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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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04/26/2005 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Legendz, Vol 1"

Legendz, Vol.1: The Tornado Comes!
Art by Makoto Haruno
Story by Rin Hirai
Published by VIZ, 2003

Review by Kelly S. Taylor

I've got mixed feelings about Legendz. It's an obvious toy tie-in comic for kids. And we all agree that's bad, right? But it's a tie-in for a toy that doesn't actually exist. So that makes it okay, right? The hero is a kid who is obsessed with a game that's a cross between Pokemon and Tamaguchi. And that's not a great role model, right? But the hero is also a charming, optimistic outsider who transcends the challenges in his life and teaches his classmates lessons about teamwork and caring which is pretty cute, right? Like I say, I'm kinda on the fence on this one.

Probably the first thing I should say is that Legendz is obviously aimed at a juvenile reading audience. The main characters are fourth graders which is the last time I thought of sixth graders being as large, powerful, and intimidating as the ones in this story. The storyline moves along briskly, if a bit predictably. For me, the primary thing that saves the plot from mediocrity is that the author doesn't take the characters too seriously. It's no surprise that Ken Kazaki, the main character, is portrayed as being kind, generous, and noble. However in a move an lesser author would not make, we also Ken being kooky, nerdish, and downright obsessive.

Art-wise, Legendz is a solid example of classic Shonen Jump style. The art is slick but still energetic and clever. Each big-eyed kid and his/her pet monster is lovingly rendered in all their manic/depressive moods. Onomatopoeia and starbursts of lines sprout from every other panel.

The manga itself is nicely presented. VIZ chose to leave the book in the original right-to-left orientation. There's a page about the writer and author at the beginning and a two page spread at the end that details each Legendz creature and its owners powers.

Legendz is not innovative. It is energetic. Legendz is not brilliant. It is cute, cuddly and fun. Enjoy Legendz with your favorite quirky/loner, Pokemon/Tamaguchi-loving fourth grader and you'll both be happy.

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