Arata: The Legend, Vol. 6 Paperback – Jun 14 2011
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About the Author
Yuu Watase debuted in the Shojo Comic manga anthology in 1989. She won the 43rd Shogakukan Manga Award with Ceres: Celestial Legend. One of her most famous works is Fushigi Yugi, a series that has inspired the prequel Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden. In 2008, Arata: The Legend started serialization in Shonen Sunday.
Top Customer Reviews
Arata is yet another great story by Yuu Watase. The artwork is as beautiful as one would expect of Ms. Watase, and the dialogue is clever and witty. The story is well written, with deep themes of friendship and betrayal. The reader is drawn into the lives and problems of both Aratas, and it is easy to sympathize with them. Volume One is an excellent start to a new series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Meanwhile, in present day Japan, Arata Hinohara is a typical high school student. He had trouble with bullying at his previous school, and he's hoping to make a fresh start in high school. He makes friends, but an old enemy returns and things take a turn for the worse. Arata is betrayed by his friends, and he's feeling disgusted with his life. Walking home after a particularly bad day, he hears a voice calling his name. Not caring where he ends up, he follows the voice down an alley and into a tunnel. When he emerges, he discovers that he's crossed from Japan into Amawakuni. He meets up with Kotoha, and she mistakes him for the other Arata. So does everyone else, and soon, Arata's running for his life from Kannagi. He takes up the Hime clan's hayagami, a god in the form of a sword, to defend himself, and it chooses him as its wielder. But can Arata save Amawakuni from the shinsho's rebellion?
The plot may take a while to summarize, but it's pretty simple and typical. Amawakuni is a pretty generic fantasy world. However, its government interested me. As Arata Hinohara astutely points out, it's like a fantasy version of Feudal Japan. The princess seals and controls Kamui, the gods who take the form of hayagami. She lends the power to the sho, weilders of the hayagami, and the stronger ones rule land themselves. The shinsho are the strongest sho, and it's their job to protect the princess. This is comparable to the system of daimyo and warlords of old Japan. The shinsho's usurpation reminded me of how the emperor lost power. It's fun to see the historical elements in the story, and it actually makes the real history a bit easier to understand. There's a good mix of drama, action, and humor, too. One problem is that it's never explained why everyone confuses the two Aratas when they look nothing alike. Did reality shift so they look the same to everyone else? Or what?
As for the characters, they're pretty generic. Arata is your typical shonen hero (though it's funny to see how he deals with life in modern Japan), his grandmother is a typical ornery elder, and Kotoha is a typical devoted female childhood friend. The story focuses more on Arata Hinohara, and he was a little better. It's not unusual for the protagonists of shonen manga to be negative and apathetic, but I liked that he empathizes with the princess's feelings of betrayal. This makes his decision to fulfill her wishes make sense. Also, you just know there's going to be more to Kannagi than there appears to be. Most of Watase's villains have reasons for what they're doing and pasts that make them sympathetic, and Kannagi already shows signs of this. It's not unusual, but what can I say, I have a weakness for that kind of character.
The art's really nice. Watase's simple but elegant style is instantly recognizable. The characters designs are similar to but still distinguishable from characters in her previous works. Both Aratas are good looking, especially the one from Amawakuni. And Kannagi might be even hotter than him. If it weren't for the action scenes and relative lack of romance, it'd be easy to forget this is a shonen manga. Everything is detailed, from people to costumes to backgrounds. I especially liked the costumes on the women of Amawakuni. The action scenes were well drawn, though pretty tyical. But they weren't drawn out or confusing like the ones in manga by certain other artists (I'm looking at you, CLAMP). They were important to the story and didn't seem gratuitous.
"Arata" has a pretty typical storyline with a pretty typical fantasy world and pretty typical characters. However, it does stand apart from similar manga. The story has interesting elements, the main character is pretty good, and the art is beautiful. I look forward to seeing where this series goes.
But what will not change is the Watase sparkle. Every manga I have ever read of Watase's has this sparkle that I find so rarely in other mangas. So what is the sparkle? It is a manga filled with memorable characters that you will think of long after you have read the last page, amazing premises that keep you on the edge of your seat, and outstanding drawings that can take your breath away. For me, there is nothing like a work by Watase. They are a joy to read, and I have yet to find one that I have not devoured.
I am happy to report that Arata follows in this great tradition. This is an action packed novel that involves world travel, action, intrigue, and quite a few twists. Arata will pull you in and not let go till the last page. There is a lot here for both male and female readers to enjoy. And I will be waiting excitedly to see what happens next.
