Recast Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-59816-664-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right
  • Series: Recast

Recast Vol. #01

By Ron Quezon     August 21, 2007
Release Date: March 13, 2007

Recast Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Seung-Hui Kye
Translated by:Woo Sok Park
Adapted by:

What They Say
The universe is divided into the 4th, 5th and 6th worlds. JD is raised by Grandpa Griford to be the last hope for the 4th world, which is set on destroying the 5th. This is a coming-of-age journey about one boy realizing his recast powers - that just might save the world!

The Review
On the front cover, JD is standing prominently in front with his deep blue eyes and blonde wind-blown hair. He is dressed in a maroon and blue leathery outfit complete with maroon wings. In the background is Blaise with his deep red hair, also in a maroon, leathery outfit. The Recast title is top center of the cover, the author's name is below the title, and the background is gray with swirl-like markings. The TOKYOPOP logo is top left and bottom right is the white numeral 1 in front of an upside-down gold star.

The back cover is dominated by white swirls coming from the front cover. The white swirls obscure a couple characters on the back cover. The TOKYOPOP logo is in the top right hand side of the back cover. The fantasy and teen 13+ rating are bottom center, and the barcode is also on the bottom. There is also a Manga stamp on the cover just above the bar code.

The back cover synopsis is actually on the inside back cover. Another poem description of Recast is printed on a page near the front cover. Other extras include a note from the author, splash pages, character bio pages, story info pages, and advertisements for other TOKYOPOP titles. Among the advertisements is a black and white full page picture of volume 2 of Recast.

Seung-Hui Kye's world is full of powerful magicians, sinister monsters, and cute little animals. Like other Korean titles, the characters have slender physiques, rounded faces, and large, expressive eyes. To go along with them, the pages are jam-packed with a complement of magic weapons, mysterious illusions, and crafty spells that will make you laugh and wince. There are plenty of tones of stars and moons, enchanted circles, and mysterious runes to emphasize the magical backdrop. The inking does not run, the shading and tones are clean, and the paneling is easy to follow.

There is a mix of illustration styles, including a demonic mummy, Chibi versions of JD and Professor Celine, and even Stone Cold, the cute raccoon sidekick. Recast just as easily could be classified as an action/ battle title. The story opens with a magical battle between JD and a mummy, and sets up for showdowns with other magic-using bounty hunters. There is no shortage of speed lines and clashing weapons here.

Interestingly, the main characters, JD, Grifford, and Professor Celine do not have elaborate costumes, or even fancy hair styles, which is out of the ordinary for a fantasy title. In contrast, the bounty hunters are the ones with flowing capes, wood-like appendages, or massive claws. The only pages with Grifford or JD wearing jaw dropping costumes or wielding powerful weapons are the character bio pages.

Any Korean names that were in the original story have been changed, as all of the main characters have English sounding names. Signs and maps are translated, and the author's story and character notes are surprisingly easy to read. In addition, measurement references are translated to metric units.

While the story itself is a bit more complicated, the characters use fairly simple language and the dialogue reads very quickly. Most of the story centers on a young rebellious teenager, JD, and the text and the tempo of the scenes are consistent with that. Though there are monsters and other ominous creatures lurking around, the voice of the story is fairly lighthearted, with some comedic (almost lecherous) scenes sprinkled throughout.

As with other TOKYOPOP publications, the original Korean sound effects are mostly left intact and un-translated. There are a few sound effect translations, and in those cases, the Korean sound effect is replaced with the English equivalent. For the most part, the scenes speak for themselves, and the reader can get the gist of the sound effect. However, getting full marks on translation for this review requires at least attempting to translate all of the publication, including the sound effects.

JD is the typical teenage wizard in training. He goes crazy over pretty girls, loves to show off his UST-1000 fighting sticks to his friends, and goes to magic school during the week. He lives with his grandpa, a retired wizard, and JD gets along well his teacher, Professor Celine. From time to time, JD also enjoys a good fight with a zombie mummy puppet from the 4th world.

Using an onion as metaphor, the 5th world is the middle layers of the onion where JD and most of the population live. The people in JD's world worship those who live above them, in the 6th world (the outermost layers of the onion). The 4th world, also known as Hell, lies at the center (essentially, the core of the onion) and controls portions of the 5th world through intimidation. The 4th world lures criminals to work as Puppets for the 4th world in exchange for superhuman powers. Some Puppets seek to join the 4th world and become bounty hunters and go after fugitives. As it turns out, Grifford is one such fugitive from the 4th world.

After harrowing run-ins with bounty hunters, JD finds his entire life turned on its head. First, JD finds out his grandpa is not just any magician, but is actually Grifford, the powerful former royal court magician of the 4th world. Second, JD discovers he has the Recast spell cast on him-- a spell so powerful that even a single leaf can be turned into a human being. To top it off, JD's Recast spell is not complete. Only Grifford knows who or what JD will become once it's done.

Who or what is JD really? And what will he become? With the nonstop barrage of bounty hunters and puppets, will JD survive long enough to find out?

If you are looking for sparring matches with a magic twist, Recast is right up your alley. Don't let the fantasy genre fool you as this is as more about battling wizards than knights saving princesses. This plot is essentially a lighthearted coming of age story for JD, with a dark overarching plot of the magical battle between worlds. Seung-Hui Kye's art is above par, but the story for Recast isn't one that stands out among the many other available titles on the market.

The main character, JD, comes across as one dimensional and very rough around the edges. The supporting cast, Grifford, Professor Celine, and Stone Cold add some comedic elements, but they are fairly transparent characters. Actually, the plot itself isn't very deep and is fairly predictable. In addition, there are one page info chunks throughout the book intended to help understand this fictional world and its background politics. Unfortunately, the spacing of these info pages only slows down the overall tempo of the story.

That isn't to say that Recast doesn't have some redeeming qualities. The exchange between Professor Celine and JD about his chastity spell and its shocking (and humorous) consequences borders on crude, but is still funny. Also, there is the looming mystery of what will JD become once the Recast spell is complete and why would Grifford sacrifice his immortality to cast the spell in the first place.

If you are looking for more than magic battles and a little more character and plot development, Recast may not be what you are looking for. However, if you are specifically looking for a magical Shonen series with some comedy sprinkled in, you should give Recast a try.


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