Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: B-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Text/Translatin Rating: B
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 200
- ISBN: 1595325379
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Left to Right
Planet Blood Vol. #01
By Jarred Pine
March 07, 2005
Release Date: February 08, 2005
Planet Blood Vol.#01
Translated by:Woo Sok Park
Adapted by:What They Say
In the year Universal Century 0091, Sinan is a mecha pilot for the Mars colony in its war with the Moon colony over re-patriation rights over the newly restored Earth.
An explosion catches him off guard and Sinan wakes up to find that he has been mysteriously transported to an entirely different world called Horai, with a civilization similar to that of Earth's middle ages. There, Sinan ends up rescuing a girl named Mayi from a group of thugs lead by a burly thug named Pantera.
A grateful Mayi introduces Sinan to Noodles, a leader of a rebel group that is trying to restore him to the throne of Pratria...The ReviewPackaging:
The cover artwork features some nice, quality artwork but it took me a while to realize who the characters exactly were, Sinan and Mayi. The designs are much different than what is between the pages. The logo is across the top which looks like the Batman logo for some reason to me. One the bottom there are some tribal designs and the roman numeral I for the first volume, as well as the creator name. The Tokyopop stripe is present along the left in a dark, slate color. The back cover features a close up of Mayi from the front cover along with the volume summary.
The volume header features a nice collage of all the characters. A map of Hortia towards the front of the book that is much appreciated. Also present are a few pages that look like chapter headers with the words “Red Blood”, which I presume was maybe the original title. There is a long, skinny ink smudge on one page, and I noticed that one panel has a faint line running through it that wasn’t supposed to be there.Art:
While the character art is really clean, it almost feels too clean. There is no hatching for shading, instead a sort of gradient toner is used. The effect makes the characters stick out a bit more and look somewhat striking, but it looses some of the warmth and feels a bit cold. I had a hard time feeling any emotions from the characters as their expressions stay pretty stagnant. There is a really stark contrast between the characters and the backgrounds, at times too much so as there are a lot of white outlines around the character art which really stands out. I found some of the actual character designs to be unintentionally funny. All the men look like Vikings or lumberjacks, with one sporting a stash and a thick rug on his chest, and the women are dressed very scantily in outfits that enhance the chest area, including one that has some sort of dragon claw for a bra that somehow covers up. It’s very generic fantasy artwork to me and I just found myself snickering a lot when I’m sure I was not supposed to be.
I also found myself wishing for a lot more background or landscape artwork, since this is an epic story and it would help visually to depict this strange land. I have no idea what any of this new world looks like except for a couple castle walls, a desert, and an interesting scene at the end. There also was little artwork of one of the big battles midway through the volume which was frustrating.Text/SFX:
SFX are left untouched and are not translated. I found myself numerous times wishing I knew what the sound was since it was supposed to be a sound away from the action.
The adaptation was handled by Mike W. Barr, who evidently is a big name in the American comic book industry as there’s a plug about him on the back of the book. The natives of Horai speak in a way that feels a little different than Sinan, who is the transplant from the Moon/Mars world. It’s very subtle, but they just speak a much more proper sounding English, which fits the medieval setting. The only oddity was the word “Newbie” spoken towards the end. There’s a TON of strange names for characters and places, and while I was confused with all the names at first, it wasn’t too overwhelming.Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Sinan, and his fellow soldier Yan, are in the midst of the First Universal War between the Moon and Mars colonies. The Mars army launches an attack satellite that annihilates a part of the Moon, but during the blast Sinan is transported to a strange, medieval world that is in the midst of a war themselves. The land is called Horai, and the year is 1469. I found the beginning of this story to be a bit jolting. There are a few pages setting up this scenario about how the Earth was practically destroyed, nuclear toxins filled 35% of the environment, and human civilization took the stars with a plan to return once the planet was clean. It’s an interesting setup, but then a few confusing action scenes later and you are transported to a brand new world with a whole brand new history.
Sinan rescues a princess in distress using his gun, which the natives take to be some kind of sorcery. The princess, Mayi, takes Sinan to a secret fortress where the exiled Prince Noodles (yes, Noodles) is planning an attack against the Castle Pratria. Noodles was supposed to be the heir to the throne of Pratria, but the kingdom was stolen from him by his older twin brother Zetsos who has always had a grudge with Noodles, their father’s favorite son. Inside of Castle Pratria are scrolls that tell the location of the six Neoptolemos, great wizards who will come during times of war. Noodles will need the Neoptolemos if he wants to defeat Murserek.
The pace of all this happens much too quickly. It was a bit hard to digest what was going on and get an understanding of the events in Horai. The actual battle where Sinan attacks Castle Pratria is also much too short. There was supposed to be an army of 300 troops attacking a defended castle, but you hardly saw any of this depicted. Overall the pacing in this first volume is definitely much too fast to achieve that epic feel in this fantasy world.Comments
The first volume of Planet Blood is definitely a mixed bag. The whole time I was reading it I kept wondering if the creator bit of a bit more than he could chew. There are some interesting characters, whose backgrounds get flushed a bit as the story progress, but they seem to remain completely two-dimensional and are not relatable at all. There’s a feeling of war and conflict in this big fantasy world that could pull off great epic battles and political maneuverings, but that’s all it is, a feeling.
The tiny bit of artwork depicting Hortia doesn’t give me an understanding of the world I’m dealing with and therefore, the story has a hard time coming to life. The story just speeds on by and doesn’t take it’s time with filling in all the necessary details for a sci-fi/fantasy war epic that I feel the book wants to be. There was some interesting revelations towards the end of the book that have me wanting to read more, but it is nothing I am excited about. There is a lot of promise here, but so far not much is delivered.