By Leroy Douresseaux
January 31, 2008 - 13:30
|Thanks to barnesandnoble.com for the image.|
Now, the Kingdom of Spaelite has come under attack by the Shadow hordes, and Roy fears that he must release Ral and the dragon, Grad, “The Délire Monstre.” He hopes that RalΩGrad will fight for the kingdom and that the Mio, the woman who tutored Ral during his imprisonment, has also taught him to be human.
THE LOWDOWN: The literary genre, high fantasy, has seen some of the brightest and most talented artists paint book covers and provide interior book illustrations. Even some shoddy, less literary fantasy fiction, has been blessed by the art of exceptional fantasy illustrators. So it’s only right that shounen manga and fantasy-pedigreed RalΩGrad, Vol. 1, feature lovely art, and it sure does.
Takeshi Obata, the artist of Death Note, has provided some awe-inspiring sequential art that is nothing less than spectacular compared to other comics released thus far in this still young New Year. The creature design would be Oscar-worthy were this film, and the figure drawing is impressive considering that the human characters must compete with dazzling fantasy beasts. Obata goes over his lavishly drawn sets and environments with intricate inking, all of it dressed with layers of precision toning.
Of course, the story by Tsuneo Takano is also good. RalΩGrad is a riff on action/high fantasy like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons (and D&D inspired), and is similar in some aspects to the manga Dragon Drive. It’s good, page-turning stuff – a concept with enough intriguing mystery to keep readers guessing and interested.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: RalΩGrad belongs to VIZ Media’s “Shonen Jump Advanced” line which features manga geared towards older teen male readers, and there is enough mild innuendo and video game-styled action violence to keep them reading.