This week, I’m taking a look at the first volume of the shonen fantasy manga Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima

Title: Rave Master, Volume 1
Written & Illustrated by Hiro Mashima
Translated by Amy Forsyth
Adapted by James Lucas Jones

Available from Amazon.com & RightStuf.com

The Premise

Haru Glory is a teenager who has only really known life on Garage Island, an island secluded enough not to get the latest news, but not secluded enough that it doesn’t get stuff shipped to it. Haru and his sister’s lives are shaken up when they encounter a dog-critter named Plue, an old man who used to live on the island, and a group of evil magicians from the Dark Card society. Through all of this, Haru ends up with a Rave stone, which gives him the power to fight back against Dark Card. With this, Haru sets out to defeat Dark Card and save the world – and to find out what happened to his father, who set out on a simialr journery when Haru and his sister were children.

High Points

This is a shonen action manga, like Bleach or One Piece, or Kekkaishi, and in the first volume, it tells us who the hero is, who the villains are, what the villains are trying to do, and what the next step is for our hero in order to stop them. Also, the female characters don’t have the same exaggerated bust size that Mashima gives the characters in his current ongoing series, Fairy Tail.

Low Points

Mashima really isn’t sure what kind of tone he wants to be using, as it shifts from Wacky Hijinks to deadly serious very rapidly.

Scores

Originality: Call to adventure? Check! Refusal of the call? Check! Supernatural Aid (complete with gifts of an artifact and an helper)? Check! Crossing the Threshold? Check! 3/6

Artwork: Pretty good, though it’s hyper-stylized, as most shonen manga as. The style is somewhat unique, though it’s also kind of close to the style used in One Piece. 4/6

Story: Very good start for a Shonen series. 4/6

Emotional Response: See the low point. 3/6

Flow: 6/6

Characterization: The characters are pretty one-note. They’re clear, well played notes, but still one-note. 3/6

Overall: This is the kind of start I’m looking for in a shonen series. 5/6

In total, Rave Master Volume 1 gets 29/42.