Saturday, January 2, 2010

Manga Review: RE:Play Volume 3

Prior to the third volume showing up at my doorstep I must admit that I never heard about RE:Play from Tokyopop. This American-based manga comes from creator Christy Lijewski, who also has some other works in publication. The series has been in circulation since 2006 and this installment marks the final volume, wrapping it all up as a trilogy.

In case you’re like me and weren’t really sure what was going on here, let me fill you in on the book as best I can. Basically it’s all about a punk band named Faust. They seem to be pretty popular as indie artists and play a lot of club gigs and whatnot. Cree is the vocalist, Rail is the guitarist, Izsak is the bassist, and Char is the Drummer. Now, there’s some relationship mumbo-jumbo here as Rail wants Cree, but Cree is dating Izsak. This is something that pisses Rail off to no end and he lashes out at Cree and Izsak constantly, though he never really expresses how he feels. As far as Izsak is concerned he bears something of an air of mystery. Strange people keep following him and there are times where he behaves oddly. Fans of the book and newcomers should note that we find out why in this installment.

The third volume of RE:Play starts out in a club with Izsak kissing some chick other than Cree, though she happens to witness the whole thing. Naturally her first reaction is to deck the girl who kissed her boyfriend. Her second reaction is to run away to the bathroom crying. Izsak, however, finds himself in a bit of a pickle. He has absolutely no idea who the girl that kissed him is, and now he has to make up with Cree. Something else was at work behind the situation though, and things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Char sees one of her professors at the club and is introduced to his boyfriend, who happens to be an editor of a popular magazine. As luck would have it he wants to do a spread on Izsak and a subsequent feature on Faust, naming Izsak its lead man. Rail has a huge problem with that and puts an ultimatum on the table that could shake the very foundation of the band. That’s not the biggest development that comes from this installment though.

Cree is kidnapped in the aftermath of the dramatic events at the club, and the perpetrators lure Izsak to them. What’s the catch? Well, I don’t want to spoil the big reveal here, but let’s just say it’s very...interesting. Since I haven’t read the other installments I’m not sure how this fits into the overall plot, but knowing what little I know of the series I must say it seems kind of out of place. Either way, it’s handled quite deftly and the story makes it believable to an extent, so I went with it. This plot more of less takes over and defines who Izsak is as a person.

Despite all that happens between Cree and Izsak in this installment, there’s also quite a lot of focus on the villains of the show and on Rail. On the bad guy side of things the dynamic duo of Niji and Laurent are charmingly dangerous and I really appreciated where Lijewski went with them. Also, before the volume ends Rail gets into a rather awkward situation and there’s a bit of a hint at a future place for his character as well.

All in all the third, and final, volume of RE:Play was quite good. There was a bit of a supernatural spin here with felt out of place, but since I didn’t know the rest of the series it might have already been introduced. Despite my lack of knowledge I truly enjoyed this manga. Lijewski’s writing and art style are inviting and easy to appreciate, and the story and characters both feel well-developed. If you’ve been reading the series up until now then you’ll be pleased with where this volume takes things, however, if you’re new to the show (like me) then consider checking out the first two installments. It almost feels like a supernatural version of Beck, but with more of a focus on romance.

Maki Rating:

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