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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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06/25/2008 Archived Entry: "Manga review: Knights, vol 1"

Knights Volume 1
Story and art by Minoru Murao
Published by Digital Manga Publishing
ISBN-10: 1569705682
ISBN-13: 9781569705681

Review by Jilly Gee

In the quasi medieval setting of the kingdom of Excludo, witches are tortured and put to death at an alarming rate. Much like the witch trials of our world's past, those women were merely victims of greed and superstition. Unlike our world, however, a noble, masked youth and his nearly-naked female sidekick travel the kingdom saving these innocents. While probably not the first female they have saved from a burning at the stake, the first one saved in this series is cute and naive Nina. This first is an important first, as she is the first girl who is still able to smile at and be kind to Mist after having seen the dark-skinned face he hides under the mask.

What at first appears to be a rather simple story of the religious officials merely wanting to confiscate other people's possessions and fill their own pockets evolves into a more mysterious, sinister plot when a girl able to move and grow her hair by will alone shows up and kills the priest that failed to do his job of exterminating Nina. Mist's mission is not, in fact, to liberate the witches, but rather to rid the world of "Saints", members of clergy who have done more than their fair share of killings and have become corrupt with power. Or at least, that's what Mist's mentor tries to remind him of; Mist, however, takes the more chivalrous road and vows to protect all those that are weaker. Although most likely a young teen, he acts more like a wise adult, choosing his stances carefully in battle instead of just rushing in headfirst.

As a story targeted towards young males, it throws in a bit of fanservice in the form of Euphemia, the scantily-clad sidekick I mentioned before (and mentioned twice in the synopsis on the back of the book). How scantily-clad? She wears just enough material to cover her nipples. The great thing about the fanservice in this series, however, is the way it is incorporated into the story; yeah, she's almost naked, so might as well use that as part of the story instead of just showing skin for the sake of showing skin. Using her "shamelessness" she is able to distract and take out many enemies at a time. Not that her beautiful body is her only skill; she manages to defend herself quite well using tools from her bag.

What was frustrating were the times where the story seemed to lose continuity, if only for a few moments. Why would the author show us Nina's father's pain at having betrayed his daughter only to have it all completely forgotten later in the story when he is knocking on her door? Where did all of the tension go? It's suddenly okay for him to be worrying about his daughter's welfare again when he practically condemned her to death before? While it's possible that it can be followed up on later, it would make even less sense after this point in time.

Broadly speaking , Knights is shaping up to be the typical shounen manga: an exceptionally skilled main character with a mysterious origin sets forth to rid the world of evil. Nothing revolutionary, but nothing particularly bad about it either. Once you start, though, you'll be sucked in, wondering just what that girl with the hair is up to and what that fortune teller really means.

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