ANIME & MANGA - Review
09:19 - 19th April 2013, by NEO Staff

Blade Of Heaven 1

Stealing from heaven is often considered to be a heinous felony, and Soma has been caught at the crime scene. Being the only mortal about, he's the prime suspect. After convincing the King of Heaven of his innocence, he is tasked with a mission to recover the lost relic. Sent with him is a princess obsessed with visiting the mortal realm, and this is the point when it all starts going wrong for Soma.

This volume, as is usual with most fantasy adventures, is the book where the team gets together. We have the usual suspects - the swordsman, the princess and the old guard - but then we get a handsome wandering demon, the manic demon baby and finally, to cap it off, there's the money-grabbing, self-confessed 'Fat Ninja'. You just know it's going to get weird!

The art is set on an epic scale, but the style is proper old school 'sword and sorcery', and you half expect Tom Cruise and Tim Curry to be duking it out for the fate of the world at any moment. Although there won't be any awards handed out for style, everything is well drawn and clear. The style borrows its influences from, amongst other things, what appears to be the work of Johji Manabe, for example, Caravan Kidd.

Having said that, it's no 'Masterpiece Theatre', but it is a well-written, clever and funny book (although rarely as funny as it thinks it is). It has a curious sense of humour that leaves you wondering if comedy Korean references were replaced with bland American ones.
Blade of Heaven may be a Korean work, but unlike many of its shelf-mates, it doesn't share the same dark and sadistic worldview. We still get violence and evil as you'd expect in a fantasy book, but there's not the usual moral vacuum that leaves you feeling a bit dirty just for reading it.

All things considered, this is a quality novel that holds your interest and will more than likely bring you back for volume two.

SCORE: 3.5/5
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