Mania Grade: B+
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- Art Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: ADV Manga
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 172
- ISBN: 1-4139-0236-7
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Louie the Rune Soldier Vol. #04
By Eduardo M. Chavez
January 24, 2005
Release Date: January 25, 2005
Louie the Rune Soldier Vol.#04
© ADV Manga
Writer/Artist:Mizuno Ryo / Sasameyuki Jun (Character Designs by: Yokota Mamoru)
Translated by:Brendan Frayne
Adapted by:What They Say
Be sure to watch Louie juggle sorcery and spirits in the anime series Rune Soldier
from ADV Films!The ReviewPackaging:
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 and her old friend Ila, each holding their favorite magical items, in front of a red background. The opposite cover has an SD piece featuring 10-year-old Louie playing with Ila's pet/familiar Ale. Cute!
Inside ADV gives readers four full color pages, including: cool volume header featuring Louie and a two-page spread. 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 Ila.) The printing for this volume is poor. There is some major screen tone aliasing going on. ADV has been pretty inconsistent with this series and it is getting rather annoying.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. With a lot of Ila in this volume, Sasameyuki's character art is at its best in this volume. 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 well with comedy and action scenes.SFX/Text:
In typical ADV form the SFX are all subbed next to the originals. Unfortunately, they continue to sub aside text as well, which really clutters panels especially in an action title like this.
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 (this volume simply has a sexy image of Ila next to the credits) but I commend them for considering it and leaving it in.Contents:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
What does it mean to be a rune soldier? As Louie has found out there are quite a few ways to define his profession, but in the end, a rune soldier is an adventurer. Rune soldiers take on the missions they are given with all of their might and make sure to come back accomplished hoping to be rewarded well for their success. They can be knights, warriors, mages, priests or anyone in between. What they have in common is there drive for adventure. They all wish to be stronger to continue doing what so few can.
Louie may not seem like the ideal rune soldier, however there is no doubt that he longs for much more than booze and babes. Since the very first pages of this series, Louie has wanted much more and adventures have given him cause to train and become someone others can rely on. Louie is a good example of how anyone could be a hero. Being a sorcerer that does not rely on magic, Louie instead focuses on his brute strength to overcome his problems. Moreover, his huge heart is never able to keep his mouth shut. These qualities might sound like a bad thing, but Louie's personality is able to attract others even when he is his crudest. These are qualities unique to Louie and some do not appreciate them for he is not very tact in his nature. Still Louie is always able to save the day, as if he always wished to do without much trouble... Okay, there are issues here and there but they are not always his fault... Okay most of them are... But the Ice Giant being stuck in an icehouse was not.Comments
Finally, getting to see some of Louie's personal history was a great treat. Not only do readers get to experience how much he has changed over the years but they also get to see what has influenced him to be the unconditional friend that he is. That is his strongest heroic quality. It motivates him to strive for better things and his friendships get him through the difficult times he has while learning and growing as an individual. Even as a child, his priorities were others. He was never a selfish child. Protecting those around him meant becoming stronger and that is what he is now. Mizuno-sensei does a great job illustrating how important Louie's past has been for his development. In addition, he continues to show the honesty and the lengths Louie is willing to take for the sake of his friendship. A hero should be a friend to all and Louie definitely does not differentiate, unless you deserve a Louie punch.
There was a time that I was a little worried about how this series was progressing. Now past the halfway point in this series, Mizuno is fully proceeding on presenting Louie's history and how he will eventually become the hero Mylee prophesized him to be. In a way, it frustrates me, as I do not feel Mizuno gave enough time to some of the female members of the cast to express why they are realizing his abilities. While Melissa is given three chapters, Genie is barely given one but they both start are willing to put their faith onto the big oaf. Mizuno tries to make the transition easier by having Priestess Jenny go into his character in some depth, but this could have been done earlier or over the course of a mini-arch. As good as the story is, I cannot help but feel it is a little rushed. Louie is one of those titles that I wish were a dozen volumes long. There is so much Mizuno can do with this title, which is one reason why the novels (10 volumes long) have been so successful leading to two manga titles, a TV series and a crossover story with Lodoss Wars. There could have been more adventures, more focus on each of the five main characters and many more Louie Punches! Knowing that there are only two more volumes is disappointing as this is one of the better fantasy titles out there, as it combines comedy, romance, camaraderie and action very well. Still even with my issues on pacing, I cannot help recommend this as it is pure fun and ADV does a very nice job presenting this great title.