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Friday, September 3, 2010

Hyde and Closer vol. 1 Impression

Haro Aso, not an insult but the creator and artist of Hyde & Closer volume 1 from Viz’s Shonen Sunday line of manga. A story that may seem kid friendly with its stuffed animal bear but this story is a bit more grown up with tons of shamanic and sorcery to be had. Who is Hyde and why is he protecting Closer, let’s take a look.

Shunpei Closer is not the most confident or capable kid, He’s clumsy, timid, bad at sports and nothing like his adventurous grandfather whom he idolizes. Sadly Shunpei’s grandfather went missing 6 years ago while exploring the mysteries of Africa. His grandfather’s fate remains a mystery until a mysterious package arrive with a stuffed animal monkey inside. Soon the monkey comes alive and tries to kill Shunpei revealing much about his grandfather, the little nugget of him being King of Sorcerers. Seems with his grandfather missing any sorcerer willing to eat Shunpei’s heart will gain the power of the Sorcerer King. What’s a clumsy boy to do, well how about be saved by Hyde, a stuffed animal bear given to Shunpei by his grandfather years before. Wielding an insane chainsaw not only will Hyde protect Shunpei but he’ll also help him gain confidence and protect himself using sorcery from six sorcerers who are after his heart. How ill Shunpei cope, will he survive and what happened to his grandfather. The story is just beginning.

So a story about sorcery and the youthful grandson of the King of Sorcerers. The art does not set itself apart from most manga with the various dolls being the exception. From a design standpoint, not the exact art but overall design this story reminds me very much of Shaman King. No the art is not as polished or unique but the different sorcerers, three in this volume, and their dolls are all unique. In Shaman King each character had a unique look, global look with spirits to match while Hyde and Closer keeps this going with unique global characters and dolls to match. The art itself is not as polished as Shaman King and the cover does no justice to the detail inside. There is a solid style to each pen stroke, each character that shows much potential, a fine looking story. Environments are fairly detailed as they play a big role in the story and its spells.

The story also feels familiar as it follows the clumsy youth with hidden powers plotline. Shunpei is not as confident as the cover image suggest but he’s getting there and all thanks to the help of not only Hyde but lessons learned as a youth from his grandfather. Like Shaman King seeing new characters and battles is such a huge hook of this book and this genre in general but there is also mystery. What happened to Shunpei’s grandfather? It’s not a 100% original story but it’s well done, brings the reader along and pumps up the action and back-story in a nice flow. I see much potential in this series and would suggest it to fans of Shaman King and magic/sorcery based manga.

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