Manga Review: Dragon Drive Volume Four

Dragon Drive Volume 4 is a manga with the story and art by Ken-ichi Sakura. Viz Media holds the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was done by Ian Reid and Honyaku Center Inc., with a translation done by Martin Hunt and Honyaku Center Inc. This edition of the manga was published in 2007. Dragon Drive is rated “A,” which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.

Dragon Drive Volume 4
Written by: Ken-ichi Sakura
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 2, 2007

This volume of Dragon Drive introduces new characters named Maguna and Taiyo. During this volume, we learn there’s more to Taiyo than there appears at first. It’s also revealed that there is a team from Earth representing Ri-On that is part of the Dragonic Heaven Competition; the identities of the members of this team come as a shock to Reiji. There’s also backstory included for Rokkaku. By the end of this volume, the Ri-On team has taken the battle for the Jinryu Stone to a whole new level.

It was nice to see that there was more emphasis placed on backstory and character development in this volume in comparison to the second and third volumes. While there’s still plenty of action and fighting going on in this volume, these elements are not as overpowering. Getting to see Rokkaku’s backstory helps to make him a more likable character for the reader. When he was introduced in the second volume, he was simply an annoying and loudmouthed guy who liked to party, and there was really nothing in the third volume to make the reader think anything different of him. Now that the reader knows Rokakku’s backstory, it becomes easier to understand him and to root for him. However, I have to say that the “big reveal” for Taiyo ended up being way too predictable. I was able to figure out what it was rather quickly after his introduction, which lessened the impact of the “big reveal” for me.

Since the emphasis on action was scaled back for this volume, it’s not quite as full with the “busy” action panels as volumes two and three were. I personally found this to be a nice break after reading so much action in the previous two volumes of the series.

As the story has progressed, it appears that Ken-ichi Sakura is letting the story unfold without having the otherworldly elements overpowering what’s going on and diluting the impact of the story. Hopefully Sakura can keep this balance going as the series continues. As with previous volumes, I think that Dragon Drive can be appreciated and enjoyed by readers who enjoy manga series like Yu-Gi-Oh!

I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my daughter checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Dragon Drive:

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