Tenryu (Dragon Cycle) Vol. #04 (Mania.com)

By:Patricia Beard
Review Date: Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Sanami Matoh
Translated by:Neil Rae
Adapted by:Jake Forbes

What They Say
The power-hungry Warlord Torao wants every dragon exterminated... except the Black Dragon, which slaughters entire villages and eats its victims' hearts. What is the legendary beast's connection to the Dragon Clan, and what does Torao have to gain from this alliance?

Meanwhile, Hiryu continues to master his dragon powers. He builds his confidence in battle, but will he ever confess his love to the Princess?

The Review
What a difference a volume makes! What had been a straightforward quest has now taken on quite a bit of complexity. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the shift is rather abrupt and could have benefitted from more foreshadowing.

The fight against Torao of the Tiger Clan now takes a back seat to the pursuit and defeat of the obsidian dragon with the golden mane, who means oblivion for the dragon clans and their allies. The struggle is rooted in events past and much of the volume is devoted to the telling of this story. There is a particular twist to the nature and origin of the obsidian dragon that lends a sadness to the ever darkening tone that this story has taken on.

In spite of some clumsy story-telling, the repurposed quest does have a more dramatic and engaging narrative than previously shown, marred only by the hachneyed fantasy trappings of hidden gems and buried magical weapons. However, the change in narrative has not affected the splendid artwork and character designs that are the primary attraction of this series.

Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CMX
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1401206727
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Tenryu (Dragon Cycle)