Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kyo Kara MAOH! vol. 1 by Tomo Takabayashi and Temari Matsumoto review

Kyo Kara MAOH! vol. 1

Author/Artist: Tomo Takabayashi/Temari Matsumoto

Publisher: TOKYOPOP

Rating: T – ages 13 and up

Genre: Shojo, Shonen Ai, Comedy, Drama, Action, Fantasy

Grade: A+

While trying to save a former classmate, Ken Murata (remember this name it will come up again later), from some bullies, Yuri Shibuya seems to be the first person to be flushed down the toilet. The bullies were going to give him a swirly but he ended up being sucked into the toilet. When Yuri finally comes to he seems to have been transported to some strange location. He thinks that he's been dumped by the bullies at some theme park, he's being punk'd, or he's dreaming. But he's in for the biggest surprise of his life. After being pelted with rocks and yelled at in some language he doesn't understand when a big, buff macho, dude comes to his rescue (at least we think so). This man grabs his head and soon Yuri is able to understand everyone and what he hears is a bit disturbing. They seem to be talking about him but he's really quite confused and the macho guy is a bit intimidating. But a Knight in Shining Armor comes riding in on horseback. With the help of this mystery man Yuri seems to be saved, but there is one thing that he's confused about. They keep referring to him as "Your Highness."

Yuri's adventures keep coming. He's picked up by a flying skeleton and then taken to a small cottage where he's met by an extremely beautiful man. These two characters are Conrart Weller (who is referred to as Conrad) and Gunter von Kleist. The macho guy is Adalbert von Grantz. Of course Yuri is as confused as ever but his fate is about to be revealed. It turns out that Yuri is to be the next king of Shinmakoku. You see he is a Mazoku, also known as a demon, and he has been called to this land because there is trouble brewing and they need the help of their king. This is all a bit of a surprise to Yuri because he's been raised as a human and knows nothing about his being a demon king. It seems that more adventures await Yuri in the near future, like having to wear string bikini underwear to getting engaged to another man and even being challenged to a duel. Oy!

The reason I picked up Kyo Kara MAOH! is because of Temari Matsumoto and no other reason. I know that sounds kind of dumb but I love her artwork. Matsumoto-sensei is known for her BL releases and I thought that Kyo Kara MAOH! would have some BL in it (BL – boys love). This is a shojo title but there are some small BL moments. This manga is based on a series of novels of the same name and the novels even spawned an anime series (which is also a lot of fun). The cover is beautiful and shows off Matsumoto-sensei's amazing talent. The colors are muted and are very soft and classic looking. The cover has a matte finish and the first couple of pages are in color. Absolutely beautiful. The art wouldn't be as fantastic without a great story and Kyo Kara MAOH! is just that. It combines the perfect amount of action, drama, and comedy. It keeps you guessing all while making you laugh.

Each character has such a unique personality. Conrad is strong willed and caring. Wolfram (Yuri's "Fiancée") is spoiled and kind of annoying. Gwendal (The oldest of the three brothers) is stern and stonefaced. Celi is quite forceful and a bit annoying (she's the former monarch). And then there's Gunter. Gunter seems to behave in extreme ways. He loves Yuri and want's to devote his life to him but he also has his moments where he loses all composure and falls victim to nosebleeds. With this hilarious and fun story combined with Matsumoto-sensei's amazing ability to tell a story with her art makes for a perfect beginning to a very wild ride!

Read Kyo Kara MAOH! especially if you enjoy the anime. I personally prefer the manga over the anime, but that’s just the book lover in me. You won't be disappointed!

***Review Copy purchased at Borders***


Oliver said...

Excellent review! That makes me want to get it now, because I've been looking for a good reason to follow a new Tpop series.

Also, when it read, "From the artist of Kyo Kara Maoh!" on Matsumoto-sensei's BLU titles, I kept wondering, well where's the manga? Here it is finally!

Kris said...

@ Oliver,

Yay! You stopped by! I'm so excited! I know that's kind of a strange thing to be excited over but strange things excite me.

This is definitely a must read TokyoPop title. It has a boys love feel but it's a shojo title with lots of action and so forth. Another TokyoPop title to check out is "Silver Diamond" (I haven't gotten the reviews written yet but it is really good). I hope you like it!