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Levius est Vol. #01 Manga Review

4 min read
The strengths of this series still lie in the artwork, but that can only carry so much weight.
Levius est Vol. #01

Once again, with feeling.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Haruhisa Nakata
Translation: John Werry
Adaptation: Jason A. Hurley

What They Say
Having fought his way into the top grade of Mechanical Martial Arts, Levius faces an ever-changing world that grows more threatening by the day. The shadowy megacorporation Amethyst wields its military might across the world through advancements in the arena. Can Levius be the fighter who changes the course of the world’s fate?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Levius Est picks up from the conclusion of the original Levius manga. There are few to no changes except for a change in the magazine it was published in. It’s still published in western page order (left to right) and Viz includes the color pages at the front of the book. After Levius’ victory in the arena there’s a time skip of about a year as the key players are reconstructed and healed after the massive destruction from the last key bout.

The change in magazines means that the author decided to continue the story for the long haul and thus the audience is given a chapter-long recap detailing the story so far. Levius is reintroduced, as is his uncle, Bill, and AJ. AJ survived her brush with death and is now free of Amethyst’s control. Bill has spent the better part of a year attempting to save everyone from the carnage they wrought upon themselves.

Zack, Levius uncle, loses his eye and has been in and out of recovery. (I still think the whole thing with his eye is stupid and makes no sense for a number of reasons.) He learns that AJ was the first to recover and approaches her in a scene which makes the girl come off like a bomb with a timer counting down. AJ remembers nothing about what happened to herself but her memories slowly come back over the course of the volume.

If AJ was shown to be such a hazard then I can’t understand why they would have rebuilt her with all of that dangerous technology still in place. I also can’t figure out how she has any memories left considering Levius thrust a fist through her brain.

I had been hoping the manga would tone down the absurd shonen antics as it continued, but it is only ramping up. We learn that the steam that everyone uses for power is actually a naturally occurring chemical that can generate steam power from human blood and that steam can be mentally controlled by the blood’s owner. Things only get more absurd from there. I would have preferred that they never explained how the steam system worked.

Perhaps the most grievous addition to the story is Natalia. She comes storming in as a perky fighter who doesn’t care about rules, wearing clothing that doesn’t make sense for the setting. She is the perky obnoxious girl, you know the one. She shows up as a trope in many series. To add more insult to injury she’s in love with Levius and thinks that she’s his fiancee. When she learns that AJ has a place next to Levius’s side she flips out like a jealous girlfriend. Ugh.

For as abysmal as the antics and over-the-top drama in this volume is, the artwork still remains phenomenal. Which just makes the whole thing even more frustrating.

In Summary
A large portion of the front end of this second part of Levius is a recap of all that came before. The author chases that with a hearty dose of shonen logic as to how the steam in their world works and more overly dramatic shonen action. The ridiculous tone of the story doesn’t fit the realistic artwork at all and that disconnect is disappointing, to say the least. When we’re finally introduced to a new character she’s yet another shallow trope and an annoying one at that. I was hoping that Levius Est would improve upon the shallower aspects from part 1, but alas, it has doubled down. The strengths of this series still lie in the artwork, but that can only carry so much weight.

Content Grade: C +
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: A +
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: Teen Plus
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 19, 2019
MSRP: $12.99 US / $17.99 CAN / £8.99 UK

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