Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dorothy of Oz, vol. 1

Son Hee-Joon
Released in the US by Udon

Slugline: After watching or reading thirty billion adaptations of Oz, I could believe that this yellow brick road was really made of gold.

A woman and her three strange companions enter a town along an endless road. The town is under attack from monsters and their military garrison has done little to stop it. It turns out that the military garrison are the monsters and that they are also experimenting on the townsfolk. But it also turns out the four are wanted criminals with the codenames Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion in the Kingdom of Oz. The secret agent Shine seems to have his own agenda for them, but we then flashback to how a Korean girl named Mara ended up in another world called Oz, but not on how she ended up on the run or gained her companions.

I was afraid this version of Oz was going to turn into a cultural Mary Sue (Click here for definition of a Mary Sue) after reading the first couple of a pages. But if it a Mary Sue, it is a well written one, which forgives many literary crimes. It transposes many of the aspects of the Oz stories onto one that is more familiar to manga/manwha readers. Now that I am thinking about it, the Wizard the Oz be one of the prototypes of otherworldly manga stories, where the character leaves an otherwise boring world, becomes important in another one, but yet still yearns to return to their old life. It is not a perfect translations of course, a cowardly lion is not much use in a title with fights so I am not quite sure how that flaw will be expressed here. But they actually set up the book in an interesting way, in that they showed Mara and her companions already on the road having adventures, and then flashing back. This shows up front how your expectations for the story will be challenged, so when you go through the origin story, you are not too anxious to rush through it because you now know it is not going in the expected directions. The strategy worked, for I have a preview of the 2nd volume here also and I will probably read it tonite.

Dorothy of Oz, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.



animajunki123 said...

This Manga has turned out to be more interisting then I first thought it was definetly one I liked when I first picked it up I would highly recommend it to people who are starting out in manga

Prospero's Manga said...

That is one of the downsides of focusing our reviews on the first volume of a series, sometimes you miss the creators improving as the series goes on. I'm glad for you the creator was able to get better over the volumes.