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Monday, April 6, 2009

Ral Ω Grad, vol 2 Impression

Ral Grad Manga volume 2
Ral Ω Grad volume 2 from Viz offers up more of the outstanding art of Takeshi Obata while building out Tsuneo Takano’s storyline of humans in a world of shadow beast. This is not some kiddified, shadow driven adventure, this is full on adult action.

Rested and ready to go it’s time for Ral, Grad, Miss Mio and Aia to move onto Sphaelite castle. Having spent time at Stora castle the journey must continue and with the urging of the Queen, Kafka and his shadow Riz also join the journey after many invitations by Ral, all turned down. As the troupe enters Sphaelite castle they are encountered with a new mystery, disappearing maidens. Even with the large wall and fortification it seems shadows have made it inside the castle and are slowly picking off the young ladies there. After thwarting an attempt to take Miss Mio the group is approached by a young boy, Sunsu, whom Ral promises can accompany the group across the sea if he can make himself useful, say with a water shadow. Sure enough Sunsu comes through and Ral honors his agreement. The group seems to be following in the steps of the White Tiger, Sir Ganette, a man both legendary and powerful who has already made his way across the ocean to confront Queen Opsquria. Ganette is shown accompanied by two lovely ladies each with their own powers and shows just how powerful he is with the bodies left on the beach as well as at sea, but not all is calm on the ocean. Ral’s group must fight their way across the sea and even encounter a young shadow wielder in trouble on the beach. Lucile is her name and a serpent shadow is her partner. After being saved she looks to reward Ral, but not all is as it seems as Ral quickly finds out. It’s a new land, stronger enemies and not everyone can be trusted, humans or shadows.

Ah the transition manga. Yes it’s only volume 2 but already readers are seeing the group expand and make their way to a new land for an eventual confrontation with Opsquria … if Sir Ganette leaves anything to confront. Who knew main characters, even a booby loving one like Ral, could be turned into a second fiddle so quickly in his own book. Sir Ganette seems like the real deal leaving Ral and Kafka to clean-up duty. The story can be text heavy at times but the action, when it hits, is fast and furious. Ral gets to the point and so does the overall story; it’s all about defeating Opsquria. Two volumes out, released from his prison and now onto a new land all for the sake of saving and touching the ladies. The story is mature but oh so excellent thanks in very large part to the art style. The detail, unique look of each character, settings, castles, backgrounds … everything is a joy to read and look at. Obata’s style brought Death Note to a new level of detail and is very unique. Ral’s adventures continue to utilize this art in a more mature story that is not raunchy or rude, just mature.

A great series that is as much a joy to read as to look at, don’t miss out on Ral Ω Grad volume 2 from Viz.

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