MAR (aka: Marchen Awakens Romance) Vol. #13 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Translated by:Kaori Inoue & Gerard Jones
Adapted by:Kaori Inoue & Gerard Jones
What They Say
Let the final battle of the War Games commence! As the members of Team Mar go into battle, each must defeat the chess opponent that stands before them in addition to overcoming their own personal demons. Insecure Jack must prove once and for all that he is worthy of his father's memory. Alviss struggles with the dark allure of immortality, while he must fight Rolan, the only opponent he's lost to in these games. And things really get going when Dorothy takes on an opponent unlike any she's faced before. Meanwhile, Alan is shocked to discover that he must battle an old childhood friend!
The tone continues to darken in this volume, with some pretty grisly images that push the boundaries of the Teen rating. I can understand the need to raise the stakes, particularly in a tournament of this length, but impaled corpses and severed limbs really have no place in material as unserious as this. Another thing that doesn't help is that the extra comics at the end are well below the previous volumes' standards. I can only make sense out of one, and even it isn't funny.
That being said, there's still a lot to like here. I know I sound like a broken record talking about it, but this series is anything but a broken record in its presentation. After Jack finishes the fight that began in the last volume, we get three more complete battles starring Dorothy (defending her undefeated record), Alviss, and Alan (making a comeback after his embarrassing loss to a catgirl a couple of books back). We get more of the good old Shounen Jump-ish battle action, with a lot of personal connection between the combatants this time around. I think Alviss comes off best here: the choice he may eventually have to make between death as a human and eternal life as a zombie has a lot of possibilites. As impressed as I am with how well the War Games have been handled, I'm really eager to see the story come back so the characters can start to work these things out. But I am grateful for the chance to comment on something I should have mentioned a long time ago. The text and (translated) sound effects have received expert treatment once again. I can't think of a single sentence where the lettering didn't give the words exactly the effect they were meant to have, or a sound effect that didn't enhance the impact of its scene. I find myself once more in awe at how well Viz does these things.
With just a couple of volumes left to go, MAR continues strong in spite of a couple of missteps. I'm hoping the story won't end with the War Games, so we can have at least one volume of proper wrap-up. These characters have a lot more to them than your typical fighting head-bangers, and it would be nice to see them interact without Guardians (as cool as those are) for a change. But whatever the ultimate outcome will be, fans have no reason to give up now.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: MAR (aka: Marchen Awakens Romance)