MAR (aka: Marchen Awakens Romance) Vol. #04 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0053-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

MAR (aka: Marchen Awakens Romance) Vol. #04

By Jarred Pine     December 07, 2005
Release Date: November 08, 2005

MAR (aka: Marchen Awakens Romance) Vol.#04
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Nobuyuki Anzai
Translated by:Kaori Inoue
Adapted by:

What They Say
While it's true that Ginta is having the time of his life in Mär Heaven, getting in one exciting adventure after another, what's happening to those he left behind in the "real world"? With both her husband and now her son gone, Ginta's mother is beside herself with grief. Can Ginta's friend Koyuki reassure her that her son is actually doing all right - and that fairytales really do exist? Meanwhile, Ginta and his motley crew, having just dubbed themselves "Mär," depart for the main continent, and come up against the fearsome boss of the Bandit Guild!

The Review
There is nothing new or surprising with this shounen fantasy manga, but Nobuyuki Anzai gets the conventional pieces in place to work the formula as best as it can be.

The cover features the same character illustrations as the Japanese tankoubon, which is framed by a metallic chain and silver gradients that help fill out the cover and makes it nice and shiny with vibrant looking colors. The print reproduction remains solid with sharp tones and no fading. Chapters just flow from one into the other without chapter inserts or headers, except for maybe one or two exceptions. Extras include 5 mini-manga from the staff, the winners of the readers illustration contest held in Japan, and a little bonus illustration from Nobuyuki.

Nobuyuki Anzai’s artwork excels with character designs and action sequences, and he does it very cleanly. Though there’s nothing really special with the spiky-haired Ginta, a lot of the Mar Heaven characters have some really creative designs with detailed clothing and accessories. Action artwork can be quite explosive at times, with some fluid direction instead of just relying on posing after effects. Backgrounds are nice when they are there, but since this is an ‘Action’ title, there are not that plentiful.

SFX are translated and retouched. The retouch job looks really good, blending in with the artwork quite nicely. I am not familiar with the original text, but everything reads very clearly and character appropriate to me.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Before Princess Snow fled Lestava, the castle oracle told her of a prophecy--create an army of seven dwarves and Mar Heaven will be saved. If Babbo is included (he refuses to be called a dwarf) that means that five of the chosen have been found with two more to go. However, time is running out for Snow and Ginta as the Chess Pieces have progressed into the second stage of their terror, called “War Games”. It was during this stage in the last war where Boss, Alan, and the Cross Guard defeated the Chess Pieces, who now look to get revenge on this newly created army named “Mar”.

If you have read enough shounen, more than likely you will be able to plot out the events that happen in this book. Ginta and gang go off to help stop the war, but end up coming across a ladies man who is the “chief” of the Thieves Guild of Luberia, named Nanashi. He is not part of the chosen seven yet, but it’s pretty obvious he will soon join once we find out that they share the same enemy and has some Arm powers of his own, which are unleashed on a Bishop ranked Chess Piece. There is nothing that special or memorable about Nanashi’s personality, but his purpose and motivation are clear--get revenge for the death of his people.

As expected, Ginta and Jack also begin to show off how much more power they possess after their training. Jack grows a forest of food for a town that was recently destroyed by the Chess Pieces, while Ginta pulls out his version 3 of Babbo, the Gargoyle, while doing battle with some Bishops. Of course, being such a powerful Guardian, Snow is worried that the energy it costs to summon such an enormous monster will possibly require part of Ginta’s life force. Ginta of course plows ahead with youthful enthusiasm and spunkiness for doing all that is right and protecting this fantasy world.

The story progresses without many surprises as Mar picks up their potential new member, protects another village from a couple of Bishop-rank Chess Pieces, and heads off to Reginlief Castle to do battle in this second stage of the war games. There is a nice, if predictable, little twist during Ginta’s battle with the Chess Piece and the clouded history of a couple of the characters starts to become a bit clearer. There is nothing exceptional about MAR, but it is definitely an upbeat shounen story with a positive message and fun, optimistic characters protecting the things they love.

Nobuyuki Anzai’s shounen fantasy does not really impress me so much as he just gets the pieces right to create a story that, while is fairly average, does provide some very easy entertainment. His characters have the right motivations and attitudes, there’s a clear and understood enemy that is ruthless and evil, some good mystery surrounding the history of a few characters, all the pieces are there in order to complete the shounen formula. However, it is the formulaic progression leaves little room for surprises or unseen twists. MAR most likely won’t wow you, but it does the conventions right and keeps a little smirk on my face as I follow these spunky punks on their upbeat fantasy journey.


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