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volume 3 issue 9

In This Issue

Contents 2
Features 3
Chasing Otakuism 12
Anime Briefs 13
Reviews 14
Web Showcase 24
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INFO FILE
Title:
Bastard!! Vol.1
Format:
Left-Right Manga
200 pages
Production:
Kazushi Hagiwara
VIZ Communications
Comments:
Originally published in 1988, Hagiwara's Heavy Metal and Role-Playing Game influenced manga finally makes it over here in a new "complete" edition.
Overall Rating:
76%

Animefringe Reviews:
Bastard!! Vol.1
By Patrick King

Maybe it's all the shoujo I've been reading lately, but I really needed to take a testosterone break, and when a few copies of Bastard!! arrived at my bookstore, I took it as an omen and ran home with it. While this volume easily satisfies my innate primal manly urges, it hasn't quite earned my complete respect. Perhaps after a few more readings... or after I see the anime version.

Bastard!! is somewhat of a parody of fantasy/action manga. It follows the exploits of 400 year old super-powerful wizard by the name of Dark Schneider...trapped in the body of a young boy after his reincarnation. Let's face it, you've got to get at least a little kick out of a series with an ancient evil wizard as the main hero. The twist here is that he can only take control of Lucien (his host body) when he is kissed by a virgin. It's been more than a decade since he's surfaced. Part of his soul has mixed with the dopey innocent persona of Lucien, tempering his evil and giving him a sweet spot for Tia Noto Yoko, Lucien's lovely young caretaker (and handy virgin). After Dark Schneider's defeat, relative peace settled upon the lands, but now war is brewing again as his old forces come together and try to finish the job of conquering the world - a job Schneider began years ago. This time, however, he's working for the other side...

Bastard!! came out waaaaaaay back in 1988 (the same year my Trans Am was born, by the way), and so it's no surprise to discover that it possesses somewhat older character designs. Nothing in this series looks bad, per se, but everything is noticeably rough - though this actually adds to the style instead of detract from it. However, nifty style aside, this isn't the best-looking manga I've ever seen. It's not bad and certainly above average, but visually things are as good as they have to be. Personally, I get a kick out of the 80's metal feel of the designs, though I can't help but wonder why the metal-band look fits so well with fantasy. Must be one of those mysteries of life...

At this point in the story, Bastard!! is slightly convoluted. There's a huge back history here, and I'm sure its depth will increase as more volumes are released. For now, I'll just have to wait for the next issue. For an introductory volume, it's set at a slightly lower price point ($14.95 US) than usual, though I had to knock off some points for being flipped. You'd think that new manga would no longer be altered to read the wrong way, but I suppose only time will change things. Luckily, the producers of the English version of Bastard!! chose to keep Hagiwara's original wacky notes in the sidelines, and they included an interview with the creator for good measure, as well. Again, this was fun to read, but there's not too much redeeming value yet, though plenty of potential to drastically turn this fact around. We'll just have to see...

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