Mania Grade: A-
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 3 & Up
- Released By: ADV Manga
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 180
- ISBN: 1-4139-0255-1
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
First King Adventures Vol. #02
By Eduardo M. Chavez
April 06, 2005
Release Date: February 22, 2005
First King Adventures Vol.#02
© ADV Manga
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
Adapted by:What They Say
One of Japan's most popular chlidren's manga has made its way to the U.S.!
The key to the Kingdom of Tiltu is on hand -- Varamu's hand! The Prince and his companions continue to make contracts with spirit masters, but two young siblings may bring the travelers trouble! And when a stranger catches up to Varamu, the young Prince may reveal too much as the royal trails resume in The First King Adventure
While not as good as their presentations were a year ago, First King Adventure is right up there with some of ADV's better-looking titles. Starting with the cover art, ADV uses the original cover art, this time featuring Yutaka and the Wind Master Gust. This image is given a new framing and better logo (the original is a huge logo behind the character) drawing ones' focus to the prince. I love the font they used, classical but still easy to read. The opposite cover has an image of Asami sitting next to a lizard beast. The image, placed under the volume description, is rather random, as none of the characters outside of Varumu has been in a fantasy world filled with treasure, yet. Actually, even the blurb is rather irrelevant as none of what is describes happens in this volume.
My biggest gripe with ADV is how they are no longer including color pages with new titles. I am not sure why the change in policy, but knowing that older titles still get that treatment, I am left confused as to their reasoning (especially when considering how popular color pages are). Fortunately, the printing is pretty good. I still think it is a little on the dark side, but I did not notice major moiré problems which ADV has improved on this over the last year plus.
ADV kept the long ato-gaki, called "Behind the First King", intact and they followed it with a preview blurb for volume two and ads for Cromartie High School, Peacemaker Kurogane and Princess Tutu.Artwork:
I am not usually a fan of over-cute art like Fujimo’s but this is an exception. Her art has some purpose here, as her world is relatively young, fresh and cute, and youth is a prevalent theme in this story. I guess what really impressed me was the costume designs because everything else is actually pretty annoying.
Character designs only have one thing going for them… they are cute. Huge eyes tend to be the focal point to Fujimo’s expressions, as they have a good amount of detail and take up a large amount of space. Apart from that the rest of the designs are basically the same (give or take hair and cloths). These kids even though they are in elementary school are super long. There are situations where they appear to have torsos that must be at least three feet long if done to scale with their environments. Their legs and arms are extremely thin and long and their heads are ridiculously big (I guess they have to be with those eyes). Costumes are great, though. I get a feeling of a Saturn videogame called Grandia, when I see the mix of modern and fantasy. The designs are very practical and easy to move in, but more importantly very fun. I guess am also impressed with Fujimo’s line work. It is pretty easy to see the strokes used to create each line and how she makes them thicker. But what is really impressive is how she
can also go really thin and wispy. She needs to work on the affect a little more, as depth is lost but it looks very nice.
Backgrounds are great. I guess, if they weren’t so good I would not have problems with the characters being out of scale a lot. The designs are not very fancy, but they all seem to be done by hand instead of rendered so that is impressive. The layout is overdone. It is used to set a tone for scenes, but it additionally ends up moving the story too quickly at times. Fujimo also has problems with action, but that should improve with more experience.Text/SFX:
In typical ADV form the SFX are all subbed next to the originals. For this series, they used small subs instead of ones similar in size to the originals. Good idea, but better is how I did not notice them sub aside text for this series.
The translation is really good. While there might not be honorifics (which would have been interesting especially with the age differences amongst the cast), the context and the flow of the story felt just right. Good job, especially how the personalities were presented. This story is unique because of how despite the different backgrounds these kids have; they all tend to act causally around each other. Kay Bertrand and ADV do a solid job maintaining the integrity of that idea.Contents:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When Vararmu thought he might be getting closer to accomplishing his goal there was a serious setback. Already, Varamu's travels have taken him to another world. If that was not bad enough, his quest to make pacts with god-like beings has led him here with apparently no way to return. Varamu must now also compete with some new, previously unknown, challengers to the throne and they are not in his world, they are in our world and they are on equal footing as Varamu right now.
As is evident in the first volume, Varamu has never taken his quest with much sense of urgency. He has respected the throne and he understands it is his duty to ascend to the position. However, even with his life in danger by a curse (which is directly related to his coronation trails), he has not felt the need to rush. There is too much to see and too much to take in and appreciate for something as rigid as becoming king.
He now regrets all of that. Not because he feels his life is in danger, but he feels threatened. He is starting to see why he has come to this world and how there are others like him everywhere. Sme of these people will compete directly with him for what he thought was his and his alone. Then there are those that do not even know their callings and are waiting for him. His hesitance over the years, over nine years, has given others this chance. Now he must work to be more of a king to even earn the right to be considered a proper candidate to the throne. A king must put his people before himself. He must be willful and demanding. There is much more to learn, but none of it will come unless he wants the role.
Varamu wants it, more than he ever had before.Comments
Fujimo-sensei has sucked me in good with this volume. I already thought this was a wonderful little fantasy title, one with the potential for some great coming youthful adventures. Then Fujimo added some tension and a rivalry, and so far this has come in the form of violence, vengeance and dissent (as well as cute spirit masters!!). The themes are not really for young children as these concepts can be a little complex, but Fujimo does them justice by having her cast struggle through these ideas as well. The new adventurers start to understand they are different from everyone else around them. They know what their goals are. However, they still cannot completely differentiate what is right or wrong in regards of how to get there. Some are too immature to empathize with others. Some are too young to comprehend the gravity of their situations and how it will influence others. Even Varamu could not see what his quest meant to him, and he as a prince (who is much older than the rest of the cast) would be expected to know.
The idea of growing up comes up in a lot of media. It is so popular because everyone has to go through these issues. Each person has their own unique experience, making those experiences their own personal adventures. In this story there are kids starting their adventures and there is a character that is starting to see that his might abruptly end. Being king is not for children, even if children can be king. I guess that is how this story, which might be for kids, is still so good for “older kids” as well. This is an adventure for everyone, those who wants to be king and those who want to read about how kings are made. Fantastic!