Manga Review: Dragon Knights Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Dragon Knights Volume One by Mineko Ohkami on Blogcritics.

Dragon Knights Volume One is a manga by Mineko Ohkami, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2004. The series is rated “T” for teens 13+; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Dragon Knights Volume 1
Written by: Mineko Ohkami
Publisher: Shinshokan
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: April 23, 2002

The series focuses on three young men going on an epic quest: Rune, Rath and Thatz. Rath likes to hunt demons, Rune is the serious member of the group, and Thatz has weaknesses for both treasure and food.

At the beginning of the volume, these three young men have completed the task set before them by the Dragon Lord; they retrieved the head of Nadil, the Demon Lord and arch-enemy of the Dragon Lord. This volume sees the band of adventurers getting sidetracked from returning to Draqueen, the capital. They are being sidetracked by various demons trying to take the head of Nadil away from the heroes.

From reading this volume, I really get the impression that Ohkami had meant for Dragon Knights to be more comedic than serious in nature. However, I really didn’t find the humor or jokes in this volume to be particularly funny. In some respects, the fact that the jokes are not funny could have been caused by whoever translated this manga volume rather than the original mangaka. However, I have no idea whether this was truly the case or not.

The way the story is told and illustrated, I had a hard time keeping up with what was going on and who the characters were. As they’re depicted, the scenes in this manga volume feel rather rushed, which makes it hard for anything to truly sink in with the reader as they’re reading the story.

I also wasn’t terribly impressed by the art in Dragon Knights. Rune, Rath and Thatz all have a “bishonen” (“beautiful boy”) look to them, although Rune is the one who looks most like a girl and is forced to crossdress in a couple of the stories. Some of the art also looks a little rough, but I’m not sure if this is how Ohkami actually drew some of these panels, or if Tokyopop didn’t reproduce these panels as well as they could have.

Overall, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Dragon Knights, and I wouldn’t be in any rush to read future volumes of the series. However, manga readers who enjoy non-serious fantasy stories with “bishonen” heroes will probably find some enjoyment in Dragon Knights.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Dragon Knights Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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