Original Title: Arata Kangatari (Japan)
Author & Artist: Yuu Watase
Publishers: Shonen Sunday / VIZ Media (US) & Shogakukan (Japan)
Price: $9.99 US
Rating: T – Teens 13+
Genres: Shonen, Action/Adventure, Fantasy
US Release Date: March 2010
Purchase from RightStuf!, or Amazon
The name Yuu Watase sounded familiar as I started to read Arata The Legend. The latest manga out from Mrs. Watase and Viz Media. Turns out she’s only created some of my favorite Manga stories ever. She’s created: Fushigi Yūgi, Alice 19th, Ceres, The Celestial Legend, and Absolute Boyfriend. Mrs. Watase is known for her shojo roots and the way she draws her bishōnen men (beautiful male characters). The beautiful male characters are usually pretty innocent and get tested very early in the series to find out who they really are.
In Arata The Legend, the ruling princess is about to retire. In order for that to happen a girl from the Hime clan has to take over for her. The problem is that in over 30 years there has not been a female born to the Hime clan. Arata is urged to cross dress because when he was born, the grandmother put that he was a girl on his birth certificate. I don’t want to spoil the story, but Arata finds himself fighting for his life and in a weird twist ends up changing places with a future date Arata. Now each of them have to fend for themselves in their new world. I have to say that future Arata has a more difficult time ahead of him because people want him dead.
At times this title was a little hard to read. Some of the bigger actions were on two pages, but only the top. It was a bit confusing for me to know how to read that page. But overall this title is fun, interesting and has me totally hooked. The characters are not only interesting, but you sympathize with them and their situation very quickly. They are endearing not because they are the hero, but because they are put in these rough situations and have to be brave.
The artwork is beautiful and typical Yuu Watase. This manga is rated T for teens and I think any shojo manga reader should definitely pick this up!