About the Mangaka
Itsuki Natsumi is best known for writing science fiction manga. She debuted in 1979 with Megumi-chan ni Sasageru Comedy in LaLa. She won the 1993 Seiun Award for best science fiction manga for Oz and the 1997 Kodansha Manga Award for shojo manga for Eight Clouds Rising. Several of her works have been adapted as anime, including Jyu Oh Sei, Oz, and Eight Clouds Rising. Her series Demon Sacred and Jyu Oh Sei are licensed in North America by Tokyopop, the anime of Jyu Oh Sei is distributed in English by Funimation.
(snipped from Wikipedia)
About the Manga
Contrary to a lot of other reviews, I actually loved everything about this volume. I was hooked within a few pages, and by the end of the volume I was eager for the next.
This was the first time I’ve heard of Itsuki Natsumi, I’ve never read any of her previous works and wasn’t sure what to expect. However I am a huge fan of the anime Jyu oh Sei and was therefore eager to see how the original manga played out.
All I can say is that I wasn’t disappointed, far from it. Truth be told what really surprised me is how close the first volume of manga followed the anime (or rather how close the anime followed the manga).
Itsuki’s art has a rather old feel to it, which I was surprised about. However it doesn’t hinder the series, rather it fits perfectly. I like the way she draws her characters, especially Thor and Tiz.
What really surprised me however is her use of chibi characters, she’s one of the few mangaka I’ve seen who knows just how and when to use chibi’s. Also the way she draws them aren’t to excessive destroying the mood of the panels
What I really love about this series however is the story. By rights I’m an epic fantasy and high magic fan, but there’s something special about this series that drew me in straight away. I think it’s the way she wraps sci-fi and low-fi together. While the series is set in sci-fi world, the meat of the story takes place in a low tech setting, in such a way it’s fairly easy to forget it’s a sci-fi.
What’s more the characters are all extremely well developed and thought out. Thor, Tiz and Third all have exceptionally well rounded personalities, which is extremely unusually in a first volume.
The battles that Thor goes through are astounding, especially with him trying to obtain his goal, while retaining his humanity. Another aspect of this series I love is it’s size. Normal manga run for around 190-210 pages, Jyu-oh-Sei breaks that amount by clocking in a staggering 360 pages, almost double the normal amount.
Itsuki uses this space perfectly, giving the series room to breath and flow at a healthy pace.
Surprisingly I don’t have any complaints about the Tokyopop release, I didn’t see anything majorly wrong with the translation, with the exception of a few plants being renamed. Overall, for once I was really impressed with the release they did. So much that I think it more than warrants the rather steep price increase.
I can’t wait for this series to be released fully, and I’m hoping that they don’t add this to the axed lists, otherwise I’ll be seriously p’ed off.
This series easily earns a place on my Essential Read list, the first TP release to do so in a while. Hopefully this could be a sign of good things to come??
Where to Buy