We continue with our reviews of the core Record Of Lodoss War series, The Grey Witch, and move on to the second act of the series. The first act did okay – nothing flashing, but nothing awful either. Does the second act improve, or do poorly?
Title: Record Of Lodoss War – The Grey Witch Vol. 2 – Birth Of A New Knight
Writer: Ryu Mizuno
Illustrator: Yoshihiko Ochi
Original Publication Date: 1999, originally serialized by Kadokawa Shoten in Comptiq in 1994.
Cover Price: $15.95
The forces of Marmo have landed ashore on Lodoss Island, lead by King Beld. Parn & his party have managed to get ahead of them, and they rush on to the kingdom of Valis, to warn them of the impending invasion. However, the Grey Witch, Karla, has plans of her own which she is setting into motion.
The abduction of the princess & her rescue in the anime is very short, basically taking about 10-15 minutes. In manga the sequence takes significantly longer, and sets up some limitations to Karla’s powers – in the Anime she’s practically a female Elminster (in terms of power) with a lot of elements of Raistlin Majere’s personality. Here her power’s more limited and, as a character, she’s more personable, even attempting to recruit the main characters to her cause. Generally, it’s more paced like a D&D campaign – with the events of the attempt to rescue the Princess basically taking about one gaming session, more or less.
The reason for the kidnapping of King Fahn’s daughter didn’t make much sense in the anime, and it still doesn’t make sense in the manga – particularly since the kidnapping was Karla’s idea (and also considering how things turn out later).
Originality: Again, it’s an adaptation of a D&D campaign. 4 out of 6.
Artwork: The artwork is still good, with this volume including several costume changes for the characters (including Karla), and with Karla, in this volume, being dramatically more expressive than she is in the anime (even cracking a smile). 5 out of 6.
Story: The story for the kidnapping portion is alright, but the urgency of the impending invasion is hurt because of so much time being spent on the kidnapping. Further, the end of the second act should bring us to a cliffhanger of some kind – things should look bleak, thus raising the stakes for the 3rd act. That doesn’t happen here. 3 out of 6.
Characterization: We get some more development for the “Party” in this arc, as well as significantly more character development for Karla than she ever got in the anime (going beyond her motivations to the character being more human, and less of a stiff – while still retaining the odd distance that you’d expect from someone who’d outlived her civilization, and had continued to live through the centuries, going from body to body). 4 out of 6.
Emotional Response: I have to say that the emotional response isn’t really as big here as it was in the anime, though I actually found Karla significantly more likable in this “act” of the story. 3 out of 6.
Flow: This portion of the story flows significantly better than in the anime, with the artwork moving things along nicely. 4 out of 6.
Overall: It’s a good continuation of the story, and while it’s not bad (I like it), the pacing is really hurt here, unfortunately, by either diverting from the invasion to the kidnapping, or setting up further coverage of the invasion plot, and then switching over to the originally intended plot of the kindapping for this act. 4 out of 6.
Total: 27 out of 42.