By Leroy Douresseaux
November 8, 2006 - 15:26
In the first series, the door to Kingdom Hearts was sealed, dealing a blow to the heartless, a race of gnomish creatures who are entirely black except for their white eyes. The victory protected all the other worlds, but it was not without cost. Riku and King Mickey (also known as "the King") were trapped inside Kingdom Hearts. Now, Sora, the boy who wields the Keyblade, and Donald Duck, and Goofy enter the mysterious Castle Oblivion in hopes of going through the door that will lead them back to Riku and Mickey Mouse.
Although TOKYOPOP has labeled Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Volume 1 as an "All Ages" book, their intended audience is juvenile and 'tween readers. The writing repeatedly emphasizes the plot, mythology, and ideas behind Kingdom Hearts. This is something superhero comics once did on the assumption that every month a new group of children were reading a particular title for the first time. In a collected edition such as this, that repetition comes across as… well, repetitive.
Shiro Amano's art features some of the best comic book renderings of Disney characters that I've ever seen. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty and several cast members from Aladdin make appearances, and Amano's interpretation of these characters is uncanny in its ability to capture them the way they looked on film. This book is a must-have for any reader that loves comics (in this case, Manga) featuring Disney characters.