Beet the Vandel Buster Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Release Date: Friday, April 15, 2005
Writer/Artist:Writer: Riku Sanjo / Artist: Koji Inada
What They Say
The New Dark Age
It’s the Century of Darkness, and monsters and demons known as Vandels rule the world. The only force that can fight them are the Vandel Busters. When a group of Busters are killed, they pass on their five magic saiga weapons to Beet. Not content just to fight the Vandels, Beet wants to destroy.
The Black Horizon
Beet and Poala thought Beltorze was bad-that was until they entered the Black Horizon ruled by the Vandel Grineed. When they’re not fighting giant spiders or zombie soldiers, they’re facing off with Grineed’s most powerful servant, Frausky, a kind of living gun.
But it’s not all bad for them. They run into a fellow Vandel Buster, Kissu. Good timing. They’ll need allies when Grineed’s confederates come back for a final attack. But is Kissu really the good friend Beet believes him to be? Or is he a Vandel spy?
The cover consists of orange block letters of Beet with a yellow banner underneath saying “the Vandel Buster” on the center top. Directly below the banner is Beet ready to fight with his Cyclone Gunner out for battle. Beet is position directly in front of background of Beet’s newest enemy Frausky. Like all the other Shonen Jump releases the bottom contains the “Shonen Jump” Logo, the author, artist and the volume number. On the back is another picture of Beet with his left hand supporting his right hand with his index finger on the trigger of the Cyclone Gunner. In this volume we also have the return of the Beet World which was missing in volume 3, with the main focus on the new area that Beet has ventured into and Grineed’s three highest lackeys Frausky, Ventura & Rozzgoat.
There was far less action in this volume but this volume was drastically darker in emotion, especially in the flashbacks. Kissu’s look back at his promise to Beet and when he told Poala his plight were the highlights of this volume’s art with Inada pouring great detail and emotion into these panels. Also the action sequences were once again top notch in the couple of quick battles between Beet and Frausky. This is the first time in the series we saw human death with moderate bloodiness as Frausky shoots humans who get in his way.
The SFX are like the usual Shonen Jump manga and the previous volume stay to the borders of the panels and are translated and retouched. The SFX were handled very well again in this volume with out impeding the panels. The SFX were absolutely huge though in the beginning of the volume as Beet is fighting the river whale. It was nice to see though, unlike when Slade (Sled) was introduced, Kissu has name was not changed.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Beet and Poala are making their way across the river to the Black Horizon fighting Grineed’s seemingly endless supply of monsters including giant river whales! Poala realizes that the amount of work that she and Beet must do is too much and they will have to hire another member of the Beet Warriors, especially one with great divine attack (ki blast) abilities, to make up for Beet’s lack of long distance attack ability. While figure out their budget Beet sees a group of men who appear to be unconscious lying down on the ground so he goes to check on them. It turns out to be a trap by one of Grineed’s Vandel’s Ventura the spider who controls humans to do his dirty work. But he is no match for Beet’s Excellion Blade and his spiders are easily vanquished freeing the humans, and Poala sneaks up behind Ventura leaving him defeated. He pleads for mercy from Beet but he is able to escape behind the robe of Rozzgoat another of Grineeds Vandels who is much stronger.
After the vanishing of their Vandel opponents Beet and Poala help the villagers make their way back to their home of Trowana. After fighting their way to the city gate all looks well, except for a robed stranger who is waiting on the steps for their return. Grineed’s five star Vandel assassin Frausky is waiting to finish off Beet once and for all and his first shot kills one of the villagers Beet had helped make home to his wife and family. Frausky fires again to finish them off but Beet is able to bring out Crown Shield to protect everyone from Frausky’s endless firepower. But Beet’s weakness is opponents he must fight from a distance and Frausky has Beet in his crosshairs for the final blow, yet Poala is quick enough to hit him with a few shots in the back to give Beet enough time to shoot Frausky through the heart with his Cyclone Gunner. Frausky gets up and is ready to continue the fight but there is a injured chick which rescues to heal and runs off.
Beet begins his hunt for Frausky when he runs into Rozzgoat who he threatens, but before a fight can ensue Beet’s old friend Kissu shows up and Rozzgoat leaves. The three of them head off to one of the old, crumbling Vandel ruins and somehow Beet finds himself separated from the group. Venture captures Poala because Kissu is working for Grineed and Beet is face to face with an about to self explode Frausky! As Venture, Kissu, Poala and Frausky look back at the giant mushroom cloud from the explosion they all believe that Beet is no more.
At Grineed’s castle Ventura is having fun torturing Poala as Kissu comes in. Poala though has a different idea and escapes while taking Ventura’s legs off in the process. She grabs Kissu to come with her and help find Beet who she knows could never be beaten that easily. The two fly off on one of Rozzgoat’s giant moths to return to the ruins to find their friend. While on the way Poala questions Kissu of how he became a servant to Grineed. Looking over their shoulder they see that Frausky has fully rejuvenated and was in hot pursuit. Also they see in front of them a bright beam of light coming from the Cyclone Gunner go into their air. Beet is alive but so is Frausky, and when they fight the next time the odds are that one won’t survive their battle.
The main purpose of this volume is to let us meet a myriad of new characters. We start to move into an arc that focuses on Beet going after Grineed and his entire crew of powerful Vandels. But, does Beet and Poala get another ally for their team? There is a lot less action in this volume coming off of the climax of the Beltorze/Beet battle but it does really move into the storyline that is going to carry us for a few volumes.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left