By the Sword (aka Yo-u) Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Release Date: Monday, March 07, 2005



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Sanami Matoh
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:

What They Say
Long ago, a half-breed swordsmith forged the Moegi, a powerful and magical blade. The demon hunter Asagi has searched the land for this sword in hopes that it can handle his special force that otherwise destroys ordinary swords. Having encountered Kaede, a half-breed girl, Asagi finds himself within grasp of the Moegi, but there’s only one problem—only the nephew of the spirit within the sword can pull it from its sheath! Will Asagi find the nephew and make the sword his? The quest for demons—and answers—begins in Yo-U: The Moegi, Volume 1!

The Review
Packaging:
Since this is an uncorrected galley proof, there will be no packaging grade.

Art:
Matoh’s character designs feature long jaw lines and extremely wide eyes, something that I really am not a fan of. The line work is a bit heavier than the other stuff I have seen of hers, and with the thick, flowing locks of hair it fits the fantasy style fairly well. I like a lot of the detailed costume work that is done.

The backgrounds are fairly detailed when they are there, using a lot of heavy black tones. The action art is pretty average, sometimes getting out of control and feeling a bit chaotic.

Text/SFX:
The SFX are subbed next to the originals, usually in a smaller font and placed in a way where they aren’t intrusive. A very nice job and I like how ADV handled this SFX translation. The back of the book has a few translator’s notes about the meaning of some of the Japanese terms.

The dialogue is translated very well, with the exception of the Rinrin. Her character is from China, so her dialogue is translated into broken English which really just felt more like baby talk. It’s also not consistent, as one bubble has broken English and the next is perfectly fine.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Asagi is a Karinin, a hunter who collects bounties for killing off demons, who has a mysterious power that destroys all the swords he handles. He is in search for a special sword called Moegi, which is a legendary powerful blade that has the power of a hundred and one demons. With this sword, Asagi may be able to use his power without ruining his blade. While searching for this sword, he happens across a half-demon girl named Kaede who has the Moegi on her. She is traveling with her father, a full demon named Kurenai, who is now only a small sprite-like character as his soul has been sealed with Moegi. It seems that the sword can only be drawn by the nephew of Kurenai, so the three go off in search for answers on how to use the sword.

The story is extremely average and really just feels uninspired. There is a lot of demon-of-the-week scenarios that don’t progress the storyline that much for the amount of pages it takes up. Asagi is the nephew of Kurenai, and it was obvious that this was the case, but it becomes tedious to find out this information. The demon battles don’t really progress the story, but after each battle Kurenai let’s known another tidbit regarding Asagi being able to draw the Moegi. This was really frustrating to me as I felt I had wasted my time reading all this wasted demon battle stuff only to have Kurenai slap his forehead with an “Oh, by the way..” remark. After Asagi is able to draw the sword, they have a couple more demon battles and the story just really feels like it isn’t going anywhere. At the end we are given some more info about Kurenai’s past and why he was sealed in the sword, but I really had a hard time caring by that point.

The humor is really stale also. I don’t get how a girl that eats a lot is funny. Kaede is a bit of an airhead, and she gorges herself, so there is a lot of humor surrounding how much she eats and how they are broke because of it. It really becomes tiresome. Also, Kurenai gets on my nerves with his bullish attitude. There is supposed to be some humor surrounding this little demon running around and acting like an ass, but it just falls flat.

Comments
The samurai fantasy genre is one that has been done a million times over. By The Sword doesn’t offer anything new and presents an extremely uninspired storyline with a lot of tired humor that just isn’t very funny at all. The fun costume designs and action scenes can’t mask the fact that there is an average storyline behind it all. With only 2 volumes total, it is a little frustrating to see the story being wasted on demon hunt of the week storylines. With such a short manga, I’m fairly certain that things won’t change for the better.



Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: N/A
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 1-4139-0213-8
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left