In the continent of Consume, an endless war rages between bitter rivals: the Segua Kingdom vs. the Ninteldo Empire. Upon his dinosaur steed, the stern Emperor Marcus has led the Ninteldo Empire to near victory. Now, with the majority of Consume under its control, Ninteldo has Segua up against the ropes.

Enter a fleet-footed lad named Gear, who seeks vengeance against Ninteldo for his brother’s death. After joining Segua’s Army, Gear is enlisted in the Special Forces to put his preternatural speed to good use. But will the inexperienced, impulsive youth be ready to face the realities of war?

World War Blue Volume 1
wwb_vol1_fullStory by Anastasia Shestakova; Art by Crimson
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Action/Game
Price: $11.99
Rating: ★★★☆☆

When I first heard the premise of World War Blue, I was intrigued. I’ve always been interested in the console wars, and seeing them brought to life sounded like a fun idea. In practice, I found the execution problematic, though the story isn’t without it’s merits.

World War Blue starts by introducing three characters; the fleet-footed Gear and his friends Tial and Nel. They are the only survivors of a Ninteldo attack five years previous, on their village of Marcthree. When Ninteldo soldiers return, Tial is killed, which spurs Gear to join Segua’s Army. But Gear’s extraordinary speed isn’t the only thing special about him. He is what is called a “Killer”, warriors that possess great power. Along with fellow Killers Opal and Tejirov, Gear trains to become stronger before going on a mission to save the Segua Army’s leader, General Alex.

There were a lot of things I liked about this volume. I liked Gear. He’s pretty much how I would imagine a human version of Sonic the Hedgehog to be. He is very much the shonen hero, with the tragic loss that sends him on his journey, his direct attacks and reliance on pure strength. He’s confident in his abilities, but also willing to learn more. He makes a good lead, and that seemed like a good start.

I also liked how the video games were translated into characters. All the characters in this story are based on Sega video games. Gear and Tial is obvious. Nel is based on a character from Fantasy Star Online, a popular RPG back in the day. Ramses, a Lt. General in the Segua Army is based on the game Columns. Her roots aren’t so obvious. Opal has a better connection to her game, Fantasy Zone, in both her name and power. Seeing Nintendo’s Mario as the big, buff armored Emperor Marcus was kind of weird. Tejirov is a mercenary from the neutral country of Lorgue, and is based on Tetris. This is fairly obvious as he obsesses over the number 4. Shestakova did a good job creating their characters and integrating the important traits from their games to make them recognizable, but not glaringly so.

In between each chapter there were short talks about the history of video games and the “war” between Nintendo and Sega. I loved these sections. They tell about the hardware, focus on some of the games, and tell of the fall of Atari that led to Nintendo and Sega’s rise. Shestakova integrates these elements into the story as well with great success.

Since I likes so much of the title, you may be wondering what it was I didn’t like. It was all the male gaze. The women are mostly big breasted and in short skirts. The artist Crimson spared no time in getting in upskirt shots and nearly nude moments for them. Most of that I can handle, but Tejirov is the straw that breaks this manga’s back. His not so subtle inudendo bordered on annoying as was his groping. It really broke what I thought was an otherwise enjoyable story.

World War Blue is a title that won’t appeal to everyone. It’s focus on an older time in video game history may not be of interest to newer gamers who only know the next-gen systems; Playstation, Game Cube/Wii, and XBox. But for those who are interested, or those of us old enough to remember playing Tetris on the NES, or buying a Genesis just to play Sonic the Hedgehog, this is a great series. If you can get past the male gaze.

 

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