Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Aventura, vol. 1

By Shin Midorikawa
Released in the US by Del Rey Manga

: A school that teaches kids how to use swords and magic. Yeah, nothing can go wrong here.

The Gaius School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has two tracks, one for magicians and one for swordsman. Of course, since this is a manga the swordsman can cause earthquakes with their swords, but that is besides the point. Lewin has been accepted into the school despite not having any magical ability, so he decided to go into the swordsman track. But he longs to be in the magician track despite his claimed inability, for he can make very small fires even without magic. One day in the library, looking for ways to clean his old and somewhat rusty sword, he makes friends with some students that are on the magician track. They sneak him into the magician side of campus a few times, and during one visit unknowingly release reanimated skeletons into the magician campus, where the neophyte underclass magicians do not have the skills yet to take care of them, leaving Lewin and some of the teachers to deal with them.

Aventura does feel inspired by the Harry Potter books, but it is merely an inspiration and the title does have a definite Japanese twist to it, such as the importance of the swords. The art does have the problem that in the action sequences of being a little too busy, so that all the speed lines serve to slow the comprehension rather than convey the power of the blows, but that is just one of my general problems I tend to have. The story also does itself no favors by claiming that Lewin is without any magical ability, because it is so blatant that he does have some, so that it is hard to give credence to the teacher's and Lewin's own lack of faith in their existence. It only serves to undercut the eventual reveal of his abilities, whenever that will be, because by the time it happens the readers will be anxious to get it over with rather than being in the moment. I also lost the story thread about the elf supporting character, over why some of his actions seem to have a deeper meaning that is what is first apparent, but these are relatively minor flaws in an otherwise satisfactory title.

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


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