Sunday, March 25, 2012

Manga Review: Yu-Gi-Oh GX Vol. 1 Ch. 1 “A New Hero”

Reviewer: Dollow Rlance

Duel Academy
In the Southern Sea is an island where the school known as Duel Academy resides, a place where the next generation of Duelist; study to be the best in the game of Duel Monsters. The students are divided into three different ranks, Obelisk Blue for the elites, Ra Yellow for the students with potential, and at the bottom are the Silfer Reds; who are less likely to succeed and more likely to be expelled.

Jaden attacks with Bubbleman
Jaden Yuki is attacking a Ra Yellow student with Bubbleman for a win; as Syrus Truesdale cheers for him. Jaden is laying down on his back in the school courtyard, until Alexis Rhodes comes to say hello to him and he looks up at her and greets her, she says he is normally not alone and asks where Syrus is and Jaden tells her he is dueling a new trainee teacher. Alexis remembers that the trainee teacher is named Mr. Ryuga and mentions she heard a bad rumor about him, with Jaden’s attention she tells him that Mr. Ryuga is trying to finish the final test to become a full time teacher of the academy; by winning against 50 different students, Jaden asks was Syrus pick as one of the students, and Alexis says that Mr. Ryuga is on a 45-game winning streak, Jaden wonders what is wrong as he sounds like a good duelist, and she tells him that she has heard; that Ryuga takes cards from the decks of the duelists who lose to him afterward. Jaden is then shocked, and remembers hearing something about a student who had to skip class; because he did not have his cards, Jaden then dismisses; it saying that it’s only a rumor. Syrus is being attacked by Ryuga’s Cyber Dinosaur during the duel for Ryuga’s teacher entry, and Syrus wonders why his duel disk is not activating his spell cards; while it still responds to his monster and traps cards. Later Syrus is walking down a hallway when Jaden finds him slaps his back and asks how the duel went; and he gets worry when Syrus falls down and does not respond, Syrus looks up at Jaden crying and says that Ryuga stole his cards. 
Jaden's POV of Alexis

Mr. Ryuga is having a meeting with Doctor Vellian Crowler, who says he is impressed by Ryuga 49 winning streak, Ryuga asks he that only needs another to become a teacher for next year, Dr. Crowler confirms and responds; that academy teachers should not have trouble completing the entry test.  Ryuga smiles and thinks to himself, that once he becomes a Duel Academy teacher; Dr. Crowler will be history and he will rise in the academy ranks, where his voice will be taken seriously finally, and his students who studied under him will spread across the world and he will control the dueling world, so he will do anything to make that happen, even if he has to take orders for a while.

Jaden questioning Mr. Ryuga

Realizing the rumor about Ryuga stealing cards is true, Jaden furiously marches towards Dr. Crowler’s office aimed on getting back all the cards that Ryuga has stolen, while not listening to Syrus; who is trying to convince him not to confront Ryuga, but Jaden just says he did not care and Ryuga doesn't deserve to be a duelist. Finding Ryuga just coming out of Crowler’s office, Jaden moves right in front of him and demands that Syrus’ cards be return to his friend, Ryuga wonders who Jaden is before Jaden introduces himself. Ryuga is intrigue that this was the famous Silfer Red, as Jaden continues to angrily question Ryuga what gives him the right to steal cards from students at the school, Ryuga just says that he a is a card collector and Syrus had cards he wanted and claims that Syrus gave them to him, and then asks Jaden if he has any cards to give to him. Jaden tells him that the cards of a duelist are their soul, and asks Ryuga that does he honestly believe he is just going to hand over his deck for which he says is his soul. Ryuga tells them they are going to want to stay on his good side, and by handing over their cards, their grades are guaranteed once he becomes a teacher next year, and that the cards would be happier with him rather than with a bunch of Silfers. Jaden coldly tells Ryuga he refuses to see him as a duelist and that he is a disgrace, annoyed, Ryuga stares down at Jaden and says once he becomes a teacher Jaden is going right to the top of his expulsion list, but Jaden retorts back that Ryuga is not a teacher yet, Ryuga counters saying he may as well be one for he needs only one more win.
Jaden accepts the duel

Dr. Crowler comes out of his office to see what all the noise is about, and realizes that it is only Jaden, all three of them are surprise to see him, Crowler asks what they are doing and Ryuga covers both of their mouths and tells him that they were talking about his duel with Syrus, Crowler say that’s wonderful and that he has found his last duelist to play against, Jaden Yuki. Ryuga comments that Jaden will make a fine opponent, and mentions how he heard about the Jaden’s victory against Dr. Crowler at the Duel Academy entrance exam, much to Crowler’s dislike of being reminded of the event. Jaden Proudly accepts the duel against Ryuga and Dr. Crowler tells them to go to the Duel Arena at once, Ryuga walks pass Jaden silently tells him to give it his all, or face being expelled by him and moves off, to which tells himself that he is going to win no matter what.

Ryuga's Cyber Dinosaur  
Five turns in their game, Jaden attacks with Elemental Hero Wildheart (Atk: 1500) Ryuga’s monster for 750 Life Point damage leaving him with 3250 against Jaden’s 4000 LP. Ryuga thinks to himself that Jaden is stronger than he expected realizes that his victory against Dr. Crowler may have not been a fluke, but Ryuga says he knows the tricks to Jaden’s deck; by relying on his spell cards to create stronger monsters by fusion, and once he gets rid of the spells Jaden will be easy to deal with, and then starts his turn by summoning Don Turtle and then plays the spell Ultra Evolution Pill to tribute Don Turtle and special summons Cyber Dinosaur (Atk: 2500), to attack Wildheart for 1000 LP damage putting Jaden at 3000 LP and ends his turn by placing a card face down. Drawing a card Jaden smiles at his hand; seeing he has all the cards he needs to finish the match, but Ryuga notices Jaden’s face and fiddles with his ring, pointing it at Jaden’s duel disk as he is trying to use polymerization but finds it does not work, Ryuga says to himself that his ring gives off a special signal that prevents players from using spell cards on their duel disks, all the while Jaden asking why his spell is not working.

