Takeru - Susanoh Vol. #02 - Mania.com

Manga Review

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Text/Translation Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-1427815712
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Takeru - Susanoh

Takeru - Susanoh Vol. #02

Takeru - Susanoh Vol. #02 Review

By Erin Jones     July 28, 2010
Release Date: September 01, 2009

Takeru Vol.# 2

Plot twists and theatrical build-up are hampered only by a flat group of characters.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Nakashima Kazuki and Karakara Kemuri
Translation: Stephen Paul
Adaptation: Tim Beedle

What They Say
There is a legend that speaks of a powerful sword hidden and sealed in 'Jagara-Mogara'. It is said that when the spirits of Light, Water, and Earth come together, the seal of this sword will be broken, and the sword will be immortalized. This is the sword of Susanoh. Upon pursuing the sword, Izumo, Kumaso and Oguna arrive at the nation of Jagara, where they confront a darkness that envelops anyone seeking the sword of Susanoh, including these three who are destined to find it.

The Review!

Takeru's second volume continues to be surprisingly good for what looks like, at first glance, another bland fantasy series.  The three Takerus are enjoying their time in Jagara, particularly Kumaso, who had started up a friendship with Queen Yamato.  Yet there can never be any true rest for a band of mis-matched heroes in a series like this, and they are presented with two new challenges.  The first is the appearance of another pair of boxes, identical to the ones that Izumo carries.  They are not given too much time to ponder this, though, because the forces of the Amamamikado Empire have also arrived in Jagara to try and awaken the Sword of Susanoh.  Their success is almost guaranteed by the presence of a traitor in Jagara (whose identity is partially spoiled on the back cover).  The three Takerus then join the fight, and Oguna's true identity and his motivations are further developed.
It is during this battle, at about the half-way point of the volume, that the only truly frustrating moment comes in, involving the well-known "the princess is in another castle" plot point.  However, this twist is not just thrown in to draw out the plot by sending the heroes on their next adventure.  It instead adds another layer to the so-far fairly straightforward battle between good and evil, and also brings about the darkest and most disturbing scene in the series so far. After all of that intensity, the volume ends on a bit of a lull as two characters flee the scene, trying to both escape with their lives and to track down the next piece of the puzzle in finding the Sword of Susanoh.  It is, at the very least, a welcome respite from the violence that dominated the second half in the volume and that will certainly return in the third.
In Summary:
Quest-based fantasy series are often approached with a healthy dose of skepticism, and for good reasons: so many of them are merely copies of what has come before.  Fans of J-RPGs, anime, and even novels have seen the same plots and characters used over and over in just slightly different incarnations.  To find an epic fantasy that breaks out of the mold is uncommon; to find one that is also mature and well-plotted is even rarer.  And it is for that reason alone that Takeru is worth checking out for fans of serious fantasy.  It doesn't break all the conventions, but that's because it doesn't need to.  Battles between good and evil are compelling for a reason; villains don't always have to be sympathetic, either.  Characters usually win over plot for me, but the theatrical progression of the action in this volume is simply phenomenal.  Highly recommended for genre fans who have tired of RPG-lite plots.


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