The First King Adventure

Review covers every volume that is available in English

First King Adventure stars Varumu, the (rather laid back) prince of a fantasy kingdom. In order to be officially eligible to the throne, he must find and then make a pact with a series of spiritual beasts. The basic plot of First King Adventure risks being compared to Pokemon and its clones, especially as Varumu can summon the spirits he has a pact with at will. But thankfully First King Adventure plays out in an original way giving us something different.

Varumu is an interesting character. What makes First King Adventure different is Varumu's relaxed attitude, which is so encompassing that it starts to inundate the whole Manga. Shortly into the first Volume, Varumu finds himself transported to Earth. He doesn't understand how he arrived there, but never one to accentuate he puts it to the back of his mind and gets on with looking for the spirits. In fact, no matter what dangers he encounters, Varumu never breaks from his relaxed mentality.

First King Adventure does not just focus on Varumu; the children he befriends get a lot of time as well. However as Varumu is the one who needs to make the pacts, and Varumu is the one who has control over the spirits after having made the pacts, in the first volume I couldn't help but feel that First King Adventure's other characters seemed to have nothing to gain and no help to give. Most aren't even particularly interesting, so why did the Manga spend so much time focusing on them?

Another niggle I had with the first volume is that First King Adventure tried to work its own pilot into the story. I've no problem with the pilot itself; it's a nice short story. However as it's not clearly labelled as being separate to the story despite being so, and there is a large, confusing continuity break when as the main story starts on the page immediately after. Had the pilot been in the back of the book and labelled as a bonus it would have probably added to the first volume rather than detract.

First King Adventure is aimed at a very young audience. However after reading it myself, I didn't feel that it being aimed at kids is going to put off an older reader. Unfortunately the poor pacing will do that instead.

I felt that First King Adventure spent more time trying to woo the reader with its characters rather than actually doing anything or explaining anything. The pace is quite slow; most of the panels in the Manga are spent showing close up reaction-shots of the characters. I can't quite see any benefit of doing this; unlike a TV show or a film a book can't make the reader stop and stare at a panel. Having lots of similar panels with no movement in-between just seems wasted space.

Reading on, I found the the second volume to be a little bit of an improvement. Varumu's new friends start getting more involved in the search for the spirits, which starts to cause Varumu problems. This justifies their inclusion and removes one of my gripes from the first volume. The story is a lot clearer in the second volume as well.

Alas at this point translation has stopped, so unless you can speak Japanese you won't be reading any further volumes, and First King Adventure won't be getting another chance to improve itself.

I wouldn't go so far to say that I'd recommend First King Adventure. It's not that great, and it's yet another unfinished story. But if you've got a young and open mind maybe you might like it.