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Arata: The Legend Vol. #12 Manga Review

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Arata Volume 12
Arata Volume 12
Fun mythology, but nothing terribly original

Creative Staff
Story: Yuu Watase
Art: Yuu Watase
Translation/Adaptation: Lance Caselman

What They Say
Hinohara was once friends with his tormentor Kadowaki, just as Shinsho rivals Kannagi and Akachi used to be close comrades. Now all Kadowaki wants is to make Hinohara submit to him, and he’ll go to any length to make this happen. But when Kadowaki seeks an alliance with Akachi, he gets more than he bargained for!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With Kannagi’s Homura in Akachi’s possession, Arata, Kannagi, and the rest decide to raid Akachi’s palace in the hopes to get it back. This ultimately leads Kannagi to divulge the secret history he shares with Kannagi, surrounding Kannagi’s half-sister, Emisu. At the same time they begin their raid, Akachi is showing Kadowaki what true power is like, and gives him his own eye so that he might be able to finally best Arata. And while Arata and his group think they are being sneaky, Akachi is leading them by the nose the whole way.

Having not read any Arata before, it took me quite a while to really get into this volume. The mythological and fantastical structure really didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Various people have all sorts of titles, such as Shinsho and Zokusho, that still mean nothing to me; I’m not entirely sure what Kannagi’s Homura is (best I can guess is maybe some type of sword with Emisu’s spirit embodying it), and I don’t really know what Arata’s role is in all of it. There are just too many gaps in my knowledge, and that hampered my enjoyment of it.

Now, that said, ignoring the deficiencies in my knowledge, I have to admit that what was in this volume was compelling. None of it seemed particularly original, but I enjoyed the characters as much as I probably could under the circumstances, and the plot moved along at a good clip. I particularly enjoyed Akachi as the (at least for the time being) antagonist. He’s very self-sure and seems very driven. I haven’t seen him do anything particularly evil, but to be honest, after Kannagi’s flashback, I’m feeling he might be more of a sympathetic villain than an evil one after all is said and done.

And even though we saw very little of it in this volume, I think the love triangle potential with both Kotoha and Mikusa vying for Arata’s attentions has a lot of potential. Right now, I’m a bit more on Kotoha’s side, though that might be because it currently seems like Mikusa might have the upper hand, and I’m a sucker for a good underdog story. If I saw more of it, I might change my mind, particularly since I don’t have a particular dislike of Mikusa, either. Granted, I am getting a bit of a whiff of “harem comedy” potential in this situation (meaning Arata will string both of them along and take forever to finally (if ever) come to a decision), but it’s working for me right now.

In Summary
I enjoyed what I’ve read so far of Arata: The Legend. There’s nothing about it so far that I haven’t seen before, but the cast is solid, and I like the plot. As you might expect, Volume 12 is a poor place to pick it up (like I have) as there are a lot of moving parts to it, and the fantasy world it’s set in seems pretty complex. But I ultimately like what I read enough to be interested in going back to the beginning and starting from there. I’d assume that if you have been following it from there, then you’ll like what’s here too. Recommended.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
MSRP: $9.99