Monday, November 11, 2013

Manga Review: Marin (Volume One)

Another emanga/DMG title and I was quite delighted when I opened it up and saw how retro the art style was. Despite that however I'll note that some point I thought I saw a note saying that book is from 1992 but I can't seem to find my source for that again, although I've found another source saying it's from 1998. If that is the case however then it's not quite old enough to be retro (I refuse to call anything younger than myself retro until I'm at least 30) but doesn't change the fact that I wished I had checked it out earlier because of the artwork.

Marin (volume one) by Miyoko Satomi

Summary: Marin wants to live out his life as a cute, normal boy who happens to have a talent for fortune telling rather than learning magic like his grandfather wants him to. However it seems like he's going to have to pick up a few tricks for his own safety since he's suddenly being targeted by strange people left and right, thank goodness it seems that he already knows more magic than he already thought....

The Good: Somewhat episodic supernatural stories are just up my alley so I rather liked it, I think it's my favorite DMG manga I've reviewed so far and there have certainly been some other good ones in the mix. It's true that a lot of the set-up, someone doesn't want to get involved with magic yet turns out to have a surprising aptitude for it which comes in handy, is fairly tired but I rather liked Marin and his buddy Rikishi, just something about their personalities worked well for me (I think in Marin's case it's because while you often see the "cute young boy whose popular with girls" trope they're rarely the main character, so that was a nice change for me). The plot also doesn't play out expectedly or with any special reveals, aside from the fact it was a bit darker/gorier in places than I expected, so again, for me what made the story enjoyable was that this was the right combination of looks, characters, and genre, not stunning technical prowess in the writing or such.

The Bad: I'm not quite sure where this story is going and it's puzzling me. Fiction has taught me that with great powers comes great plots but I don't know if there will turn out to be a group pulling the strings behind all of the events in Marin's life or if all these incidents will turn out to be unrelated after all, so far some of them seem rather random. It doesn't help that I can't seem to find much information on the series either, it looks like it was part of a two volume series which I suspect means that either Satomi wasn't sure what kind of story she wanted to write either or that it was unpopular enough that it got canned before everything could get really moving.

The Art: The art is a bit of an odd mix here actually, the characters look more like they're from the 1970s than the 1990s (note the big eyes and lack of pomanders mullets on the male characters) but the use of screentones feels more modern to me (especially some of the special effects against various monsters, felt like I was reading something from the 90s then!). Whatever decade it's from, the paneling flows fairly well but some of the characters look a bit to similar to each other and made me wonder if I had missed someone explaining that they were related or such.

I whole-heartedly recommend this book and, if my research is right and there are just two volumes, I hope that DMG gets the second volume as well. And if there are more than two volumes, well, obviously I hope they get as many as there are and I hope that someone informs me of just how many there are then! As of writing this book is digital only and can be read online or downloaded once purchased.