BRAVE STORY VOL.2

Posted On December - 5 - 2007
  RELEASED BY:   TOKYOPOP
  AUTHOR / ART:  

YOICHIRO ONO / MIYUKI MIYABE

  FORMAT:   JANPENSE / B&W
  PAGES:   208
  RATING:   T
  RELEASE DATE:   10/09/2007
  REVIEW DATE:   12/05/2007
  REVIEWED BY:   SCOTT CAMPBELL

Life couldn’t be more average for Junior High School student Wataru, whose only real skill and talent is playing video games. But that all changes in the blink of an eye when a mysterious transfer student comes to his school and drags him into a land of magic and monsters. When the new classmate (Mitsuru Ashikawa) transfers to his school, Wataru follows him into an abandoned building that’s said to house ghosts. There he watches as Ashikawa battles a creature unlike anything he’s seen before. Just when Wataru thinks he’s discovered Ashikawa’s secret, he suddenly falls into the strange new world known only as “Vision.” There, the rules go that if you complete your mission as a “Traveler,” you’ll be granted any wish you desire. Now, Wataru must face challenges he could not imagine in even his wildest dreams – all of which have now become a reality.

Back in the real world, his father’s desertion is what greets him. While wallowing in his misery, he learns that Ashikawa is trying to bring back his dead little sister to the real world, and that’s why he has become a Traveler of Vision. Wataru must face his destiny, and ace this new “game” while helping his friends do the same. On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that Brave Story is based on the epic novel that spawned the hit anime – so the series has had other incarnations before. If just the manga aren’t enough for you, be assured that there is more out there for you if you want to go looking for it.

In volume two, Mitsuru has turned up missing, but Wataru tracks him down to the construction site, with monsters in hot pursuit! Meanwhile, a new adversary (responsible for the monster mayhem) is introduced, tracking the wounded Mitsuru. As secrets are revealed and lives are put in danger, Wataru must learn about the harsh facts of life as a traveler of the crazed land he has been transported to.

Story wise, Brave Story continues to be exciting and involving as the plot unfolds and the conflict begins to make more sense. We learn as the characters learn – it’s a strange new world for everyone involved. Though she was around and about in volume one, Kaori Daimatsu plays a larger part in this volume, so she’s in need of a better introduction. Kaori is the daughter of the owner of the haunted building that is connected to the new world, Vision. Wataru is completely smitten with Kaori, but Kaori seems interested in only Ashikawa – the classic love triangle of angst!

The art in this manga is still very clean and crisp with a lot of hard lines. The characters, creatures, and especially the landscapes are very imaginative and visually interesting – especially once they all get sucked into this alternate world where everything is so different from our own. It’s without a doubt well drawn – emphasis being distributed throughout each part of the visuals. The backgrounds are good, the details are there, and the characters themselves really shine. Being centered on action for a good chuck of the book, the details of the action dynamics are awesome. The way that action and movement shoot from one frame to the next gives the series a really dynamic flow. An interesting concept with very professional visuals – Brave Story just keeps getting better!

IN SUMMARY: 
Brave Story is a great piece of fantasy writing mixed in with the day to day trials that a lot of school age teens will be able to relate to. Detailed art and involving story make this manga one to take notice of.

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