Thursday, July 05, 2007

Le Chevalier d'Eon, v.1

Story by Tou Ubukata, art by Kiriko Yumeji
Published in the U.S. by Del Rey Manga

Slugline: d'Eon, spy for Louis XV, lets his dead sister do the dirty work of cleaning up the mass murderers in Paris.

Apparently, horror can be spiced up with a few random Bible verses and throwing the name "Thoth" around. (Why would the Egyptian god of scribes patronize a sword?) And also by setting it in pre-Revolutionary France so we can enjoy the costuming even though it's terribly impractical for fighting in. Add yet another goofy action hero -- one who seems more inept than usual, even though he's supposedly the king's spy -- who's posessed by the vengeful spirit of his dead sister, the "Chevalier", crazed "poets" prone to turning into toothy snakes, and a big heaping pile of publisher's hype and here we are. Chevalier d'Eon.

The art reminds me of Priest, deliberately rough, reminiscent of woodcuts, and so busy in the details that I think clarity begins to suffer. Sadly, there's also a certain lack of imagination here. There's plenty of combat, but none of it particularly original. There are plenty of characters, none of them particularly innovative in their depiction or their actions within the story. Toward the end, a little effort is put into developing what may be a real character but by that time, I was thinking of the next manga I had to read.

And the most discouraging point is, I think, that anybody with the slightest observational powers ought to notice the rather distinctive cat who hangs out with both the Chevalier and d'Eon. Duh, people.

Maybe the anime kicks ass. I'll still give that the benefit of a doubt.

Le Chevalier d'Eon, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Miranda

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