AS I promised, here are a few reviews of some Tokyopop titles. There won’t be too many more though, as they keep canceling my favorite titles. I’m down at least three titles so far, and the bad news just keeps coming… Oh well, I’ll just have to enjoy what I’ve for as long as it lasts.
The Good Witch of the West Volume 5
Art by Harahiko Momokawa; Story by Noriko Ogiwara
Age Rating: Teen
Rune is gone, and Eusis is headed off to Southern lands as a Dragon Knight to fight the dragons that have been invading the southern towns. Firiel decides to follow Eusis under the pretense of trying to help him for Adale, but she is really searching for Rune, who may have gone South as well. She is joined by Igraine, a female knight, on her journey. Along the way, Firiel becomes bonded to a baby unicorn, and gets to see a “dragon”, but what is her true goal?
It’s with this volume that the story gets interesting again. Up until now, it has been all about court intrigue and lots of melodrama. But, once we get out of Graal and down to the southern lands, the story definitely picks up. The fantastic creatures of the series are definitely not like the ones we know. The unicorns, though still looking like horses with a spiral horn, come in many different colors, and can change colors over time. Their mouth is full of sharp teeth that they aren’t afraid to bare. The dragons are what you’d expect either, but I’ll leave those unspoiled. Both of these creatures however bring up more questions about the nature of the world, questions I find intriguing.
Firiel’s “true goal” for this journey doesn’t really seem to fit her, though they try and show it does make sense. It doesn’t seem to though. Hopefully, over the next few volumes she will learn to get over it. (If this title sells well enough to survive.) What would be better still, is if she uses the brain that impressed me in previous volumes and looks deeper into the secrets of the Good Witch of the West that be found at the equator, their next destination. This series has a little bit of everything, fantasy, drama, romance, and action. I highly recommend it.
Grenadier Volume 5
By Sousuke Kaise
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action/Fan Service
Rushuna, Yajiro, and Mikan finally reach the Imperial Capital, and Rushuna only has time enough to get new clothes before she is attacked by the Juttensen. The attacker this time is….dressed in a big bunny suit. But he’s still wicked fast. Rushuna must sacrifice another outfit to survive this encounter. Then she must face the leader Ouka, who it turns out they have an unexpected connection to. Meanwhile Yajiro gets caught in a rebel attack against the city, and must face someone from his past, flashback and all.
Grenadier, at it’s core, is just an excuse for fan service wrapped in a generic plot. Every other chapter is an excuse to get Rushuna clothes blown off so that only tattered rags unplausabily cover her breasts and other regions. There is supposed to be some plot of Rushuna trying to find the truth about her past that she can’t remember, but hardly anything’s ever said about that. Yajiro has had more plot development than Rushuna. And this volume is no exception. Yajiro’s lunch is interrupted by the rebels attacking the city, and is confronted with a person from his past; the brother of the girl we’ve seen in Yajiro’s flashbacks. This encounter explains who she was, and why Yajiro is on the path he is.
While the fan service isn’t as offense as it could be, it gets old real fast. But the characters are interesting, though only barely enough to keep anyone using their brain entertained. Perhaps the next volume will have some actual plot, now that they are in the Imperial Capital. But I’m not going to hold my breath.