Monday, February 22, 2010

Kyo Kara MAOH! vol. 4 by Tomo Takabayashi and Temari Matsumoto review

Kyo Kara MAOH! vol. 4

Author/Artist: Tomo Takabayashi/Temari Matsumoto

Publisher: TOKYOPOP

Rating: T – ages 13 and above

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

Grade: A

Having recovered Morgif things seem to be looking up for our group of Mazoku heroes. But it turns out that to activate Morgif’s demonic powers a human life needs to be absorbed. Their plan of witnessing a death at the nearest hospital fails all thanks to Wolfram’s beauty. The next plan of attack comes thanks to a flier that Wolfram gets his hands on. It advertises that they need an attractive young man with his own sword to witness a death. Because they need the life and are somewhat desperate Yuri applies for the position. Once he secures the post he learns that the job isn’t quite as innocent as the ad made it sound. It seems that this is a gladiatorial type event and Yuri is the one who will take the young man’s life. Will Yuri be able to set aside his personal beliefs for the greater good of his country?

When it comes to fish out of water stories this one is definitely one of the best. I’m still enamored with it. Matsumoto-sensei has really brought Takabayashi-sensei’s story to life and filled it to the brim with beautiful bishies, gorgeous costumes, and stunning backdrops. The characters are coming into their own and we get to witness these different sides to each character. It is apparent that Wolfram in settling into the role of fiancée well. Seeing how I love the world of BL I’m trying to figure out which character will be the top and which one will be the bottom, because the way I see it both Yuri and Wolfram are both bottoms. But that’s the fangirl in me speaking. One of the most surprising characters is Gwendal. He comes across as a grumpy, fussy, ball of intensity but regardless of how serious he is he knits cute stuffed animals and loves all things cute. Underneath his crusty exterior is a kind, caring and thoughtful man. The other surprising character is Gunter. It seems that before Yuri became king Gunter was serious, studious, and capable of everything. Since Yuri’s arrival Gunter is known to be prone to constant nose bleeds, moments of pure insanity, and bouts of paranoia. Of course he’s still able to fulfil all his duties capably and quickly.

I would have given this volume an A+ but there are few issues that I have with the production. Since the story spans many volumes I’ve noticed that there seems to be some spelling continuity issues. The first one is the spelling of the name of the island that Morgif resides. The first time the island’s official name shows up as Vandervia Island (Kyo Kara MAOH! vol. 2). In subsequent volumes it is spelled Van Der Veer Island. The next spelling issue is with the name of the former monarch and Gwendal, Conrad, and Wolfram’s mother. In the first volume she says to call her Celi but the spelling is always changing. In the last few volumes they’ve been using is Tseri which would be the way you could see it being used for the Japanese translation but by using both spellings it makes it kind of annoying (at least to me). The final thing is more of a comparison between the anime and the manga. In the anime the only people who refer to Conrart (the official pronounciation) as Conrad are those that are from Earth. In the manga they all call him Conrad be they those in Shinmakoku or those from Earth. That’s just me being weird and my proofreading coming out to play.

Volume 4 is a pretty skinny volume but it pretty much wraps up the quest for Morgif and introduces us to the next adventure that Yuri finds himself experiencing. Regardless of my petty issues (that is just my obsessive/compulsive disorder coming out to play) I still highly recommend this series. You can’t beat bishies, nosebleeds, and string bikini underwear! Oh, and the story is fun too!

If you're interested feel free to check out the reviews for any of the previous volumes:
vol.1, vol. 2, vol. 3!

***Review Copy purchased through Amazon.com***

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