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Review: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 2 by Keiko Nobumoto

Wolf2Title: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 2
Author: Keiko Nobumoto
Series: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 2
Genre: Science Fiction Manga
Format: Paperback
Source:  Library
Pub. Year: 2004
Purchase: Amz/ B&N/ TBD

There is no blurb for this book so all I will say is “The epic conclusion to the search for Paradise  ”

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Random: Different ending in the anime and a different Blue. Watch the anime instead, it did come out first.

Wow. I thought the first book was fast-paced but it doesn’t compare to the second and final volume of the story. It is overloaded with information and action. It really should have had at least two more volumes.

No new characters were really introduced (except a few minor characters) but there is more background on the motivations of the characters. We learn why Quent hates the wolves and it has to do with his family. His background was well-executed for being a minor character. Darcia wants to open paradise for Hamona who was cursed by Paradise or the quest to find Paradise placed her in a coma. He wants to awaken her using Paradise but the manga doesn’t say how she entered a coma state. As a villain, Darcia has the interesting look but without knowing the story about Hamona, he is not a fantastic villain. She is driving force behind Darcia so it is necessary to learn about her in order to understand him. Cheza’s past is also reveal and she has a tragic story behind her but at the same time, it’s not her story as it is the story of those who created her. She didn’t suffered through the fates that they did but it is still very sad. I wish there was more details on Cheza’s creation and her powers. She is a creation of the Nobles to open Paradise but there is so much of Paradise that is left unanswered. What is Paradise exactly? How did Darcia obtained that special eye of his?

The elements of tragedy were poorly executed in this manga. There is not enough of a background on the characters for the readers to feel truly sympathetic. Quent’s background and Kiba’s background are the only stories that have a well-placed empathy trigger. Another well-placed trigger is Blue but that might be an anger trigger because Blue’s story follows a different path than the one she followed in the anime. It’s the complete opposite of her anime path so that is interesting and honestly, it’s a little hard to believe in…if the reader has a knowledge of how the anime goes.

I may not know a lot about art but I recognized a fatal flaw in the artwork. There is a specific scene where the original flower maidens died and formed a skeleton mountain. It’s supposed to be a beautiful but tragic death. The mountain looks nice but it lost the full affect of the beautiful tragedy when the mountain was split in half because the center of the mountain is the book bind. Only one side of the mountain is visible so it’s not as grandiose as it could be. That mountain should have taken up both pages or one full page where the magnitude and the tragedy of the deaths could excel.

While the tragedy aspects of this manga fall short, it is really great at wondering what Paradise can mean to anyone. Quent feels he lost Paradise with his family but then questions whether Paradise means humans helping each other. Not just humans but also wolves and humans helping each other. He is a character that has a complete transformation cycle. Darcia’s Paradise would leave everyone else behind so he has a darker view of Paradise. Tia, the flower girl that Toboe met, believes that Paradise can be created anywhere, that it is not a specific place. Her line of thinking is in like with Quent’s.  One thing is clear that the majority of the character agreed that Paradise is about unity. The ending is quite nice (and different than the anime); there is a sense of hope that everything will work out. There is a final battle between Kiba and Darcia which is not as epic as in the anime but it’s still a nice battle.

In the end, this manga should have used a few extra volumes to hash out the details and the background of the characters. The artwork tends to have great facial expressions, especially the eyes, but there are just certain scenes that did not work. The majority of the artwork is solid and pretty good though. Read this manga as a companion to the anime but not as a standalone. Quent’s background and the idea of Paradise  are what makes this manga worth reading.

3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

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78th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: M/GN/VG, Second in a Series, Science Fiction, Dystopia, TV Addict

Review: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 1 by Keiko Nobumoto

Title: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 1
Author: Keiko Nobumoto
Artist: Toshitsugu Iida
Series: Wolf’s Rain Vol. 1
Genre: Manga
Format: Paperback
Source:  Library
Pub. Year: 2003
Purchase: Amz/ B&N

Blurb from B&N:

Four wolves on the run from mankind answer the highest, most dire calling-they seek the legendary Paradise. From the creators of Cowboy Bebop and Escaflowne comes this new manga take on the hit suspense anime Wolf’s Rain. Humans thought the wolves died off two centuries ago in this bleak post-apocalyptic wasteland. But some survivors lurk among the humans by mentally cloaking their animal bodies. One white wolf, Kiba, scours the land for the scent of the Lunar Flower that will lead them all to Paradise…

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Random: Starting to notice a pattern. Watch anime, then read the manga version.

I love the anime of Wolf’s Rain so I had to pick this manga up. It’s a much faster pace than the anime though.

Character wise, the majority of the anime cast is present in the book. The wolf pack consists of Kiba (the emotionless but true believer of Paradise), Tsume (cynical of Paradise), Hige (always hungry) and Toboe (the kid). They are not best friends and just join forces because when you are being shot at, it’s the only rational thing to do. We have Detective Hubb Lebowski and his ex-wife, Dr. Cher Degre. Cher is the scientist who is analyzing Cheza the Lunar Flower and key to Paradise (so the wolves are tracking Cheza). There is also Quent the wolf hunter and his dog, Blue. They may play an important part later because he is determined to kill the wolves. The villain is Darcia who looks fantastic with his crazy porcelain mask and black hair flying everywhere. He is what a villain should should like. Strong and paralyzing. Everyone is pretty much interested in Cheza and her abilities.

What Paradise is..is Paradise like the Garden of Eden. The wolves are looking for it because they are near extinction. It’s not explicit as to why Kiba is looking for it but it could be a new home for the wolves because it looks like only wolves can track Cheza down. Cher has to analyze Cheza for the sake of science. What Darcia wants with Cheza is not explicit in the manga yet but like all good villains, I hope he will eventually reveal why he is after the Lunar Flower’s abilities.

Like I said, it is fast paced so perhaps not all the character are completely open to the readers. All the main characters are introduce right way but it is easy to keep track of them because they are drawn with unique features. The plot is pretty simple, everyone is looking for Cheza. They just want to find or have her. There are some minor sub-plots like Toboe meeting Tia and learning about the flower legend and the complicated relationship between Hubb and Cher.

Overall, it was pretty decent. It’s not a complicated plot, it’s just “Find Cheza.” All the characters are unique so there is not problem to identify them but they haven’t been given much of a personal background. They almost appear one dimensional but they are not. The art is amazing and so is the dialogue. The dialogue can be funny at times like Tsume saying that if they (the wolves) have to resort cannibalism that they shouldn’t eat Kiba because “he is full of crap.” I think it is hilarious; Tsume with his cynical and sarcastic is probably the best character of the series.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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76th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: M/GN/VG, TV Addict, Science Fiction, Dystopia, First in a Series