Title: Kingdom Hearts III manga Vol. 1
Author: Shiro Amano
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Publisher: Yen Press
Okay, the Kingdom Hearts series isn’t known for a straightforward or easy-to-understand story. So, for that reason, I applaud author Shiro Amano for delivering these manga adaptations of the series time and time again. Now, he is taking on Kingdom Hearts III, and even though it is full of laughs, I don’t think this narrative works well for this medium.
Kingdom Hearts III Vol. 1 is very similar to the story events of the game. In fact, if you’ve played the game, you’ll know exactly what is going to happen. This first volume covers Sora’s journey to Mount Olympus to figure out how he can gain his powers back. There was a point when Hercules lost his powers, so Sora wanted to pick his brain on how he game them back.
When he arrives, Hades is already starting trouble, and Sora needs to deal with it. You’re likely to fly through each page since the story is spread so thin across the eight chapters that nothing really significant happens. I found this approach to telling this story to be more of a companion to those who have completed the game because the humor included is a deep cut.
That said, Kingdom Hearts III Vol. 1 has some amusing moments that joke about the game and characters. It’s very much aimed at fans of the series, though, given the jokes used. This is complemented by some amazing facial expressions from the characters. Sora is depicted as crying most of the time, but his reactions to things are priceless. The action isn’t as well choreographed for manga as I would have hoped. I had a tough time following some of the battles through the panels, but the character interactions seem to be what really stand out.
The writing is mostly dull. There’s just huge text on every panel that takes up way too much page real estate. This makes me think the story is aimed at kids who see Disney characters and discover Kingdom Hearts instead. The whole tone of the manga, while including fan-specific dialogue, seems to be more geared towards a younger audience as it spells out most of the plot lines as best it can.
Kingdom Hearts III Vol. 1 is a manga that jumps between catering to fans and children. It’s fun to have as a companion to the video game, but, to be honest, the opening of Kingdom Hearts III isn’t the best representation of the entire story. For this, I’m looking forward to the following volumes in anticipation of more creativity with this story. Still, I appreciate the random jokes included that made me laugh a few times.
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