So it was with some surprise that I picked up the first volume of Arata: The Legend and didn't immediately have that reaction, and I was pleasantly surprised to see who the mangaka was, having not recognized the art. As with Fushigi, Watase has created a very full, colorful world, and plays with the idea of a character moving between two worlds: one a modern-day Japan, the other a fairly standard fantasy world. Her main character struggles with problems in his real life and at first, uses his life in the magical world to escape, but soon finds himself sincerely caring about how he can affect things in the fantasy world. Not unlike Fushigi Yuugi, but done very differently. Where Fushigi has a heavy romantic twist, there's little of that to be seen thus far in Arata. The story leans more towards shonen than shojo. I'm really enjoying all of the characters, and while a fair bit of their traits might be a little cliche, there is also some very raw depth to them. Watase captures some of the less-celebrated human emotions, like how it feels when a friend betrays you and yet you still can't hate them, or that uncertainty of wondering where you stand in a relationship. Despite the fantasy level of this story, the characters themselves (even the ones who pull swords out of their bodies, or change their age constantly, or have wings) are all so harshly real. I've read the first nine volumes so far and can't wait for more!
Watase's art in this series comes off as simpler than in her others - the line work is plain but very crisp. It's amazing to see someone whose work is normally instantly recognizable manage to pull off such a different style, and so fluidly. It's a hard choice whether I like her Fushigi-esque art or the Arata style more.
This manga stays very clean and innocent, and aside from a rather hefty number of characters, it's relatively easy to follow. I would recommend this as a starter manga for a younger reader, male or female, or for a manga reader of any level who enjoys a good story with simple but beautiful art.
This is just... a really good series at this point. I like the characters, the plot is moving along pretty good, I like the art, the humor. It's not... completely amazing or anything, but it's really good.
In this volume... Hinohara and Kadowaki fight some more, and something demonically bad happens to Hinohara, which Kotoha brings him back down from (and there's a moment here where Hinohara could have cussed. Did he cuss in the original and they censored it, or did he not? Because I just feel that it would have been more powerful a moment had he cursed). Then one of the six sho comes and makes Kadowaki stop. Kannagi takes Tsukuyo after Hinohara drops it, and they have a talk, because Hinohara is being weak and depressed and pulling into himself and giving up. It's very much the way he was in the human world, and how he's now reacting to Kadowaki's presence. It's very not-good, but the talk is a nice moment. It makes Hinohara stronger, as does his talk with Kotoha later, and it makes the relationship with Kannagi better. Kannagi also has to realize that he can't take Tsukuyo from him. A bit later, Kanate admits to what he's planning on doing, to the robbers that blamed him before he went to Gatoya; and how he then plans on parting ways with them. I... hope that doesn't happen. I really like Kanate, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with him, but I don't want him to go.
For the next chapter, but only one, it switches to Arata. Where one of the sho takes Kadowaki's place, who's name is Harunawa. He has marks all over his body (he looks really cool. I don't know why, but I really like how symbols look on people, like with Kanate as well,), and he fights some of the students (and kills them?) with his hayagami, which he also does to Arata. It's bad, and I'm hoping that it gets fixed quickly, in the next one. But then Oribe shows up, and says that Arata has her 'protection'? What does that mean? I want to know what that means. I mean, I have an idea what she meant, but why did she say it and why didn't he take her seriously? I'm thinking that she's from Arata's world, that maybe she's connected to the Princess or Kotoha? But maybe it's someone we haven't met yet? But hopefully it's someone? I want to know what she knows.
It goes back to Hinohara for the rest of the volume. Him and the gang are just arriving at the next town, which turns out to be all about tourists and making money. They have to pay in order to get in, and have a hard time getting in to meet the zokusho. They have to work in order to make money, but have to work a ton in order to make enough for anything. It's all completely ridiculous.
They meet Suehiro, who kind of helps them. Excluding Kotoha, they have to do some hard labor (where, weirdly enough, they look really good in their uniforms; Kannagi in particular), and then have to wash women's backs to make money (the second of which only Kanate and Hinohara do, but don't mind at all). It takes them a lot to make anything, though, but it's all, in a way, a hoax anyway. I won't spoil that for you, though. It all works out in it's own way, though, and the four set out to meet the sho Yorunami, who apparently holds a lot of power and influence over the others.
At the end, Hinohara gives Kotoha a pretty butterfly hair clip-thing, which is sweet. Then it shows Kadowaki in Harunawa's place, where he meets his new attendant, a clumsy girl who wants to know his favorite things, while he only cares about bring Hinohara down. Hopefully she will bring some sense to him.
A lot seems to happen in each volume, which is good. I'm hoping for more of Arata, particularly because of what happened in this volume, and I want to find out more about Oribe. I want some stuff to happen with Kanate, as well as between Hinohara and Kotoha. And I'm sure we'll meet Yorunami (who's name, for some reason, I am having the hardest time pronouncing,) in the next one, see what's up with him. I kind of am assuming that it'll get resolved rather quickly, like with the other sho's, but it's also quite likely that it will become a longer plot line.
It's just... a good, adventurous shonen manga, with some bits of shojo thrown in, so far. I'm liking it rather well.
[Taken from my blog.]