March Story 3

December 27, 2011

Hyung-Min Kim / Kyung-Il Yang – Viz – 2011 – 4+ volumes

The focus in this volume is on Jake, the enormous mentor character that also serves as comic relief. Jake is probably the best thing in this series. Not only do I enjoy her bizarrely cartoonish character design, I love when she’s in a panel with any other character, clearly about five times the size of them for no reason whatsoever. There are a couple stories that feature her in this volume, and I’m glad she’s being used more. She’s far more interesting than March.

The character designs in general in this series are great. There are more anthropomorphic animal characters in this volume, and they look right at home next to the human characters. I love the casual disregard for logic in that way.

Somehow, I liked most of the stories in this volume, yet they left almost no impression on me. The first one is probably the best, about a female beaver (dressed up like an old woman) who kidnaps March and Rodin to try and train March as a bride for her human son. The beaver-woman is cantankerous and a lot of fun, it’s nice seeing March get in touch with her feminine side, and the story itself is rather sweet and features Jake coming to the rescue, rather than March fighting the Ill. It’s a little sillier in tone too, if the fact the main character was a beaverwoman and the problem was solved by Jake was any indication. There’s no real conflict, and it’s obvious by the tone of the story that the beaverwoman isn’t going to do anything bad. I was actually happy to see that she appears to be a recurring character now.

The next story is, again, not as serious and dramatic as the past volumes, but is still a rather serious one about a tap-dancing skeleton that seems to be attacking pirate ships. There’s not too much to it, but the sentimental ending, plus the rather endearing image of that skeleton dancing across the surface of the ocean (again, the character designs are really good) endeared me to it. This is another story that has a lot of Jake in it, but neither Jake nor March is the one that solves the problem this time.

The third story is the one that explains a little about Jake’s past. It’s not really a… “this is her motivation”-type story, nor does it explain her real background or anything, it just examines a period of Jake’s life where she gave up hunting Ill and became a maid at a huge castle inhabited by one old man. It’s another rather sentimental story, and doesn’t really fit in with Jake’s character, but more of Jake is never a bad thing.

And… the final story is more along the lines of the ones we’ve seen previously, with an Ill that appears to be sucking the life from a young woman. This one is also a little more sentimental and lighter in tone than the bloody, dramatic stories we’ve seen previously… and March is once again not the one that slays the Ill here. It’s benevolent, which also doesn’t really make sense, but whatever. It’s still a cute story. The nifty character designs make another appearance, since the theme of the story is a man in a cartoon cat mask making the sick young woman laugh.

The tone definitely changed in this volume, and again, I still really like reading these… but that the volume featured more of Jake, an enjoyable side character, rather than March, the main character, probably isn’t a good sign. Nor is the change in tone. The fact that this still didn’t really stand out in any way, even with Jake in the spotlight, is definitely not a good sign. But again, it’s a decent read if you happen across it… it’s just not anything special. And the overarching plot doesn’t seem to be going anywhere as of this volume. But these are definitely enjoyable short stories, with an interesting mix of action and character development that doesn’t really lean heavily on either, which makes it appealing to a fairly general audience.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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