Sat, 29 March 2008
Manga Review: The Law of Ueki Volume 9 by Tsubasa Fukuchi. Translated and adapted by Yoshiko Tokuhara. Originally published by Shogakukan in Japan. Published by Viz, $9.99, Rated T for Teen.
The story of why Robert has such a low opinion of humanity opens up Volume 9 of The Law of Ueki. His treatment by the inhabitants of the town where he grew up as a an orphan explains why he wants to destroy the world if he wins the tournament. It explains WHY but it still does not make it right. The relationship between Ueki and Robert is very similar to that of Naruto and Gaara. Naruto felt a lot of sympathy for Gaara simply because to him, the Sand ninja represented a possibility of what Naruto himself could have become if he had been left to his own devices. Ueki understands why Robert feels the way he does, but he is also disgusted that he let an incident in his childhood cloud his whole future and turned to evil. Ueki always looks for the good in others, a way to change situations to the positive, and to redeem those that have fallen into darkness. In fact, he says that his law of justice has to do with conquering the weakness within ourselves. Big items on that list are: never betraying his friends, never giving up, and respecting all life. But Robert is not agreeable to any of these ideas, so Ueki is going to beat his ideals into him! Ironically, Robert's power is to change ideals into reality. Ueki is going to have to level up a bit more if he hopes to win this battle and also save the lives of his friends.
I am a really big fan of this manga, and of Ueki especially. The dude just never gives up, no matter how big the challenge before him. Even if the battle with Robert takes up most of this ninth volume, the action never gets boring or excessively silly. It's all done with good taste. The reader feels that all the fighting will be worth something in the end, that it has a higher metaphorical meaning than that of kids beating each other with goofy powers. Fukuchi always offers the hope that the bad guys can be turned around, if not through reason, then by the purification of battle. The art by Fukuchi is not anything great, but is attractive and is very easy to follow, especially during the battle scenes. The manga is a great read, especially now that the anime is on hiatus due to the collapse of Geneon.
My Grade: A