Ryu’s Musings – Maohden Vol 01

Posted on October 19th, 2012 by Ryu Sheng |

9781569701492Language: English
Direction: Left to Right
Pages: 186
by: Hideyuki Kikuchi (story), Jun Suemi (art)
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Type: Series, Novel
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Sci-fi, Supernatural, Seinen

Synopsis:

Demon City Shinjuku, home to monsters and magicians alike. The warlock Gento Roran has broken his fifteen-year slumber and seeks dominion over the city. Now resurrected from his accursed sarcophagus, he is accompanied by the Hyota, the “small superman.”

A secret seal has proclaimed that “Those who control Demon City will control the world.” And so the stage is set for a fateful battle between Gento and Setsura Aki.

Meanwhile, Doctor Mephisto, the Demon Physician, is treating a curious new patient, a girl named Mayumi. Any man who has sex with her dies soon afterwards. This deadly cause and effect appears to be nothing more than coincidence at first. But only at first.

Assassination squads possessed of the most unusual ways of dealing death come after Setsura. One after the next, he’s caught up in the fight of his life! What is this secret seal? And how is it connected to Mayumi?

Maohden is a bridging story between Demon City and Yashakiden, though minus the lead characters from the previous story. Rather this time around it focuses on Setsura Aki and Doctor Mephisto. There are several references made to the previous story.

Kikuchi has written a great bridging story that binds Demon City and Yashakiden together really well. The change in writing styles of Demon City and Yashakiden aren’t as jarring as it could be as the style of this story isn’t a good middle ground, and helps to highlight the changes in Kikuchi’s writing style as the years went by.

The story doesn’t seem to progress much in this volume, rather all we get is a lot of stage setting and back story. We get more information on Aki and Mephisto, and their nemesis for this particular story. Yet despite what is revealed in this volume we get very little actual story. This particular volume is very word heavy when it comes to descriptions, which while not unique for Kikuchi, made this particular volume hard to read. At times I found the over verbose writing style hard to plough through. I also found I was having to force myself to read, and not skip over parts of the text. 

This has been an small issue in most of Kikuchi’s novels, but the action and story progression in them usually helps make it bearable. This time however it was hard work, and as a result I found it took me considerably longer  to finish the novel than usual.

One of the other aspects, of the novel I wasn’t keen on was the sex scenes. Which again, aren’t unknown in in Kikuchi’s novels; however I found the frequent rape scenes in this particular novel a little unsettling. It felt you were getting a rape scene every few pages. Yet despite these two issues, the novel is well written. While at times his over verbose style of writing can be frustrating, a lot of the time it helps to paint the setting perfectly well with very little effort from the reader. It’s very easy to picture the ruined city, the people and creatures within it, and setting as the story unravels. At times it’s almost like a movie in your head.

There are a few art pages in this volume, however on the kindle, which is what I read this on, they aren’t that good. Several of them just don’t look like anything, however I suspect on actual paper or apple devices with a higher resolution, they’d look better.

the way this volume progresses clearly sets the stage for what will be (I’m hoping) an action packed volume two. A lot of information is given about Aki in this volume, which is great, since both he and Mephisto are two of my favourite characters and it’s always good to get a better understanding of the characters you come to like.

Once again this was released by Digital Manga Publishing, and once again I’m sad to say there were issues, though no where near as many or as bad as in Demon City. Thankfully there were no errant ‘C’ running around, but there were a few rather stupid spelling mistakes that don’t really make much sense. For example in one Aki says ‘ That’s pathetic’ however for some reason it’s, ‘that’s bathetic’. While some of the mistakes could be down to ‘stylization call’ on the half of the editor, some, such as the above, can’t be explained. And in a release by a company that usually put out high quality releases, shouldn’t exist.

There have been a number of complaints about the way Digital Manga handled the Kikuchi’s novels, namely with the way they shorten the text. This is technically true, but personally I think it’s a wise decision. One reviewer gave an example of where the original Japanese version is describing Aki’s hand. the Japanese version spends an entire paragraph doing, where as the English version is shortened to a sentence or two. frankly these sort of edits make Kikuchi’s novels all the more readable, cutting the verbose language to a minimum, without detracting from the novel.

This particular volume is available in both print and digital, yet the second volume is currently only available on kindle. There doesn’t, at the time of writing, seem to be a release date for a print version of the second volume. so I’d recommend you pick up both volumes on kindle.

If the second volume lives up to my hopes I’ll be a very happy man!!

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