Wednesday, December 05, 2007

King of Cards, vol. 1

Written and illustrated by Makoto Tateno
Released in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: You know that feeling when you get that you have a target on your back? Sometimes that is a really big target.

Disclaimer: I also work in the hobby gaming industry, so perhaps I have a little bit of a soft spot for this.

Manami has been convinced by her cousin to try out the card game Chaos, so she begins with a starter deck. She has the good and bad fortune of pulling the rarest card of the game, Sahgan the Sorcerer, in her starter deck. That immediately puts a target on her, since virtually no one has even seen the card, so people in the gaming community start offering to trade for the card and challenging her to games, with Sahgan as the prize. Some of her competitors become friends and some remain her enemies, but she manages to keep her card, for in her dreams she receives guidance from it.

I have some sympathy for the main character here. In another uncomfortable hint on just how old I am, back when Magic: the Gathering first came out, I bought a starter and some boosters. Played a couple times, then the Magic frenzy hit, and I put away my deck because no one would just play. Fast forward a few years and I take out my deck to play a couple friendly games, and everyone in the store wanted to start trading for my black-bordered Beta printing Magic cards. Those friendly games didn't stay friendly for long as everyone started to want playing me for ante. Of course, King of Cards ramps that up to the nth degree. There is the fudge factor that Manami is not naturally talented but rather relies on dreams that Sahgan sends here in order to win, but that is still better than the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX vol. 1 I reviewed a while back, where it seemed that main character's ability relied solely on his ability to draw the right card at the right time. As far as I know, there is no Chaos game, but the rules seem simple enough that one doesn't have to be a card game master to understand the various strategies. The concept of respecting your cards shows a little bit of naivety, because that sort of emotional connection to your deck very rarely happens. But with clean art style helps compensate for some the simplistic story elements, and while I don't find this title particularly awe-inspiring, it was an entertaining read.

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


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