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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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12/12/2004 Archived Entry: "Manga Review: Beet, The Vandel Buster, Vol. 2"

Beet The Vandel Buster, Vol. 2
Story by Riku Sanjo
Art by Koji Inada
Published by VIZ

Review by Tom Good

Beet The Vandel Buster takes place in a world where evil magical creatures called Vandels have taken over. The activities of the Vandels resemble a typical fantasy Role-Playing Game in reverse: the Vandels get "points" and a type of money called Sorcery Bills in return for attacking humans and disrupting their society. Vandels can use these Sorcery Bills to purchase new monsters, such as giant beetles or living torches called "Criminal Torch." One of the Vandel leaders of is a giant humanoid rabbit named Shagie, who is the Chief of the Dark House of Sorcery.

Beet, the hero of the story, is a boy who has dedicated himself to destroying the Vandels. He fights with a spear in this episode, which is a nice change from the standard issue giant sword that many manga heroes carry. Beet's pretty companion Poala reminds me of Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess. Together they must face Grineed and Beltorze, two powerful Vandels, as well as a variety of monsters.

The artwork in this book is cute and well-executed. Detailed backgrounds establish the sweeping landscape of Beet's world, the characters are engaging, action scenes are suitably dynamic, and Koji Inada's art does a great job of conveying the massive size of some of the monsters.

Where the book disappoints is in the dialogue, which often falls flat. This could be a problem with the translation, but then again the Japanese version might be similar. Occasionally the dialogue is amusing and memorable just because it is so odd, as in this exchange: "Thus, the efforts of Vandels like me, who systematically dismantle human society, shall be valued at a higher priority level." "Of course! That's why they call you the clever honcho of deep green!" This is funny, but mainly because it keeps the reader guessing about whether a Vandel will eventually say "All your base are belong to us."

Ultimately, in spite of the dialogue this is still a fun manga. If an RPG-like setting with plenty of magic and monsters appeals to you, check this one out.

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