J-Novel Club LLC 2019
Written by Yu Okano
Translated by Shirley Young
Illustrated by Jaiji Nakasone
Lettered by Viet Pouong Vu
It's been ten years since Rentt Faina, a down-on-his luck Bronze-class adventurer, set his eyes on becoming Mithril-class. Unfortunately, Rentt finds himself helpless when confronted by a legendary Dragon in the Labyrinth of the Moon's Reflection...and is summarily eaten. But Rentt has miraculously reawakened...as a Skeleton?!
I may be new-ish to Manga but oh what a re-introduction to the medium I am having. I'm kind of old school because I used to read books like Area 88 so to see something like this has evolved over time and utilises so much of what I used to do, think and feel is amazing to me. In the early 80's when Dungeons & Dragons debuted I used to play with my neighbourhood friends regularly and this took me back to that time and that place. My overall first impression here is so positive and so uplifting for me and not knowing what to expect going in I am really glad the title of this one lured me in. granted I would love to have a physical copy of this but as digital comics go this was a very fast, smooth easy read.
I am such a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is so incredibly well presented. I like the feel of being in a campaign while having the narration of the single character that starts us off. It is a huge boon for the character development that we see as well. Listening to Rentt talk about himself and his life and his adventures lets us get to know him in a way few people have been able to do, at least through writing. This is so masterfully written and when we get to the event that changes Rentt's life forever we see the transformation he starts to undergo. So the narration takes on new meaning and significance and it seems like time something comes up we're treated to such depth and layering in the book that blows the mind. The pacing here is utterly superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way we are treated to one of the best ebb & flows you'll find.
The interiors here are gorgeous. I have such an appreciation for these black & white books which I didn't have when I was younger. Aside from the fact that it is hard to hide any and all flaws, of which I cannot find any, it also is able to showcase little tricks that are needed to fool the eye. Also there is one aspect of Rentt that we see throughout and I have to admit it's a hell of a job on what I am seeing. The linework is truly exquisite and how the varying weights and techniques are utilised show this huge talent and ability to bring to life these people and these creatures that engage the readers' mind and imagination in some wonderful ways. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a masterful eye for storytelling. How we see backgrounds being utilised throughout the book, first is absolutely amazing and I am thrilled beyond belief that they are so essential to the story, and how they help bring us this depth perception, an sense of scale and that overall size and scope of the book. I could get lost staring at panels just looking at all the attention to detail that we see.
I am in love with this story already! What we see, what we don't see, and how Rentt as a person and as a character is seen through the eyes of those around him is presented makes me shiver. This might actually be the absolute best thing you've never read and that needs to change STAT!