Dorothy of Oz Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Thursday, December 13, 2007
Release Date: Friday, November 30, 2007
Translated by:NeeHa Jung
Adapted by:Kevin Kilgore
What They Say
When Mara Shin's dog Toto gets lost one fateful day, she goes in search for him along some yellow brick road and ends up in the wonderful land of Oz! Everyone starts calling her Dorothy, but these aren't the cowardly lion, scarecrow and tin man adventures you remember! This fantastic fairy tale features familiar characterscbut with an action/animated twist!
UDON's presentation of Dorothy is top notch. First this book is packaged in a talk A5 sized book. The cover art features a cute playful image of the main character Mara Shin (aka: Dorothy) and her puppy Toto. The cover features foil lettering and does a good job giving off a fantasy/RPG type of look. Inside there are a few color plates. All the original volume and chapter headers are intact. UDON provides an atokgaki and a short preview of volume 2.
Paper quality is very good. The weight is pretty heavy but it held the ink very well. And I didn't notice many alignment issues either. Solid presentation and a good start to their new line.
I initially received a galley of Dorothy and I had some issues with continuity. But upon receiving the final product, UDON fixed all the confusing parts and gave some life to NeHa Jung's translation. As this is a modern version of a classic handling canon while making the dialog modern had to be a little tricky. Jung and Kilgore keep the dialog going with snappy lines that work well in comedy or action. Some of the supporting cast's lines are a little clich? but given the source material I think it was appropriate.
Mara Shin is lost. On her way home from school Mara was greeted with a pleasant surprise as she runs into her puppy in the street. Now Toto's not really near home, the poor puppy must have been lost or something, so at the time Mara was a little curious about how he found her. Looking back that was the first in a string of surprises she will encounter.
In Toto's mouth was a random item from her past - a tattered glove that brings back memories of her early childhood. Many years ago Mara disappeared from home. She went missing for a week without a trace, with only a glove as a souvenir of her trip. How Toto got hold of this glove is a mystery, but his next reaction was even more so, because Toto decides to run away. While frantically chasing after her puppy, Mara became disoriented and eventually lost her way home. Her only point of reference is a strange yellow brick road. The road itself feels familiar but she doesn't have the time to recall why. One thing Mara does know though...she is no longer in Seoul.
With the yellow brick road as a guide Mara eventually finds Toto and from there her adventure begins. Mara is the only person who can see the yellow brick road. No one, not witches or monsters can see what she can, and along the way the road leads her to a lion, a tin man and a scarecrow. Not in a situation where she can pick choose her allies, the five team-up as they hike from village to village along this mythical roadway. Sounds like another story I know.
Now Mara's in enough trouble as, poor girl really has no clue how to get home, so you'd think she would be opposed to any added stress. But with her three new companions she has to play of mother, best friend, and leader all at once. And she is doing this for runaways, maybe criminals! That lion is actually a hungry chimera with violent tendencies. The dimwitted scarecrow is a human clone that was infused with magic. And the tin man? He is a cyborg with dreadlocks... Then again Mara has been accused of murder of the highest degree and has a $10 Million bounty on her head! Yeah she needs to get home quick...
Now personally I haven't been a fan of the Wizard of Oz ever since I saw Michael Jackson's the WIZ. I never really wanted to read a manga version of Oz but this Korean version adapts the classic for a modern day manga readership. Cyborgs, chimera, and clones walk along the yellow brick road with maho shojo Dorothy,I mean Mara Shin. This version has comedy, action scenes and a partial nude magical costume change a la Sailor Moon. And even if flying monkeys are still one of the most original monsters in film history, nothing beats vampires in a manga. Hands down Dorothy trumps MGM's version on almost every level.
Starting with the lead... Mara Shin as Dorothy exudes confidence and much more strength than Judy Garland ever had. She is just as much a naive teenager but Mara's attitude as a leader is a good reflection on how life has changed since 1939. Her actions set a tone for the pacing, so whether she is leading a fight or conversing with a witch, her she always maintains the same sense of justice and respect. The rest of the cast is perfectly one-dimensional. Really what else would you expect from a cowardly lion, the tin man and a scarecrow.
If I did have a problem, it had to be with Son's direction. The manwha-ga started the story and immediately went into a long battle scene, before going into a flashback long before most of the cast is introduced. I was a little confused by the timing really. Son had me going with the action and I really didn't need to go back in time (twice for that matter) to find out Mara's past. That really slowed down the pace and essentially had me questioning the writing instead of simply enjoying the ride.
Outside of that one complaint, I felt Son's version is a well needed remake. The cast has more personality than ever. The fantasy element is much more intense and exciting. And the anime references almost make me wish the original Dorothy was a maho shojo. Dorothy in a sailor suit, Hmmm?!
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Udon Entertainment
Orientation: Left to Right
Series: Dorothy of Oz