Fantamir Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Brian Henson
Review Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Release Date: Sunday, September 30, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Eun-Jin Seo
Translated by:Lauren Na
Adapted by:Stephanie Sheh

What They Say
When a mysterious incident causes Mir to lose her magical abilities, she decides to retire and become a student in a normal school-or so she though! To her surprise, she enrolls in a school with a special connection to her family. Will Mir's boring new life keep her from her magical past...and her divine future?

The Review
Art:

Seo's art style is very clean and detailed, and brimming with those distinctive touches that let you know you've picked up a Korean manwha. There's a consistent, high level of workmanship throughout the volume with a noticeable preference for close ups and profile shots of the characters. Only a small amount of action sequences so far which are done fairly well, but not the focus of the book. If you haven't had much exposure to Korean art styles it may take a little while to get used to the differences between the average Japanese manga and Korean manwha.

Packaging:

Another solidly produced book from Tokyopop. Print and paper quality is excellent throughout the volume. The front and back covers show off the detailed character designs. A good job was done keeping the titling and text from marring the artwork. Overall, it's a very good looking book.

Text/SFX:

The dialog for the volume is well done and clearly readable. Sound Effects are where the volume has some issues. Some of the effects have been changed and replaced with English equivalents, and where this is done it is done well. However, a large number of the original Korean effects are left intact, but with no translation or meaning given. I appreciate so much of the original art being left untouched, but so many left untranslated in any way is a large drawback.

Content: (warning, this section may contain spoilers)

Mir is next in line to become Sorceress, dedicating her life to the ensuring the prosperity of her family. That also means never leaving the confines of the family estate. Add to that an incident where Mir lost part of her memories and her spiritual powers eight years ago. Tired of hiding the loss of her powers and wanting to see outside life and make friends, Mir decides to run away from home.

The current Sorceress decides that when the first try to bring Mir home is met with resistance, Mir should be allowed to go to school in the outside world and relying that Mir will return to her duties on her own. So Mir enrolls in Shindansoo Academy, and it's not a coincidence that Mir's family has an influence there. A strange encounter with the campus' supposedly cursed tree proves that even if Mir's spiritual power is gone, she's not necessarily free yet of that world.

And before Mir's even at the school a full day, she's already been challenged to a duel by Ba-Ri, the top Wonhwa of the school. The Wonhwa's being a group of female students having almost unrestricted authority over the school.

Comments
Fantamir starts us off with a fairly light feeling with some mystical elements in a modern setting, but always maintaining a hint of darker and more serious elements in the background. On the surface we have Mir, our sheltered young heroine who's out to see what life is like in the outside world and just wants to be treated like a normal person and make friends like any other girl. Eight years ago though, she was found covered in blood that wasn't hers with no memory of what happened and has been unable to use her spiritual powers since then. Several of the other characters seem to be your normal archetypes on the surface, but each has hints of their own darker issues and backgrounds. Fantamir may do very well if it can capitalize on the mix of a girl just trying to get by in the new and unfamiliar world of everyday school life and the more serious occult elements that have so far only been hinted at in this opening volume.

There's usually a rush to lay out a great many characters, settings, and plots in the beginning of a new series, but even taking that into account certain points of Fantamir feel rushed. One development has barely been addressed before a new development has pushed the story forward again. The overall story could probably stand some time spent with Mir and how the resolution of things like the duel with Ba-Ri play out and just adjusting to school life as opposed to rushing to the next shocking development..

Fortunately, nothing feels like it was resolved for convenience in the situations in this volume of Fantamir but the story is going to keep a fast pace so you'll have to keep up with the developments as they happen.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: C+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 204
ISBN: 978-1-4278-0290-3
Size: B6
Orientation: Left to Right
Series: Fantamir