extent or another. Were the intrigue and excitement of the plot about to be smothered under a couple or three volumes of pointless even if well-executed combat? Well, no they weren't. This tournament, for once, fits into the plot neatly and even furthers it. It's not a fight to see who's strongest. It's an event with important diplomatic implications for Mikuni's alliances. Dragon Eye is good at what it does, and one of the things it does frequently is surprise me at just how entertaining it can be.
The volume opens of course mid-way through the bout between Hibiki and Akira. Hibiki, as always, fights with a chip on his shoulder. It's almost as if every match is a grudge match for him. As the battle plays out his emotions boil out of him. Before long we learn what his reasons are for participating, and they're not pretty. Meanwhile, Leila and Sosei are still missing, captives of the Daraku, and Issa realizes something sinister is going on. He tries to investigate, but orders from higher up force him to concentrate on the tournament and face down a particularly malevolent magical opponent. While Issa is busy in the arena, Leila is able to turn the tables on her captors and uncover vital information about an impending secret attack on Mikuni. Then she and Sosei have some escaping to do. The volume reminds me of a couple of stories we got early in the series. The artist has a gift for weaving together simultaneous events occuring is separate locations, and all the things that happen inside the tournament and all around it give her ample opportunities to exhibit it. It's fascinating to watch each piece of the story fit into the others, every one bringing its own emotions and activities, all of them added together to increase the building suspense.
In Summary:
So, once again I doubted Dragon Eye; once again it proved I should have trusted it all along. It's a series I have consistenly been impressed with, and one that I'd like to hear more people talking about. If you haven't yet given Dragon Eye a look, you're missing out on a plenty good action manga with no muss, no fuss, no wasted time, good growth, and a knack for making every volume at least a little better than expected. 
Extras this time around consists of a newspaper page covering the tournament, a goofy Q&A segment, selections of 4-panel gag strips and the usual translation notes.

Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Del Rey
MSRP: 11.99
Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-0345506733
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Dragon Eye