Saturday, March 9, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Arago by Arai Takahiro

Arai Takahiro


The story centers around two twins, Arago and Ewan, whose parents were slaughtered by monsters. Years later, the vengeful Arago crosses paths with Ewan, who has since become a police officer, just as blood begins to flow again in the streets of London.

Alternative names
AR∀GO -ロンドン市警特殊犯罪捜査官-
AR∀GO - London Shikei Tokushu Hanzai Sousakan
Arago - 伦敦市警特殊犯罪搜查官
Arago - 魔都伦敦特殊犯罪搜查官
Arago - 魔都特殊犯罪侦查官
Arago - London Shikei Tokushu Hanzai Sōsakan
Arago - London Shikei Tokushu Hanzai Sousakan


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

Rosy's scrawlings on Arago
Arago is a manga filled with ghosts, fairies, goblins, leprechauns, horsemen (yes, those of the four), and a once man now monster named Patchman who resembles Frankenstein's monster in creation. The story is based around one of two brothers who believes himself the sole survivor of an attack by the Patchman. Believing he'd lost his brother while they were both young Arago sets out to be what his brother wanted to be, a policeman, almost as payment to the world for the loss of the better brother. While he does manage to become a policeman he doesn't behave as the others, being rougher and more brash. Arago also has a secret. He's got a power locked into his right hand and he's able to see and vanquish ghosts. Through a series of mysterious cases involving the supernatural Arago learns the mysterious Patchman has returned. Arago's desire for revenge takes him and several other friends and enemies further into the supernatural world than any of them would have liked. Then Ewan  the lost brother, appears.
This manga is a full tilt fantasy adventure through London where spooks and supernaturals freely live or exist alongside humans. Added to that are magical powers and suped-up abilities which are frequently displayed in fight scenes. There are a few beleaguered aspects to the writing, such as fight scenes are explained step by step, but there's little to annoy or stop one from enjoying the read. There are also a lot of male characters to females but at least there are some female main players about. The action is fast paced and the character list varied. There's also some mystery as to who the Patchman is and what he wants, which only becomes clearer towards the end of the manga. Overall, this is a manga that focuses both on supernatural action and tense relationships. It is a fun and light-hearted read and would serve well to entertain over a lazy weekend.
The art of Arago is both scratching, a little bubblish or blockish at times but also smooth and well-drawn. It has a style all its own thats a bit of am amalgamation of manga action styles, typical features like eye shapes and the comic strip style for illustrating the scenery and some of the other character features like builds and facial features. There's an easy flow to the actions scenes, unfortunately broken at times by the writing instead of the drawing, and a play to the use of darkness that reminds me at times of gothic art, especially concerning the floating ghost skull. The art of Arago is one of the most appealing features of the manga purely for the freedom and play involved.

I'd recommend this manga to: those who love London ghost stories, supernatural action, fantasy adventure and good old revenge plots.

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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