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Transformers: The Manga Volume 1 Review


“Transformers: The Manga Volume 1” is a treat for fans.

Originally printed in TV Magazine in Japan in 1985, “Transformers: The Manga” has now been translated into English for the first time with this new hardcover release from Viz Media. The Manga is comprised of 3 stories (each with their own chapters/mini-stories) titled “Fight! Super Robots Life-Form Transformers,” “The Story Of The Super Robot Life-Forms: The Transformers,” and “The Great Transformers War.” The Masumi Kaneda scripted stories apparently run concurrent with G1 canon and are largely Tokyo based. 

After a short prologue (in color!) involving the Cybertron war between the Optimus Prime led Autobots and Megatron commanded Decepticons and the two factions leaving in search of life sustaining energy, ‘Fight!’ begins with the Decepticons attacking Tokyo. The Autobots defend the citizens and are aided by a helpful boy named Kenji who becomes an honorary Autobot. The rest of this story involves bases, Megatron plans, a baseball stadium under siege, Utopia Island, faux Autobots, a Battle Dog, and combiners. 

‘Super’ takes place when Rodimus Prime is in charge. In this adventure, Rodimus faces off against Galvatron, Megatron and Gilthor. Other stories involves Autobot base Scramble City under attack by Trypticon and the Planet Femina. 

Finally, ‘Great’ is fairly straight forward as the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons rages on. Storylines here include a scientist (Dr. Dalton) being rescued by the Autobots, Technobots, and Spike in an exosuit.

The Manga concludes with a lengthy color and B&W art gallery. Each piece is accompanied by character labels and where the illustration came from. 

From a storytelling standpoint, the stories within this Manga are pretty basic. It’s your standard Autobots v Decepticons battles with very little characterization and lots of transforming, combining, and Decepticons being foiled and cursing the Autobots. But who cares? The quality is besides the point here. From a Transformers historical perspective, this Manga release is a throwback treasure. G1 enthusiasts in particular will be overjoyed to finally get their hands on an English translated copy of these 80s stories (with more volumes to come).

Although the stories may lack depth of modern comic stories, that doesn’t mean the stories aren’t worth pouring over. The Battle Dog storyline is a stand-out here as the notion of Decepticons weaponizing a dog was an interesting (and sinister) story. It’s a short tale, but it had quite an impact. Visually, all of the stories are a thrill to look at. Yes, some of the panels can be a bit chaotic in terms of following the action, but artist Ban Magami’s work (which is a blend of G1 and manga style) is so compelling that you likely won’t care.


February 27, 2020 - Posted by | Manga Review | , , , , , , , ,

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