Gadirok Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, April 16, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Translated by:Simon Jung
What They Say
The fate of the crumbling Jew-Shin Empire appears hopeless! Prince Chi-Woo continues to suffer from traumatizing delusions, while Duke Geh-Ru’s sorcerers have trapped Gat behind powerful spells. Anger fuels Gat’s desire to vanquish his enemies, but will loved ones become victims of his adversaries’ revenge? The New Horizon Gang—Gat’s former compatriots—find themselves in vicious combat with an altered Duke Geh-Ru, controlled by the scheming General Hae-Mo-Soo. Meanwhile, Ellea mercilessly confronts Gat, thus enabling the Prince to come to his senses and wonder where everything went wrong. Swords will clash and blood will flow as the valorous seek to prevail against the enemies of the dying State, in Gadirok, Volume 2!
The covert art is the same as the original Korean release, featuring Chi-Woo and Gat in a back-to-back pose. The English logo is at the bottom, along with volume subtitle, and the volume number and artist name appear in the top right corner. It’s a very nice, clean looking cover that features some good character art. The back cover features a small illustration of Gat. The print job is done very well, with the heavy tone work coming across clearly.
Jeong-Ho continues to illustrate some very nice looking characters with lavish costumes all placed in a fantasy like setting. The tones are really dark and there is a lot of heavy line work. There are a lot more supernatural creatures in this volume which all are very well drawn, with my favorite being the nasty looking demon mutation of Geh-Ru. Since most of the volume takes place indoors, there isn’t a whole lot of background art, but the action scenes are pretty dynamic and violent. The city scenes and the pirate ship at the end are also well done.
The SFX are translated and appear next to the original ones on the page. They look a lot better than the last volume, with the font being smaller and SFX place closer to the original text. Again, no problems with the translation and dialogue as they are as clear as the story will allow. There was a nice use of a different font with Hae-Mo-Soo was speaking vicariously through his puppet, Ellea, which helped with understanding who was speaking.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
After a completely chaotic and convoluted first volume, I was hoping that this second volume of Gadirok would come together better and fill in some of the holes. Unfortunately, it does not, but it does offer a lot of action scenes that ultimately get overshadowed by the poor writing skills and incoherent storyline.
What I found interesting is that after reading this volume, I read the volume summary that is listed above. The summary explains just about everything that happens in this volume, and I felt like that is all I needed to read. The pages on the inside offer no purpose for any of the events that are happening. We learn that Gat is a member of this New Horizon Gang, but their purpose and intent are never explained. Perhaps no explanation is needed, as most of them do end up completely annihilated by book’s end. Some of the members of the gang transform into animals to fight which, while it may look cool, really ends up making it hard to understand the setting of this story. Is it a modern city? Some parallel fantasy world? At the end of the book we are treated to a giant floating pirate ship driven by a man who smokes three cigarettes at once. Another cool scene, but completely random!
The entire book deals mostly with the survival of the members of the New Horizon Gang as they take on a mutated Geh-Ru and Ellea. Ellea seems to be an important person from the past, but she is now dead as her lifeless body is being controlled by Hae-Mo-Soo. Geh-Ru is somehow transformed into some sort of nasty demon by Ellea and then proceeds to run around slicing up any and every gang member. This battle goes down as is, no information revealed other than the gang members love Gat and they turn into animals. Ellea seems to be an important person from Gat and Chi-Woo’s past, as is hinted at during Chi-Woo’s dream sequences as he hangs unconscious from the ceiling restrained by the souls of the tortured. Chi-Woo then awakens as he vomits up some sort of crystal ball which creates a beam of light that destroys the café and lights up the sky. Thus ends the book, and me now even more confused. It does look like there will possibly be some explanations of Chi-Woo’s and Ellea’s past for next volume, but I’m not holding my breath that it will offer me anymore information on what the hell is going on.
I gave the first volume the benefit of the doubt, having a messy storyline and a lot of introductions that failed to make any sense, with the hopes that things would become clearer later on. This volume of Gadirok offers a whole lot of action, but no purpose or clear direction of where this story is going and what is happening. I got about as much out of reading the summary as I did the entire book, which is sad. The action sequences are fun. The costume designs, animal transformations, floating pirate ships, all present an interesting world, but it clashes with all the other elements and their intent in the story is unclear.
The convoluted plot though hasn’t placed this title on the list of cancellations from ADV Manga. The third volume has been solicited for May, which is a much better waiting period than the 7 months between the first two volumes. So it seems that ADV Manga is serious about releasing this title. I just hope that they know something I don’t and that this story gets better.
Mania Grade: D+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
Orientation: Right to Left