Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jyu-Oh-Sei, vol. 1

By Natsumi Itsuki
Released in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline:Classic sci-fi straight out of creature double feature era.

Thor and Rai are identical brothers with radically different personalities. Rai is the studious type wanting to be scientist while Thor wants to be a pilot, but since they are sons of one of the leaders of Earth colonized solar system, they are being pushed more towards leadership positions. But somethings happens, and their parents are killed with the brothers exiled to the secret prison planet Chimera, where the days are months long and the environments are so harsh that most die. Thor and Rai are separated, and Thor learns that his weaker brother has died. In order to get revenge for his family and to get the necessary treatment that all inhabitants of this solar system need to live into their twenties, Thor decides to become the Beast King, leader of Chimera and the sole person allowed off world. In this he assisted by Tiz , one of the few women on the planet that seems astonished by Thor's ability to resist her blunt demands and Third, a character that Thor is rightly suspicious of.

Before cable, you would be able to watch barely logical sci-fi pulp shows and movies on Saturday, dating back to the 50-60s. Popular sci-fi at that them was an uneasy mix of the big idea, the idea of planet's rotation being so slow that it the day/night would be seasons and other little twists on sci-fi tropes. But the big focus of the story would always be the pulp aspects with dramatic rescues, allies who seem to be villains (much like early portrayals of Flash Gordon allies Zarkov and Barin), treacherous environments, even more treacherous enemies and despite the presence of blasters most of the combat being hand to hand. So by the modern styles of sci-fi this is horribly dated, but it also fun and while I would trade my Phillip K. Dick novels for it, it is sci-fi story that many will be able to identify with.

Jyu-Oh-Sei, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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