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This debut from DC Comics' manga line contains many of the genre's traditional elements, including the child born destined for great things, the mysterious elderly mentor, the android searching for his humanity, magical gadgets and creatures, and the ubiquitous panty shot. Madara, a blacksmith's apprentice with artificial limbs, discovers his fighting potential when his village is attacked. When he touches a special sword to his head, his spiritual aura is released, which turns his limbs into battle gadgets. As Madara's mentor lays dying, he tells Madara that the eight pieces of his "true" body can be recovered by defeating the eight villainous generals of Emperor Miroku. The book's art is standard manga-style—readable without distracting exaggerations—although the extent of the violence and a few nude scenes give the book a "Mature" rating. Most of the villains killed are humanoid animals, not humans, which helps maintain the fantasy setting. Within the predictable quest formula, readers enjoy the journey, not the accomplishments. A note at book's end mentions that although this is "authentic manga," the creators were experimenting with Western-style formatting, so the book reads left-to-right without the need for readers to flip it or the creators to retouch the art.
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Madara was found adrift on the river in a lotus blossom as a baby, injured and mangled. Tatara, the wise elder of a small rural village, is able to save Madara and rebuild his body with mechanical gadgets. Although Madara's youth passes by in uneventful obscurity, his destiny eventually catches up with him. When demon minions from the evil emperor attack his village, Madara awakens the power to use his gadget limbs as weapons to defend his family. He is told that he must now go out into the unknown world to defeat the emperor and his demon generals. Madara is high-action fantasy manga. The art is in the standard style, but the character design is well thought out, and the villains are cool, over-the-top monsters. Good to recommend to fans of anime like Slayers and iria or of video games like Mortal Kombat. Tina Coleman
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