Ryuga using his ring against Jaden
Syrus wonders why Jaden is not using the fusion card in his hand, Alexis wonders why too and Syrus for first time notices both her and Obelisk Blue Chazz Princeton, Syrus thinks that maybe Jaden’s duel disk won’t activate the spell like his, Dr. Crowler says that it is his own fault for not maintaining his disk, but Syrus say it was the same way with him; but when he checked the his own disk there was nothing wrong with it. Jaden summons E-Hero Ocean defense mode and changes E-Hero Sparkman to defense as well and ends his turn, he worries about not using his spells and that he should have check his duel disk earlier, Ryuga summons Hyper Hammer (Atk: 1500) in attack position, and uses the spell Smashing Ground, since his duel disk is protected against his ring, to destroy Sparkman and attacks Ocean with Hyper Hammer only for the attack to be stop by Jaden’s  Hero Barrier trap, Jaden believes he is safe until Cyber Dinosaur attacks directly for 2500 leaving Jaden with only 500 LP, he is shocked that Ryuga can attack directly by sacrificing a monster when he has only defense position monsters. Jaden keeps wondering why his duel disk is not working right, until he remembers that he used it to played Frisbee with Syrus the other day, and believes that was the reason why it is not reading his spell cards. 

Jaden and the "Legendary Duelists"
Ryuga tells him to give up, but Jaden responds that duelists never give up and either will he, just like the legendary duelists who came before him, not until he becomes the “Duel King”, Jaden draws hoping for a miracle and summons E-Hero Woodsman (Atk: 1000) in attack and puts three cards face down to end his turn. Ryuga quickly attacks Woodsman with Cyber Dinosaur, Jaden uses his first trap Swamp of the Fallen to cut Cyber Dinosaur’s attack by half to 1250, Ryuga is not worried as Cyber Dinosaur is still stronger, but then Jaden uses his next trap, Alternate Fusion Trap to fuse Ocean and Woodsman for Elemental Hero Terra Firma (Atk: 2500 Def: 2000), Ryuga is shocked by the trap fusion as Terra Firma takes out Cyber Dinosaur for 1250 LP damage, Ryuga is left with 2000 LP but is still believes he can win until Jaden uses his last trap, Shield Strike to do 2000 points of damage to Ryuga’s life points to win the game, while Ryuga falls over with his ring blowing up, Jaden’s friends cheer for his victory and Crowler disappointed Ryuga failed, and Chazz saying Jaden took his time to win. Jaden jumps in the air proclaiming that that one day he is going to become the Duel King.

Jaden wins the duel against Ryuga
(From left to right on the bottom left: Crowler, Syrus, Alexis, Chazz Princeton and Jaden)
This first chapter starts as a very normal day for a Yu-Gi-Oh GX story, as the manga story starts Jaden using his older cards from the anime, such as Bubbleman and Sparkman; and later we never see them again, guess that was done so that new readers; who were coming from the anime to manga, can be ease into the newer heroes better.

Speaking of the new, the manga story writer and artist Naoyuki Kageyama, adds some things to the GX manga that was not the GX anime, Heroes aside Kageyama artwork of GX retains the look of GX from the anime, but in small ways improves on it, such as getting down the Duel Academy look of both the island and buildings prefect, a lot of the characters from the anime still look the same; but also look slightly aged and have a more refined look, such as Jaden looks to have bigger hair and his trademark “jellyfish” hair and back spikes are almost always shown, Syrus who has more fierce looks when frowning, and then we have Alexis Rhodes who compared to her anime counterpart, got a breast upgrade from a C-cup in the anime to an E-cup in the manga; as shown when she first appears and Jaden’s POV shows us, I have to say, Kageyama does make her look very attractive.

The new heroes are great, with Woodsman and Ocean; Kageyama was going more for a “Nature” look for them, as opposed to Bubbleman and Sparkman from the anime who are more “City” heroes. The big one of the heroes is Terra Firma, who does not look like the others and looks more like Frieza of Dragon Ball Z fame, and it’s kind of symbolic that Ocean and Woodsman are needed for fusion, in that you need water and ground to form Terra Firma which is Latin for “Solid Earth”; or the Japanese verison he is called simply “The Earth”.

The story was very good, being very early in the manga you cannot really expect much, since at this point it's about setting up the characters. Overall a nice normal start to the manga, the only thing that does not make sense is Mr. Ryuga, who is honestly very stupid and as throw away villain thankfully is just that, giving yourself stature in the GX duel world is one thing,  but the why did he think teaching students at Duel Academy; would give him the power to control the world’s duel community as whole?

3 out of 5 Stars

- Fun start to the first chapter a story
- Heroes done very well, old and new
- Good artwork for both Duel Academy and characters
- Alexis’ Adaptational Attractiveness

- Mr. Ryuga's plan not making any sense

Please leave comments.

1 comment:

  1. I can definitely tell that you put a lot of effort into writing this review! Overall, it looks and reads really well. I especially liked the links to the bonus panels. It added an optional visual addition the the writing, which I think is great!
    The only other feedback I can give is that maybe you should separate your analysis into paragraphs. Right now it looks like a big block of text and I know that can sometimes intimidate readers.
    Also, you could maybe add more comparison to other Yu-Gi-Oh series or manga of a similar genre!
    Really good review, though! :D