By Leroy Douresseaux
September 24, 2009 - 08:32
Action/Fantasy; Rated “T” for “Teen-Age 13+”
Izumo-No-Takeru is a laid back thief looking for a legendary sword. Kumaso-No-Takeru is a muscle-bound warrior/migrant laborer. Oguna-No-Takeru is a mysterious, intense, assassin/mercenary type and a man of few words. Three strangers named “Takeru” become unlikely companions and begin an epic quest for the legendary Sword of Susanoh. Each Takeru has his own motives for seeking the sword, but together, the trio may be the prophetic heroes of the besieged kingdom of Jagara in its struggle against the Kingdom of Amamikado.
In Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil, Vol. 2, the three Takerus continue to help the Jagarans protect the powerful Sword of Susanoh. However, the trio doesn’t know the actual location of the sword, only that it supposedly lies in Jagara. Amamikado launches its boldest assault on Jagara yet, but the Jagaran warrior women are up to the task of defending their land.
Unfortunately, one of the three Queens of Jagara has betrayed her sisters and her kingdom by helping the enemy forces gain a foothold in Jagara. Now, the Crown Prince of Amamikado is at the doorstep of the hiding place of the Sword of Susanoh. Or is he? A torrent of secrets and lies are about to come forth.
THE LOWDOWN: An adaptation of a stage play written by Kazuki Nakashima, Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil is the real deal when it comes to epic fantasy. Comic books don’t do Lord of the Rings-type fantasy as well as the medium has done other genres and subgenres, but Takeru has the kind of characters, intrigue, big battle scenes, the magic, etc. that personify epic fantasy fiction.
Even better, the creative team is better at executing the story than it was at doing so in the chapters that comprised the first volume of this series. Even the art by Karakarakemuri, the artist and co-creator of the manga version of Takeru, is less muddled and crowded this time around. That makes it easier to decipher and “read” the big battle scenes and the duels between small groups of people. Some may recognize the detailed art of Karakarakemuri as being reminiscent of Barry Windsor-Smith’s art on Marvel Comics’ Conan the Barbarian series in the early 1970s, especially the latter half of Smith’s run. Karakarakemuri’s storytelling is also better in the five chapters that make up this second volume, which in turn makes Takeru worth following.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Reader looking for quest fantasy with lots of fight scenes and appealing art will enjoy Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil.