Scryed vol 1 (of 5)

UK Distributor:  TokyoPop

Author:  Yosuke Kuroda & Yasunari Toda

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  £6.99

Number of Pages:  192

ISBN:  1-5918-2228-9

Reviewed:  18th February 2005

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)


In the near future a huge seismic cataclysm has thrust the Yokohama region of Japan miles into the air, and caused mass devastation.  Cut off from the rest of the world it degenerates into The Lost Ground - a dangerous mountainous wasteland where people desperately attempt to survive.  However, a strange side effect of the disaster has caused some born after it to develop telekinetic powers known as 'Alters' that allow them to manipulate matter through the power of the mind.  On the Eastern fringes of the lost ground a new society is beginning to establish itself, and it only fears one thing - the untrained 'native' Alter users of the wastelands who use their powers to dominate others - and so it creates a special force of fully trained Alter users known as The Holy to hunt them down.  However, one native Alter user known as The Treasoner fights for justice on his own terms, but his powers soon put him at loggerheads with Holy...

With the anime coming out later in the year from Beez I thought I'd give the manga a go.  I was not impressed.

The idea isn't bad, but the problem is that the tired 'man fighting for justice in a post-apocalyptic wasteland' has been done so many times before by the likes of Fist of the North Star that there has to be a new and original spin on it to make it anything more than hackneyed.  Unfortunately Scryed doesn't pull it off.  The artwork in this volume is average, the storyline pretty dull and the characters a bit too clichéd, there are the germs of good ideas in there but they just get lost amongst the cheesy dialogue and unimpressive fighting.  Some of the characters are shockingly bad - in particular the evil Holy agent and the evil native Alter users - and there is a disturbing trend of child killing which, although probably aimed at tugging the heart strings, fails to illicit any feeling other than revulsion. 

There are some hints that a plot is rising out of the mire towards the end of the volume, when the main character confronts a powerful member of Holy and sets the scene for future confrontations, but what really harms this book is the lack of any spark of originality that makes you want to see what will happen next.  The idea of society breaking down following an ecological disaster and subsequently trying to recover has been done before and better by Violence Jack (I never thought I'd hear myself saying that...) and the characters are nearly entirely unengaging.

It is possible that some will see more in this book than I do, it has plenty of action and is similar to Fist of the North Star and Battle Angel Alita - fans of those series may enjoy it and see the potential below its obvious flaws.  However, it is a shame that despite its potential to get better, this first volume is so weak that it can draw unfavourable comparisons with risible series like Violence Jack.  One for hardcore sci-fi action fans only, for everyone else there are better series out there that tread similar ground.

Best Bit:  The main Holy's Alter power.

Worst Bit:  The disturbing penchant for killing children.


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