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Element Line
Element Line
Element Line
by Mamiya Takizaki
Manga Review

What is a lot of blood and violence when you have a good story to get into? Barely into the first ten pages of the manga and we have a dead woman, a disemboweled hero, and lots of hacking and slashing of monsters but we haven't even met the boy that this whole story is about yet.

Element Line - illustration from the mangaWe meet Kam a few pages later as an orphan living in the city of Grisfynn, one of the few human cities that remain protected by Shields from Rizoms. Shields is just another fancy name for these huge moats that surrounds these cities but what is interesting here is that these Shields are maintained by a mysterious group called Guild. Guild provides guards for all the cities and soldiers to protect traders that travel between the cities but their unspoken motto is "all the rules of the Guild must be observed, no matter how many, no matter how difficult to follow". If you want explanations or perhaps additional information, you are not getting any from Guild. They are a well-meaning group: keep the people safe and keep everyone happy and all but it's a little frustrating to not know everything.

Element Line - illustration from the mangaIt's extra frustrating for Kam since he isn't really an orphan but wants everyone to believe he is. No one knows he exists except a select few that our original disemboweled hero, Laolyth, entrusted him to and even then they pretend that he doesn't exist because all of a sudden he started developing these weird scars and cracked skin on his back. They call him a monster, said that he shouldn't have been born, and unloaded him on an unsuspecting soldier named Batsuo. As the scars and cracked skin slowly spread on his body, the more scared he becomes of losing the "family" that he has found in Grisfynn.

The father that he has found in Batsuo, the brother in Leni, the annoying little sister in Miru, and the best friend in Ludia might be gone the minute they find out that he is not normal like everyone else, maybe a monster just like his previous "family" believes he is. Fearing their rejection and, if he ends up being a monster, potentially harming them, Kam makes up his mind that he rather chance it outside by himself against the Rizoms than stay in the city with them so he signs up to become a soldier for Guild to get out.

Element Line - illustration from the mangaIf Kam's plight doesn't draw you in enough, we have a bit of political intrigue, too. Within Guild, there seems to be a bit of a power struggle going on with a few assassinations here and there. You have the leader of Guild, "the Ancient", feeding his pet birds, clipping his bonsai trees, and traveling incognito between cities to visit a captured Rizom that isn't suppose to exist. A scientist demands that Guild confess that they have a captured Rizom and allow him to run a few tests on it as a guinea pig. If Guild doesn't agree to his demands, he will make sure that all the cities find out about it and the possibility that Rizoms are just mutated humans. You have a mother that is leaking Guild secrets all over the place so she can scare the higher-ups into giving her son the title of "Master", Guild administrator of a city. When the plan backfired, the mother sent assassins out to cover her tracks.

Still not interested? There must be something wrong with you if you don't want to find out if the disemboweled hero is still alive, if Kam really is a monster, or if the mother will just plain assassinate everyone on the planet so her son gets to be Master of the Universe.

Maybe that captured Rizom is our disemboweled hero? Maybe everyone mutates into a Rizom and there is no Master of the Universe title for anyone? And what does Element Line have to do with anything?

Reviewed by Carolyn Whu, July 2008

Element Line - illustration from the manga

Note: To see the above image at full size just click here...

Element Line - illustration from the manga

Element Line

Element Line Website Links:

Element Line (manga) entry at Anime News Network

Kibagarou Web Site (Japanese)

Mamiya Takizaki blog (Japanese)

Element Line - illustration from the manga

Element Line - illustration from the manga

Element Line - illustration from the manga

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