July 24, 2004
Had this not been provided to me as pure review fodder, I wouldn’t have known it existed. Let it be known that I will read and review anything that is sent to me, and I am capable of giving it a fair review, with its positives and negatives balanced out no matter if I think it’s bad or not. I’ll always include some positives, no matter how hard I have to dig. Here though, that’s not necessary since this is for my own amusement.
This blows. Hard. Reading the back and a vague description online, I was expecting a One Piece ripoff, which would’ve been great, though I’d have complained about it being a ripoff. This is actually a fairly original story, sort of with a middle-eastern setting to it. A guy, Jubei, who’s the greatest merchant in the world will brave anything to bring back what the client needs. He braves some pretty crazy stuff, and he does this all primarily with his sidekick Carpet, who is a humanoid Magic Carpet that bears a nasal resemblance to Eiichiro Oda’s Usopp. He also has a variety of other things like an insect sword that needs to feed on Jubei’s teeth in order for him to use it, a cranky Genie who’s only attack is to get bigger to relieve stress, and a toad-bag that keeps things safe and regurgitates them when Jubei requires the items.
Going on that description, it sounds like this should be the best series ever, and it is a lot of fun. However, it indeed just sucks. A large part of this is that it’s very simplistic. While the ideas are good and the action’s executed in a very entertaining manner, everything happens, then stops. There’ll be an event, and instead of a buildup happening with this individual event, it will conclude and the plot will move on. Sure, there are the plots of the two stories that comprise the volume, but all the things that happen in these stories happen in the most minimal way possible. If this doesn’t sound that bad, you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Something along the lines of “Oh, look, this eastern temple’s actually a giant robot! It’s taking swings at us, but the only way in is through its mouth! Oh wait, we can fly up its ass. *scene ends*.” The action has a lot of potential to last a long time and be very interesting, but it doesn’t, and it fails miserably as a result.
Along with this, the characters have absolutely no depth, including Jubei and Carpet themselves. They don’t seem like the type that need depth for some reason though, so the plot lacking detail is what disappoints me. Also, the art’s quite dark and unappealing, which is a shame because I thought it looked cute in Alien Nine, the mangaka’s other series.
This review is actually more lukewarm than it is outright negative, but trust me, I was quite mad when I finished. This could’ve been one of the most mind-blowing good series that I never knew existed, and instead it crams entire interesting and detailed story arcs into five chapters. Perhaps I’m mad because I really want it to be good, but it just isn’t. I hate that.