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Ashen Victor
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Ashen Victor

Distributor
Viz
Author/Artist
Yukito Kishiro
Price
£10 Approx.

Yukito Kishiro: the mind behind the fantastic Battle Angel Alita series once, several years ago, decided to make a short story set in the Battle Angel universe. We, the fans, went crazy. As you could understand, we expected something fantastic. Maybe more of Hugo's exploits before meeting Alita? Maybe a back story on Ido? Maybe something on Zapan? Just as long as it was set around the area of the first two Battle Angel volumes things were looking very peachy. Then it turned out to be set in the Motorball world... We were all a little dissapointed about that, but maybe it wuld expand on the Motorball universe? Maybe we'd see a deep story with the racing as a back drop? But no, the racing was there and so was the drama. It follows "Crash king" Snev who crashes in every race, through a psychalogical nightmare with murders, drugs, prostitutes and some very weird and hard to grasp moments.

Yes, things do sound a lot like Battle Angel Alita with Motorball. However, where Battle Angel Alita had extremely well drawn and shaded graphics Ashen victor has generally stark black and white drawings, whether this is supposed to mean something, be the creator experimenting or just being lazy I cannot be sure. Whatever the intention was, it does add a nice noirish feel to the story. The plot itself is quite good with revalations and Snev's friend (the one of two prostitutes in the manga, so Hentai fans can bugger off now) being brutally murdered leads to a slightly depressing conclusion. It is all just a little too hard to follow though. When reading Battle Angel Alita you had a god idea of everything that was going on, but here you seem to always feel in the dark about stuff. It's also a bit two short...4 small issues in a £10 volume is ridiculous. An hour to read is hardly longevity, and you won't re-read it any time soon.

However, in the end it is a good effort and a relatively good manga, if a little bit of a let-down from Battle Angel Alita. It does still make you wonder however, just how much better it would be in a slightly different setting.

7
A good attempt and pretty entertaining, but not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination.
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