Monday, October 17, 2011

Manga Monday: Drifters (Volume 1)

Kohta Hirano

From the creator of the popular manga Hellsing comes a tale of renowned warriors throughout time being whisked away to a foreign world populated by magical creatures like elves.  American audiences will recognize the names of warriors like Joan of Arc, but Japanese names will likely be lost to most readers.  However, it's still a great concept that plays out with plenty of action.  When these heroes of Earth arrive on this new world through portals, at the brink of death during battles on Earth, they find themselves known as "drifters," foreigners with the power to protect a weak world from a tyrannical ruler.  While much remains a mystery at this point, it seems that one man is gathering these heroes to aid him in his cause in defeating this threat, and small factions of these drifters form, usually from similar geographical locations, and while some have come to save the peaceful world, some are also helping evil try to claim it.  I've never read a book from Kohta Hirano before, and the art is pretty distinct from many manga titles on the shelves.  Everything seems bulkier and carefully drawn without the sleek light hand that you see in a lot of titles.  Events play out very smoothly and cinematically in a story that is quick and keeps readers turning pages.  In the end, however, I wish I'd liked this book more than I did.  With such a rich, cool premise, a lot of neat stuff could have been done, but it ends up being a pretty standard battle manga, just using historical figures in place of the artist's own creations.  Perhaps this series turns into something more exciting as it goes along, but by the end of volume one, it didn't sustain my enthusiasm and didn't leave me with much of an impression.

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