Monochrome Vision


Series Introduction: Übel Blatt by shewhosnacks
October 15, 2009, 3:15 PM
Filed under: Manga, Series Introduction | Tags: , ,

Ubel Blatt V1 cover page

Ubel Blatt Volume 1

Sick and tired of shounen manga where the hero goes around spewing heroic crap, bumbling around fighting with plain brute force and without strategy, then wins with a stroke of pure luck – where evil villain (or soon to be ally-in-denial) goes “! This is…! It cannot be..!!” before being blown to bits?

What-What the hell is that

Villain Identity undisclosed.

Well, Ubel Blatt may just be the one for you!

Our protagonist Koinzell is introduced in the package of a young elfin boy of two braids with blades attached in Volume 0. Set in the kingdom of Szaalanden where peace has descended upon the land for more than a decade brought about by 7 heroes, groups of rebels are once again strife across the land. As it goes according to history, there was once a war against the Wischtech, a nation of darkness, and in an effort to finally end the war, the emperor bestowed upon 14 exceptional youths a holy lance each and set them off on a mission. Along the journey, 3 perished, and they were called the “Precious Departed”. 4 betrayed the kingdom, thus came to be known as the “Lances of Betrayal”, and finally, the last 7 heroes were  named…the “7 Heroes”. Obviously.

A large faction of the rebels are being led by whom they called the Lances of Betrayal in a group named “Black Wing Sword Army”, and Volume 0 sees Koinzell setting off to ensure the death of each of these “Lances of Betrayal”. Before you decide that this manga is another one of the typical “You sinned against me, now I’m back for REVENGE!” plots, think again. By the end of the volume, we are given a twist in the plot and the famous saying “It is the victors that write history” comes painfully into being. The true history of the glorious 14 Lances were not as it were told, and Koinzell himself is not exactly who he seems to be. From there, Koinzell begins his hunt on the 7 Heroes and the foundations for the story are set.

There is a particular depth of character in Koinzell that sets you thinking, and he does not come off as an overly angst-ridden and angry individual, but rather, an extremely focused character. Some may find that he is far too overpowered, though given his history and recent progresses, I find that particular point getting weaker. As it is shown, the right planning of army deployment and strategies gives the lesser fighters (or army) a chance against Koinzell, even if he does later manage to escape.

The side characters however, do not tend to share the same balance. While we can see the struggle of duty versus moral code in some, the characteristics of the females in the manga leaves much to be desired. As for the villains, while most of them are painted in “I am 100% evil”, there are a rare few that aren’t (though they were very rarely given more insight into).

Usage of multiple races, fantasy based creatures such as dragons and magic are well tied into the medieval setting, and never over the top. This essentially means that the manga is not destroyed by inserting grossly exaggerated power (or beauty) imbalances based on race or the abrupt appearance of a particular creature.  The existance of these fictional races and creatures are weaved to exist with the story. There are themes such as oppression, race discrimination and corruption, and to make my point about the tie in of the races and creature, believe it or not, the “dragon riders” of this manga are the ones being discriminated against.

The art of Ubel Blatt is consistent and pleasing to the eyes. The artist does not shrink from depicting bloody scenes, and definitely doesn’t hold back from drawing the female’s goods. It must be warned that in the first few chapters, there will be ecchi-ness (fan service?). Fortunately, the attention by the author on this shifts away towards the plot as it goes along, so those of you who may not be as comfortable as others in viewing female nudity, if you can stomach the first few chapters and focus more on the plot, you’re safe. In fact, as it goes further, the plot gets better. I cannot vouch for the clothes (armour?) of the female characters, however. They remain skimpy and utterly impractical for protection.

Even as the plot progress, one is reminded that this is not a typical “revenge” plot. The mangaka delves into Koinzell’s mindset and perception of the situation, and Koinzell’s loyalty to his king is impeccable.

Of course, Koinzell is not without his allies-in-denial (admit it. Every action manga has at least an AID at a point of time). Blood, bashing, and – to you guys out there – boobs. Armed with a decent plot, what’s there more to want? This manga is a self contained, and controlled one. I would, however, request you to withhold your judgements til at least 2 volumes into the manga (: The nicer bits are of course, later.

Ratings:
Plot: 8.5/10

Development: 7.5/10

Characters: 7/10

Art: 8/10

Overall: 7.78/10

Conclusion:

Did you just say...you do not wish to read this?

and we all know what happened to that Akuma..

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