By Mamiya Takizaki
Released in the US by TokyoPop
Slugline: Good characterization can save average plots. Nothing funny about that.
Kam is an orphan (always a orphan) living in a post-apocalyptic fantasy realm, with creatures called Rizom roaming the countryside in between the walled cities killing those without protection. There is some under the table skull-drudgery by the various political factions that are trying to protect and control the remains of humanity, while Kam is trying to escape the legacy of heroic father and leave the city before friends and created family discover his secrets.
Whole swathes of the story are fairly generic, but it is handled with a deft hand so that the character motivations seem their own rather than selected out of the cookbook. When Kam turns back to save a friend, it is not because he is inherently noble, but because it reflects on his character and the lessons he has learned. I think the power-up at the end of the volume was not necessary, there was already enough of a mystery about what is happening to Kam's body (no symbolism of puberty here) there was no need to go there yet. Still, the characters make sense, something that isn't always true in action titles.
Element Line, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.