Monday, July 25, 2011

Manga Monday: Monster Hunter Orage

Monster Hunter Orage (Volume 1)
Hiro Mashima

I picked up this manga just because I thought that it sounded like a lot of fun, before realizing that it was by the creator of Fairy Tail, another manga that I was really impressed with.  And I wasn't let down by this title either.  Like with Fairy Tail, the artwork and fast-paced storytelling of Monster Hunter Orage reminded me a lot of the insanely popular One Piece by Eiichiro Oda, with expressive cartoony characters, and a good mix of humor and action.  And like both of those other titles, the main protagonist, Shiki Ryuuhou, is a fun-loving, but kind of dim guy with a heart of gold.  He's a monster hunter, taught from a young age by Greylee, a man who he came to regard with reverence, like a father figure.  Since Greylee died in a horrible accident, Shiki has taken it upon himself to finish his learning as a monster hunter and carry out the task of finding the legendary monster Miogaruna.  Fast forward a few years, at the beginning of his quest as a young man, Shiki sets out to battle some monsters and make some friends, as monster hunters typically have companions to aid them while doing battle.  After some initial reluctance he finds such a companion in the form of Ailee Jescar, the daughter of Greylee, and makes more friends (and a few enemies) on the way to fulfilling his quest.   Monster Hunter Orage is actually based on a video game, but Mashima really seems to make it his own in a compelling story with characters that interact with each other in a very natural way.  While Shiki often just seems to be present as comic relief, he really shines in moments that show how genuine and passionate he is about what he is doing.  My only real complaint is that some of the action sequences are a little hard to follow, but other than that, this is pretty solid storytelling, but not quite as enchanting as Mashima's original concept, Fairy Tail.

No comments: