The Comic Queen

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Kerry Reads Manga! Culdcept Volume 1

Written by Shinya Kaneko
TokyoPop $9.95

Everyone has one: that friend obsessed with anime, manga or both. I’m lucky enough to have two such friends. They’ve been trying to get me hooked for a few years with medium success. I like Cowboy Bebop. I think Cardcaptor Sakura is cute and funny. I know too, that there are thousands more titles to explore and my friends have been pushing me to watch Azumanga Daioh and One Piece for ages. This month, though, I found a manga to read all on my own.

Culcept is based on the Playstation 2 game of the same name. The game is a combination of Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly blasted on to your TV screen. Players march around a board buying properties and placing creatures on them. To decide if a rent will be paid, two creatures battle it out with weapons and spells. The game is fun and highly addictive.

I heard about the manga some time ago, but didn’t find it until three weeks ago. Finally, I had found a manga to dig into without the advice of my friends. Maybe all their prodding was working?

The story stars young cepter (Culdcept player) Najaran as she battles through her very first tournament. She finds an archenemy in powerful, but snotty cepter Zeneth, but makes other friends along the way. The book ends with a big reveal and twist that is continued, of course, in volume two.

I didn’t have any trouble getting used to the right to left style of manga as an issue of Shonen Jump prepared me for it. Also, the translation was good. There was only one instance where I felt the word choice was odd. Overall, I thought the story and art was of high quality.

The most enjoyable aspect of the book for me was how it ties in with the videogame. The cards Najaran uses can be earned in the videogame. They have the same properties and powers. Also the game basically has the same rules. Goligan, a character from the game, also costars in the book. It is nice that the author stayed true to the game. This is what sold me on this story and future issues as well.

While the book follows and is based on the game, those unfamiliar with Culdcept will have no trouble becoming engrossed in Najaran’s life and game. This is what really makes the book so great.

Bottom Line: B


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