Title: Orphan Blade
Author: M. Nicholas Almand, Jake Myler (Illustrations)
Genre: Graphic Novel / Sci-Fi / Adventure
Length: Novel (196 pages)
Publisher: Oni Press (November 26th, 2014)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5 Hearts
Blurb: Hadashi is a boy with simple dreams… but his life changes when a horrific accident maims his hand! Unable to hold a sword, he’s kicked out of his dojo home. But the Orphan Blade is no ordinary sword. When Hadashi comes across the abandoned blade, he finds that not only is he able to wield it – the sword seems to be wielding him!
He’s not the only one interested in the Orphan Blade, though, and his ownership draws the attention of the Five Fingers of Death – a deadly group of mercenaries who have their own magical and deadly weapons.
Product Link: http://www.amazon.com/Orphan-Blade-M-Nicholas-Almand-ebook/dp/B00N3C47PG
Review: Plot; Alchemists, mages, and gifted humans gather in order to open up the gates to reach the Gods. As these things go, instead of the Gates of Heaven they opened a gate to another dimension from where Kaiju (strange creatures) – as called from the “Nipponese” – came through. These horrifying creatures cause the Earth big loses in human power but were in the end defeated, leaving behind their precious carcasses from where the first artifacts were made.
The artifacts gave the wielder great power and turned them into some kind of God of War. These Gods of War managed to save humanity from the Kaiju, but after that was done, they turned against their own fellow humans in the wars that followed the monsters’ demise. Humanity might very well die in the end…
Enter Hadashi, our main character and age 14. Hadashi is a kid who gets into trouble as naturally as he breathes. One of his troubles causes him a hand injury that leaves him incapable of holding a sword any longer. After being thrown out of the dojo where he leaved till then Hadashi’s trouble start for real, but this time he has with him the Orphan Blade… An Artifact!
Did you know that there was a mysterious myth about Artifacts? They have the tendency to call one another and gather together…
Ah, this was an interesting title. An adventure without being one. It’s a historical Sci-Fi followed up by a post-apocalyptic theme. It was familiar is what I immediately thought. Something about the intro made me feel as if I’d read something similar before and not only till I finished did I realize that Evangelion has been one of the inspiring Animes for this author. And yes, the intro resembles Evangelion way too much. Thankfully, the rest of the plot changes dramatically once chapter one hits and the semblance diminishes quite a lot.
The story is a bit of a mish mash of old-time classics and while that didn’t bother me the fact that it ends kind of abruptly threw me off big time. It’s almost as if this was the first book and then a sequel would follow or a series of books with Hadashi’s adventures, but no. This is a one shot and it leaves you empty in the end, craving for more. It makes sense though.
This was this author’s first graphic novel so the shortcomings are to be expected. What weirded me out is the fact that while this book had no romantic hints at all throughout its duration, the ending hits you with this HUGE romantic surprise, literally coming from nowhere, and while for me it was amusing and promising, it was also disappointing because there wasn’t and never will be a follow-up on that part. So, those craving emotions it leaves you with… Frustration is also right there following up like a faithful partner.
Art work: the artist is absolutely wonderful. His detailed backgrounds are capable of making you swoon and make the entire novel come to life. But unfortunately, there was a problem with the faces of the characters. They were too cute… What in Manga, you would call chibi or better yet how Disney’s latest movies look like. Yes exactly like that. But in this novel, a cutesy artwork simply didn’t work for me. It would have been tons better if the characters were rougher and more “mature” in appearance. Seeing Disney like children drawn in blood and gore, it kind of had my blood churning. I never did like the similar lolicon tsundere in Manga where little boys and girls get all bloody either. But I suppose that is my limit. 😉
Font size/style: horrible in the prologue/introduction pages. I know I’m being harsh and probably hurtful, but it was horrible. You had to magnify the page at 180+% in order to read the font. Where did that leave the artwork…? Well, I did mention the detailed background that brought the novel to life right? The font simply killed it right back having to zoom in so much and losing the effect of the illustration.
The rest of the read while not bad also requires a heighten zoom in or getting to close to the pc in order to read properly and going back through a distance in order to appreciate the artwork, so it was a continuous source of frustration too. I wish graphic novels had an easier on the eyes font instead of going for the artsy and flourish type.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *