Last Fantasy Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59532-526-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Last Fantasy Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     April 11, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006

Last Fantasy Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Writer: Creative Hon / Artist: Yong-Wan Kwon
Translated by:Sora Han
Adapted by:

What They Say
Tian and Drei von Richenstein, two unlikely heroes, embark on an adventure filled with excitement...intrigue...and a bit of comic relief! They have quite the talent for making allies into new enemies. Their (mis)adventure pits them against ferocious ogres, vengeful red dragons, an army of soldiers, and even an age-old rival. But leave it to Tian and Drei to make sure that this adventure isn't their final fantasy.

In this laugh-out-loud parody of all things RPG (and we don't mean "Really Powerful Guys"), no gaming franchise is safe.

The Review
The front cover depicts the two main characters, Drei the warrior and Tian the magician, displaying their particular powers. Compared to the artwork in the story, the cover art is rather disappointing. It is so unappealing, I'm left with the impression that the artist Kwon did not draw this particular cover. I do like the design of the spine, which consists of Drei's massive sword. The title is a play off of Final Fantasy with the Final portion covered up and replaced with a scrawled version of the word Last.

Aside from my dislike of the cover art, the rest of the packaging is very good. The artwork is nicely reproduced with a satisfying crispness to the paper and ink tones and there are a fair number of interesting extras. Aside from a somewhat standard Table of Contents, there is also a one-page preview for volume 2 and a large "Making of" section by the Korean artists and creative team. This section describes what the three writers were hoping to accomplish and the methods for creating the book from the planning meeting to the preliminary art and to the finishing touches. There is also a somewhat rambling discourse by the authors discussing their hopes that people will avoid borrowing manhwa and viewing scanlations in exchange for purchasing books and supporting the industry. Although I completely agree with their views, it doesn't read real well, either because the authors added it as an afterthought or the translator didn't translate it too well.

The artwork within the story is easily the strongest part of this title. The action is well drawn and there's a nice variety of shading and crosshatching. The character design is really good, especially the centaur and female dragon in human form. Kwon had a couple of assistants draw the backgrounds so many times they have a nice amount of detail. My one complaint with the art is the extensive displays of SD. This title is a comedy, so SD can be used to heighten comedic moments and I don't normally have any problems with this artistic method, but there is just too much in this book. Extreme body SD isn't too common, but it seems the main characters face is deformed in every couple panels.

The translation reads pretty well with no detectable grammatical errors (a personal pet peeve). Although there was a joke or two that didn't read very well, it's not too bad considering how many gags are in this volume. The speaking text font is of standard type, but the narrator text is a nice cursive font that makes nice transitions between the character's thoughts or dialogue and when the narrator is feeding the reader information. No translations for the SFX.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
This fantasy parody takes no prisoners in the RPG universe as we're introduced to the two main characters Drei von Richenstein, pretty boy warrior who really is dumb as an oaf, and Tian, penniless magic school drop out. Both characters are heavily flawed and apparently incapable of behaving as heroes, bumbling adventurers/anti-heroes would be more appropriate. But their ineptness brings a fair amount of humor to this story.

Their adventure begins in classic D&D style, with Drei and Tian searching for treasure in an unnamed dungeon to replace the money Drei spent on a magical talking sword. No dungeon would be complete without ogres and minotaurs, which gives Drei a chance to display his talent with the sword and Tian a chance to demonstrate his skill in fire magic. Unfortunately our adventurers find themselves completely outnumbered and fighting a futile battle. Somehow Tian and Drei awake to find themselves safe and bandaged up in the home of a beautiful girl. The two thank her for her help and then proceed to destroy a nearby dragon, who just so happened to be her father. Needless to say she was pretty pissed and switched to her dragon form to take out her vengeance on the nearby town.

After their misdeeds in the dungeon, Drei and Tian decide to follow a treasure map in hopes of discovering the mega-magical Staff of Balance. Along the way they encounter some evil bunnies, and a centaur named Bajel that just so happens to be hung like a horse (yes the writers did go there). Bajel convinces the two to stay off from their treasure hunting and help him defend the tree of life in exchange for some gold. Finally, a chance for the two adventures to behave like heroes and protect the natural treasure of the forest from evil greedy men. Well, these knuckleheads do about as well as could be expected. The evil men are lead by an old rival of Tian's, and the two have a significant and well-depicted magical battle. The artwork for this scene is really powerful as Tian wins by the skin of his teeth. Mission complete. Until the muscle-brained Drei decides to burn the Tree of Life in order to cook his deer meat. Bajel didn't take this too well.

The final chapter consists of Drei spending more money on things he shouldn't and living as shamelessly as possible. There is a small hint of an 'evil boss' with the appearance of a gnarly skeleton/dehydrated man with amazing powers, which he uses to decimate the mob of evil men who had retreated from their battle with Drei and Tian at the Tree of Life. So who is he, what does he want with our would-be heroes, and do they have what it will take to defeat him when he decides to confront them? Not to mention the question of why Tian puts up with Drei?

Last Fantasy follows the comedic misadventures of the antiheroes Drei and Tian as they bumble through their fantastic world in search of riches. Some jokes are just plain funny, some are a little crude, and others are trying to hard. The overstretching for gags is also seen in the overuse of SD for the artwork. There's a narrator that gives the reader information throughout the story and also describes what certain items are, what they do, and how much they cost in gold coins. I thought it was a great idea since the authors are spoofing RPG's, and Drei's magical talking sword is just hilarious. But I'm left wondering where the dwarf, elf and priest are to make the RPG team complete? Maybe they'll pop up in volume two.

This story is funny and I definitely laughed at many of the jokes, but overall Last Fantasy runs the gamut from the good, the bad to the ugly. Great artwork, a nice look at the planning and production process for the book, funny jokes, bad jokes, and an unclear plotline thrown in. But there's still enough going on that I'm curious to see where the next volume will go in both adventures and jokes.


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jnager 3/13/2012 4:14:05 PM

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