Louie the Rune Soldier Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0085-2
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Louie the Rune Soldier Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 14, 2004
Release Date: March 01, 2004

Louie the Rune Soldier Vol.#01
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Mizuno Ryo/Sasameyuki Jun
Translated by:Brendan Frayne
Adapted by:

What They Say
This party boy is an unlikely hero, but the gods have chosen him.
Few would consider Louie to be a sorcerer - after all, what kind of "sorcerer" spends his time drinking in bars and beating the stuffing out of the local street thugs? But much to the chagrin of three gorgeous female adventurers, divine will has dictated that Louie, the enchanter-gone-street fighter, is in fact a prophesized hero to whom they must pledge themselves to serve! Could this bad-boy possibly have what it takes to be a hero? Or has the war god Mylee made a mistake? Get ready for swords, magic, and lot of black eyes and broken noses, because when Louie fights, it's no holds barred!

The Review
Catching up with some more current titles, today I will be looking at another one of ADV's fantasy adventure titles Louie the Rune Soldier. This slightly different version of the Louie saga follows the novels in presenting a different side of our favorite "hero" with impressive results.

Using the original cover art from Kadokawa Shoten's version, volume one has a close up of Louie on a green background with full-body action image of Merrill in the foreground. The back cover features a framed SD image with adventurers - Melissa, Merrill and Genie - beating up Louie underneath the GN's blurb. ADV's logo is a modified version what was used for their DVDs. The manga does include the "Louie the" that was missing from the anime title. While the font is nice I am not pleased with the frame that the title was place in. This frame is huge and as it is not transparent it covers up quite a bit of Sasameyuki's wonderful character art. Inside there are six color pages: one volume header (with Louie and Merrill), the contents page, a few pages of the manga, and the two-page spread chapter header. The coloring looks great and is a contrast to the dark printing of the rest of the manga. This volume also features: an ato-gaki, an assistant credits page, and ads for Rune Solider DVDs, Kino's Journey DVDs, the Anime Network, and NewType USA Magazine. There are a few printing issues in this first volume. They revolve around a general dark look from screen tone and inking detail being lost when surrounded by tone.

Working with the character designs that Yokota Mamoru created for the novel series Sasameyuki adds a few good changes to what are already some great designs. With a few minor alterations to the costumes and adjustments to get these characters to scale Sasameyuki keeps the original feel while making these characters a little more action friendly (Yokota's designs are stunning but they look their best in color and in poses where his characters can show off their "finer" qualities). Sasameyuki predominantly uses dark heavy lines on his characters and backgrounds and like old skool artists tends to use ink to shade for specific purposes (namely shading on characters; instead of primarily using screen tone for all of his/her (?) shading needs). Oh and did I say all these characters look great. Did I?

Backgrounds are stale; which is a shame. With this title falling in the fantasy genre I wish the backgrounds were used more often cause I would love to see how Sasameyuki would illustrate this world but alas only on rare occasion is there much detail to anything besides the characters. The layout is pretty good. With the variety of sizes and positions it works equally good with comedy and action scenes.

Presented in a tall B6 Louie is printed right to left.
In typical ADV form the SFX are all subbed next to the originals. I love this technique and from the looks of things ADV is getting better at this with each new series.

The translation looks pretty good. While there might not be honorifics (which would have been interesting especially with how these characters interact) the context and the flow of the story felt really good. One thing that I was impressed with was the fact that they left in the assistants? credits page. Some other studios would remove these because there is not much to them, some of them do not even have art on them (vol. 1 simply has an image of Merrill next to the credits) but I commend them for considering it and eventually leaving it in.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Louie is a misfit. He is beefy magician that spends his free time getting into brawls and drinking heavily. Louie is a philosopher. Even though he has a rather high social status and the potential to be someone valuable to society he understands that it is not of his will and would rather live his own life if he had a choice. Louie is a potential talent. He has some magical talent (even though he really should try harder) and his strength of character and body could take him very far. Louie is a joke. He is a letch, a drunk and his life is a mess. Louie may not know this at the start of this series but he is also a hero. Mylee the war god selected him as the next hero of this land and as such three adventurers have come to follow him. But isn't strange how the words of the gods work that way? Not long ago Louie was fighting with Genie the warrior, Merrill the thief and Melissa the priestess and here fate has placed them all in his company again. On top of that they say they have been told by god to serve him as their "hero"! While he would have settled with being an adventurer being a hero does not sound so bad now.

