Louie the Rune Soldier Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 168
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0105-0
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Louie the Rune Soldier Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 16, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004


Louie the Rune Soldier Vol.#02
© ADV Manga


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

What They Say
ESCAPING ELVISH PRISONS, DUELING ARROGANT KNIGHTS, AVENGING MURDERS...
Louie's just getting started in his new profession, but he's beginning to realize that life as an adventurer is a lot more time consuming than he anticipated! With the aid of his trusty companions, a handful of enchanted tools, and a pair of rock-solid fists, the street-fighter-gone-hero continues his mad-cap adventures. But when Louie s challenged to a duel by Conrad, official knight of Mylee (and Melissa's fiancee), the question arises - is it finally time to learn swordplay too? Sword or fist, city or forest, Louie tries his best to get a handle on the whole hero thing - and busts a few heads along the way!


The Review
Packaging:
Presented in a tall B6 Louie is printed right-to-left. As they did with the first volume, ADV uses the original cover art on both sides of this GN. The front cover features Louie working on his swordplay in the foreground with a large image of Melissa behind him. The image is kinda etchi, as Louie's sword is positioned in front of Melissa's blouse, which happens to be exposing her cleavage. The opposite cover has an SD piece with Merril giving Louie a spin-kick to the cheek as Melissa and Genie watch in disgust. Cute! Inside ADV gives readers six full color pages, including: a wonderful volume header featuring Louie and a two-page spread of the whole crew for a chapter header. These pieces really show off Sasameyuki's art style very well. ADV also keeps the chapter bumpers (each featuring SD art), an ato-gaki from Sasameyuki-sensei and a "Thanks" page (this one has a great image of Melissa.) The printing looks better than it did for the first volume. It's still not perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Artwork:
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 her shading needs). Oh, and I did say all these characters look great. I love these designs.

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.

SFX/Text:
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.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the river and through the woods, to find enchanted wood for a new staff! On Louie's first adventure, the guy destroys the symbol of his trade - his mage staff. Now he is off with his new teammates in search of ancient materials to make a new one. It's one thing to go on an adventure for treasure, to rescue someone, or money, but to go into a land notorious for its ogres and hellhounds looking for magical wood should not be worth the time of his entire team. Sometimes individuals have to be responsible for their actions. Nevertheless, with this experience these four will come out with a better understanding of each other, some new friends and a few stories to tell.

Unfortunately, there are some that these four would not want to have heard about them. And in the end their second adventure would end up being the start of something far more serious... okay, personal.

Poor Melissa if her life was not strange enough with a neverdowell as a hero, but now her fiance is in town. Her god has already given her body and soul to Louie, so there is no chance or hope for a cowardly beau asking her hand in marriage. If only Louie could be more like a "true hero" she would not have her doubts, but sometimes she wonders if she could actually stick with him for or if he could even protect her when she needs it most.

Levelheaded and honorable Genie has to face her past as it comes in the form of a revenge motivated murder attempt. To Genie it was only a matter of time before her past caught up with her. She felt she had done some weak-hearted things in the past and has yet to forgive her for what happened. The situation has also made her doubt men, as they often tend to act superior to women. She would not have been in the situation if she was a man, but now she will take her punishment as a man would.

When it comes to friendship Louie can be anything. He should that to his new friends when their lives were on the line in the dangerous Forest of Tartious. Even when his new elf friend betrayed him, he was able to protect her honor, rescue his team and defend those who were earlier threatening him. He is nothing, if he isn't a friend first and Melissa and Genie will learn this. So when he is not drinking and fist fighting, Louie is out there trying to honestly help his fellow man when in need. Is that not the sign of a true hero? When he is called to be a hero, he puts his life on the line for those who need protecting. When his friends are ignoring the painful truth, he will even fight them to show them where they have gone wrong. Louie the Rune Soldier can be almost anything you want him to be.. But he will not lie to himself or others as he goes about doing it.

Comments
After a volume of introductions and a little character development, Mizuno and Sasameyuki start to work on the relationships between these four (or five, if you add Ila) personalities. Each one brings a basic need to the adventurer team - thief (speed), warrior (strength), priestess (white magic), and mage (dark magic) - and on the surface they should be a formidable group in any situation. However, their personalities are much more vital to this story than their basic skills. Genie, being the warrior, is strong and cool-headed. She expects battling with honor and skill. At times her temper may get a hold of her, but generally she is often in command due to her experience and strength. Merril is the youngest of the bunch, and happens to be the thief. Usually thieves tend to develop into other classes after time and experience, so it is natural to see her struggle when her crew is down and her lose control when she does not get her way. Her skills have to be very refined, so she also gets disappointed quite a bit when she experiences some more brutish technique exhibited by her squad members. Melissa is a priestess and is bound by her duty to follow her god - Mylee, the God of War. She considers her current struggles as a battle she must suffer through if she were to ever expect happiness. She tends to be the support of this team, as a healer and as a friend. When she is down the team is down, and recently with Louie she has been down often. Finally, there is Louie the mage. Often mages tend to be on the edge of good and evil. If they are good they use magic (sometimes dark spells) to attack and for tactical defense. Louie does this in a different way - with his fists and common sense. The results are not beautiful, mages sometimes have this problem (with violent magic instead of headbutts and Louie Punches), but their part is vital in almost every good team. Louie's perspective is what we get to experience here. He doesn't see things like most people do and it gets him into trouble. But in the end he not only succeeds with his crazy ideas, but he does it honestly by following what he feels is right. Sounds like the making of a hero to me.

Louie at this point may not be as good overall as ADV's other fantasy title Those Who Hunt Elves, but it does have one thing over that elf stripping manga - better characters. Mizuno's novelist background has created a situation where his characters have quickly been developed into solid personalities with fixed roles on various levels. The interactions between this cast are what carry this title. Whether the moment calls for situational comedy or drama, Louie and the crew pull it off with flair keeping readers like me keep on wanting more.

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