Louie the Rune Soldier Manga
A fantasy manga with some unusual twists and turns, "Louie the Rune Soldier" delights in turning a lot of fantasy cliches on their head (while retaining some of its own).
"Louie the Rune Soldier" is centered around the standard fantasy party, made famous by RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons: A fighter, a thief, a cleric, and a wizard. However, things are a little different than they seem at first glance. Genie, the fighter, is an amazonian woman rippling with muscles. The thief, Merill, is a bratty half-pint. The cleric, Melissa, finds her faith constantly tested by the party's antics. The wizard, Louie, is the oddest of the bunch - a drunken lout who prefers to use muscles instead of magic. This mismatched group of adventurers makes their way through dungeons, mountains, and forests, seeking glory and victory by smiting their enemies.
Most of the story revolves around the general adventures of Louie and company. The different talents of the characters are put to good use, much like any good D&D adventure: the fighter bashes things, the thief finds secret doors and traps, and so on. It's definitely going for the RPG feel, which makes sense since it takes place in the same universe as the D&D-based "Record of Lodoss War". There's goblins, orcs, skeletons, dragons, and so on. Any fantasy or swords-and-sorcery fan will be familiar with the kind of world it's set in. The characters are kind of one-dimensional, but since that one dimension is used for jokes and not for anything serious, it's not really a bad thing.
The art's pretty good, if kind of silly and simplistic. "Rune Soldier" relies more heavily on slapstick and comedy than on serious drama, and the art basically reflects that. The character designs are more stylized than realistic, but that works better because of how non-serious the story is. There's not a lot of clutter, except in brawling scenes where it's specifically designed that way for comedic effect.
"Louie the Rune Soldier" is a lighthearted fantasy manga that's a lot of fun for fans of the genre, and it's short enough to hold the reader's attention without wandering off into filler territory. It's not perfect; it's kind of shallow and doesn't really do anything "new", per se, but it's a fun romp through fantasy tropes and is worth picking up.
This series was purchased with our own money from a book store.
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