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Friday, August 15, 2008

Ral Ω Grad vol. 1 Impression


I originally published this on Comics Alliance back on December 4th, 2007, before it came out. Ral Ω Grad volume 1 from Viz is rock solid, lets see what I said before.

From artist of Death Note, Takeshi Obata with story by Tsune Takano Ral Grad is the story of a Dragon, a shadow dragon sealed away in a baby boy. During a great war shadow monsters began to appear, monsters that could live in a persons (or animals) shadow, share the host's body, control the body or completely consume the host and use their shape for deception. These shadows are evil for the most part, with rare exceptions such as Ral and Grad. See Grad is a shadow dragon, a very powerful one who was sealed by a knight in the body of a baby, and the baby was sealed in a tomb with no light. Day after day the boy grew and was tutored by Mio, a young lady not too bad on the eyes. When shadows attack the kingdom has no choice but to enlist the help of the innocent Ral and his dragon Grad. They are released, save the day and Ral starts to learn about the finer things in life, mainly women. He loves him some ladies and will do anything to protect them, even setting out on a journey to vanquish the evil queen of the shadows, herself only concerned with being beautiful.

That is a quick, quick summary of Ral Grad, called Blue Dragon in Japan, not tied to the Microsoft video game here in the states. The art, coming from Obata is outstanding and the story crafted by Takano is both funny and violent with clashes of monsters and shadows that's going to look great when it's animated (it will be). As a character Grad is wise and guides the young Ral, who's no pushover himself, even though he lets on that he is. As the story progresses new friends join the journey, enemies are revealed as are powers, pretty standard fare for an action anime. What sets Ral Grad apart is story, or I should say the potential in the story. The mix of unique characters and shadow powers has reliving my Blue Dragon days on the Xbox, but finally getting the mature adventure I wanted. Here's to hoping this story really progresses, until then Ral Grad is a must buy for any fantasy, action manga fan.

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