THE GUIN SAGA MANGA: THE SEVEN MAGI (Guin Saga: Shichinin no Madôshi, “Guin Saga: The Seven Magi”) (?????????????) • Kaoru Kurimoto (story), Kazuaki Yanagisawa (art) • Vertical (2007-2008) • Media Factory (Comic Flapper, 2000-2003) • 3 volumes • Fantasy Horror Action 18+ (graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations)
Adaptation of Kaoru Kurimoto’s untranslated novel of the same name, a gaiden (“side story”) of her Guin Saga sword-and-sorcery novels. Guin, a noble warrior cursed with a leopard’s head, has risen to the position of king of Cheironia, although his marriage to queen Sylvia is a marriage in name only, as she despises him for his inhuman appearance. When a mysterious plague and monstrous apparitions afflict Cheironia, Guin ventures into the shadowy Alley of Charms, where extradimensional doorways open onto the lairs of various sorcerers, in search of a way to save his kingdom. Kaoru Kurimoto’s Guin Saga was inspired by Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories, and the English rewrite captures the retro pulp fantasy style almost to the point of self-parody (“What forsaken, maledict deeds took place behind its closed doors?” “No man’s blade can fell that thing!”). Yanagisawa’s art is appropriately macho and grotesque, full of weird monsters, muscles and scantily-clad (if slightly odd-looking) women, although the background art looks flat. As a succession of bizarre images and violence, it’s a fun read. But readers who are unfamiliar with the Guin universe will find the already confusing story even more puzzling, and the story runs out of clever ideas before the climax, while leaving several plotlines open, presumably to be tied up in the novels.
Today’s winner is Jean N. of New York. Congratulations, Jean! Hope you like your forthcoming manga!