Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Break Blade by Yoshinaga Yunosuke

Break Blade
Yoshinaga Yunosuke


From Manga Abyss:
Which to choose, the country or my friend--!? The "Continent of Cruzon", a world where people are born with magic. Lygatto, one of the rare people "without magic" in this world, is getting swallowed up in the whirlpool of a massive war. With Lygatto as the core, four close friends are connected by cruel fate in a spectacular war tale!!!
In the continent of Cruzon, an impending war between the Kingdom of Krishna and the nation of Athens is brimming. The people of this land are able to wield the crystals from the ground for whatever purpose they desire. Yet one person, Lygatto Arrow, is not. He is an "un-sorcerer", a person unable to wield the crystals. But this characteristic will enable him to pilot an ancient mecha, one strong enough to put up a fight against the invading army of Athens.

From Baka-Updates:
Rygart Arrow is the only one in his world who lacks the inherent ability to power up quartz, the energy source that makes all of the machines run. Nevertheless, he's pretty well connected. The King and Queen of his country of Krisna happen to be old college friends. But so is Zess, the guy who is leading the army of a neighboring kingdom in an attack on Krisna.
How did it comes to this? There's little time to ponder the implications as an army in giant, mechanized battle suits attacks. Arrow just feels like he's in the way - until he comes across a powerful, ancient mech that no one has yet to be able to figure out how to run. But his natural affinity for the suit's operating mechanism may just turn Arrow into the most important player of all.

Alternate names
Bureiku Bureido
Broken Blade
Espada Rota
Espada Quebrada
Bruten Klinga
Сломанный меч
Pedang Butut


Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Fox, Manga Reader, Manga Anime

Rosy's scrawlings on Break Blade
Break Blade seems at first like its portrayal of war and heroism will be fairly fantastical, following the lines of a young man coming good, defeating foes and winning the day. Break Blade isn't like that at all though. There's a realism to the way war progresses, the situations that force people to make difficult decisions, the desperation, the cruelty and the useless casualties. There's also a fairly believable portrayal of the horrific glee some feel in dividing up a country's wealth, subjugating people, manipulating others into becoming cannon fodder for a cause they're unaware of and many other things besides. Even the mentally ill and the psychotic are given their roles within the war of Break Blade. And for all this, Break Blade is worth reading as it is worth knowing just how horrible people can be and how bitter heroism can be.
The story follows Lygatto and his friends, some divided by politics, as they try to survive and stand for what they believe in. Their beliefs and causes aren't grandiose of for the greater good but rather for the survival of themselves and their friends, loves and family. The reasons they fight are some of the most common aside from patriotism when it comes to real wars and only by dumb luck and bloody mistakes do they all manage to make it so far, even if the friendships are fracturing.
Aside from this realism there are mechanoids or golems to enjoy, castles, a regency system or two, and a simply magic system based on controlling quartz energies. The magic is mostly used for guns, communications and lighting etc. and there's no sign of black magic or spell slinging at all, something that likely wouldn't work within the tech-based war story.
The art of Break Blade is stark, tending to be light, which seems unusual for a war story until you see the desert/arid landscape of Lygatto's country Krishna. The starkness and light of the illustrations force you to see that there's little romance - dark or otherwise - in the war, even with the interesting weaponry to look at. While the style isn't blast-em-away original the subject matter of the artwork makes the manga pleasing to the eye. The flow is smooth and close ups on battle scenes and landscape views are both created with equal skill.
Break Blade, while a pleasure to read is also a little painful. But no good war story is a calm one. You might not come away happy but you will come away feeling more cynical and in touch with reality, which, as far as I'm concern, is a good thing to hang on to.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone who likes alternate world fantasy, war stories and historical fantasy.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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