Mythical Detective LOKI RAGNAROK Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 180
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0055-0
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Mythical Detective LOKI RAGNAROK Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     September 13, 2004
Release Date: October 04, 2004


Mythical Detective LOKI RAGNAROK Vol.#01
© ADV Manga


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kinoshita Sakura
Translated by:Eiko McGregor
Adapted by:

What They Say
RAGNAROK APPROACHES...
The mythical detective Loki, a grown man with boyish good looks and a knack for solving crimes, must hide his true nature behind a forever-young exterior. Father to two extraordinary creatures, and entangled in a mysterious profession, Loki must protect his family from the darker forces that his detective work attracts. And when old adversaries strike close to home, Loki must prepare - not only to solve the crime - but to survive the attacks!

The Review
Packaging:
ADV has does a nice job with the packaging for this title. Presented in a tall B6, in right-to-left format, this GN is a little larger than the original MAG-Garden printing. This readjustment in size does not affect the printing much, as many pages have been left in their original B6 aspect. I will say that there are parts were screen tone is a little murky, but this is a galley proof so the entire copy should look better once it is mass produced. One thing that I think people will notice immediately is how some pages look cropped. As ADV used the original page size for a good amount of their content, some pages may appear cut off despite having space left around the art. Do not fear that is how it originally was without the framing space.

The cover for this title is great. It is exactly like the Japanese. It is designed to look like a fancy book, with a portrait style picture of a more mischievous Loki in robes and jewelry strangely placed in landscape format above the long title of this series. The portrait is full of yellows and reds and really make Loki's light colored robes jump out. The picture is on a solid black background, which also adds to the classy look I mentioned earlier. The opposite is solid black (no character art or patterns) with the volume description above another version of the logo. Simple but pretty cool looking.

Artwork:
Kinoshita's character designs are very cute, but are pretty confusing as well. Lines are thin but strong. On taller characters they really make some nice body lines for both male and female characters. On shorter characters they look a little off because characters look off scale. Actually, in general Kinoshita is very inconsistent with her proportions. There are times when characters look really tall, other characters look very tiny and suddenly others are small enough to sit on top of a short character's head. At times I could not tell if characters were super-deformed or not and the writing did not really help me in those situations. Fortunately, costumes are very nice often full of nice inking and interesting variety - school uniforms, maid outfits, casual wear, and formal wear.

Backgrounds can look really nice. As this is a shonen title, there are plenty of occasions where backgrounds are not drawn in, but when they are present they often exhibit great detailing with a focus on European style architecture. The layout is very good. There is a lot of variety in panel size, character positioning, point of view and manpu use. Kinoshita really knows when to be passive and active with her layout and it really helps keep an up pace tone to this cute series.

SFX/Text:
The translation sounds pretty good. I did notice a couple of typos here and there, but this is an uncorrected proof, so the mistakes should be fixed by the time copies reach the shelves in early October. There was one thing that confused me, though. For some reason one character is referred to in two ways. Loki's friend Narukami is sometimes Narugami and there does not appear to be a pattern to it (that might have been discussed in the previous volumes but that series has not been licensed yet). SFX are translated with subs. After doing this for a year now they have started to become pretty good with this. There are still occasions where subs are too large for the panels they are in, but the majority of these situations they do not compromise art much while following a close feel to the original SFX.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Mythical Detective is back. There is no case he cannot solve and with his friends and companions he completes each case to the customer's satisfaction. However, in this first volume their are no clients, instead it is Loki who has to solve mysteries revolving around him. Apparently there are some that want to force Loki back to the world of gods. The infamous mischievous god disguised in the form of a child appears to be victim of someone else's tricks. Who would try to outwit this trickster? More importantly, who would think they could succeed?

The string of "cases" start off in what is possibly the most horrible way imaginable... before Loki and his children could partake in dessert. Actually, they never even had a chance to even taste one of their Imagawa-yaki as trouble ended up finding a way to eat the treats. Fleeing away from a restaurant she just "dine-and-dashed" from, a random young lady not only ran into Loki but she proceeded to drag him into an alley as an accomplice. Without saying a single word on her side of the story she began to eat Loki's goodies before he knew what was going on. Shocked by the situation, Loki would eventually take the lady in to his home assuming she may need assistance. Once there, Loki would begin to realize that this encounter was possibly not a coincidence.

After solving that first mystery, Loki gained a new friend and companion, as well as a new case to solve. The motivation is not clear, but he feels he is being targeted in a way. While his life is no longer threatened, his being is still under attack in other ways. When plans to force him back to the World of the Gods fail, the focus turns to his family. His new companion Spica ends up lost in a mysterious mansion. When found Loki realizes a spirit that wanted to suck Loki's soul possessed her. Then friends become enemies when they start kidnapping Loki's children. A father figure would go to the ends of the Earth to save his child, so there is no doubt he would eventually go to the World of the Gods if he knew it was there. And say his prized possessions were taken from him, what would Loki do then.... Well, this is the Mythical Detective Loki we are talking about, here. Most likely he will end up solving the case in time for bedtime.

Comments
He is the Mythical Detective who just happens to not get an actual case at all in this volume. What Loki does get is a lot of trouble, a bunch of random visitors, and bad dreams. Who these characters are? What is behind his troubles is unknown, but there appears to be some history with some of the characters that have suddenly appeared to interrupt his peace. Unfortunately, Kinoshita never bothers to delve into the seven volumes that lead up to this series. Instead all there is are random pointless episodes with very little continuity. You have a story about a haunted milk farm. There is another with a dognapping. Another based on baton twirling (okay, actually a lost magical staff). Sure these stories are fun, but Battle Vixens is fun, Flower & Bees and Girl Got Game is fun. Fun can be found in plenty of manga and this one has little else to offer.

There will be quite a few people that will be disappointed with this series. Most of it will not come from the actual manga - the art or the story - but when fans find themselves confused, wondering about the strange start and all the background they missed from the seven volumes that were printed before this, then they will be disappointed. Some are already frustrated by the decision. Personally, I was lost. There appeared to be so much that has transpired before the start of this arc that I could not really get into the story too much. There were too many characters that were not properly introduced. Too much background that is hinted but never well presented. And too many relationships that are blurry as friends(?) betraying each other. Loki is still a very cute manga. If anything this is one of the nicer magical boy manga I have read in a while, even if there was nothing to this title at this point.

Below Average

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