Review of The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Volume 1

SF ScopeThe Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi, Volume 1 story by Kaoru Kurimoto, illustrated by Kazuaki Yanagisawa
Vertical, $12.95, 164pp, tp, 9781932234800. Fantasy graphic novel.

As the publicity material with the books tells us, this is volume one in a three-volume story which is the manga version of the first book of the 116-volume series of bestselling Japanese novels. Which is a round-about way of saying: this book is not a complete story. It’s a pretty good story, based on an interesting concept, to wit: a feudal era king’s head has been replaced with that of a leopard. He knows it, but he’s still the same person he’s always been (strong, heroic, and wise). He doesn’t know why he’s now the leopard-head king, but there it is.

The story starting in this volume tells of a terrible plague afflicting his kingdom, and his quest to discover its source. The story didn’t hold me rapt (there were too many confusing flashbacks and scene jumps), but I imagine reading the entire story as one piece might improve it.

The artwork, however, is amazing. The first four color pages aren’t much, but after that, the book is all black-and-white pen-and-ink work, and it’s fantastic. I was very taken with it; very impressed by it.

I’ll pick up the next volume when it’s out, to see where the story goes (will Queen Sylvia stay with King Guin? What about the dancing girl Valusa? And was it really Guin who brought the plague on his own people?).

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