If being a sorcerer was hard training to become a hero seems like an almost impossible task. Honor, respect, intelligence, humility, strength and leadership are virtues that make a "true" hero. Louie has brute strength (often expressed with his trademark "Louie Punch!"). He is smart (enough to perform some the most basic magic spells with ease). He honors his friendship with his adventurer friends with all of his heart. Yet he may not know the meaning of humility or respect. Some say he is like every hero that way (could that be right?). Luckily, he has three skilled experienced adventurers at his side to help him along they way.

Nothing could accelerate the learning process than some first hand experience. By taking Louie out into the forests, caves, dungeons and ruins he could learn first hand what it takes to survive in those situations and possibly gain some respect for the circumstance they have all been given. Like a child in a candy store Louie was excited but the work would be left to him. He would have to clear the path; he would have to break the magical seal; he would have to take care of the goblins he let loose all for training. He would also have to figure a way to replace the mage staff he broke as well. Training is one thing but replacing something as rare as a mage's staff - which, according to Louie's clingy friend/classmate Ila, must be made from a 500 year-old evergreen - was not in Mylee's message to Melissa. Or then again maybe it was, as Louie appeared to have a lot more than luck by his side when he set off on his own adventure in search of materials for his personal mage's staff (it couldn't have been Ila's"boom boom body" or her slick daughter of a merchant wits, right. Poor lucky Louie.).

Already a well-established novel series (there are currently three series: Mahou Senshi Louie (10 vols), After Louie Monogatari (3 vols), Mahou Senshi Louie ~Sword of Farlam~ (the brand new Louie/Lodoss War tie-in series)) the creators of Louie retell this story with nice art and good characterizations for most of its main cast. All of the great comedy, intriguing relations and brutish action that fans of the anime have come to expect is all there. But with a slightly different presentation of the plot old fans can easily find new aspects to enjoy and new fans can find solid fantasy storytelling from the start. Having a new perspective on Louie's personality is difficult to ignore. In other versions Louie has been something of a clod. The unskilled, brash, and often dim-witted anime version is not here. This version has an under-achieving, capable, and despite being a mild drunk and a letch is somewhat sensitive. This Louie is not a pushover and amongst three capable adventurers the potential for something great seems pretty high. Another thing that piqued my interest is the relationship that Louie has with Ila. There is something more to this relationship than friendship (which was all that was shown in most of the anime.)

For those looking for a solid fantasy title Louie hits the mark. Goblins, ruins, magic, battles they are all there in this first volume. When I read this first volume I almost felt as if I had read the script to a decent fantasy based RPG. Characters fight to start off; form a group together; gather information; go out on adventures eventually come back to town and repeat the process all over again. Simple concept, but fun (I like the nostalgia feeling).

For those expecting the art level to be as good as Yokota Mamoru's (the person who drew the cover art for the DVDs and the novels) you will be disappointed. While the art is still good it is not the level of detail and style that made many a nosebleed. (Yup, I could not find anything else wrong with this title. Shoot me!)

Having been a Louie fan for a few years now I came into this review with some bias. Louie is the perfect anti-hero. His personality is possibly more suited to a mercenary but one can easily forget that he his heart is full of love and admiration for his friends. His sense of honor might be a little twisted but in all honesty Louie represents the majority of us - a youth struggling with his future hoping someone could come on by and offer him a choice for something new, exciting, fun with all sorts of possible futures. How can anyone not relate to that? In this case, Louie happens to be pretty lucky. The young man got his wish, granted by god no less, and on top of that he has three beautiful women by his side. Nice company, long hikes, potential riches and a flexible schedule lucky bastard, got me hooked. I wanna be an adventurer but reading Louie's adventures is not a bad substitute.



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