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Aventura Volume 1

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Aventura Volume 1 by Shin Midorikawa from Del Rey Manga / Kodansha

Aventura Volume 1

© Shin Midorikawa / Kodansha

The Bottom Line

With its plot centered around a boy with untapped magical powers at a school for witches and wizards, it's hard not to compare Aventura with the Harry Potter saga. But for better or for worse, we're not at Hogwarts anymore.

Aventura's characters are ultra-cute. Shin Midorikawa's light and airy artwork is detailed and lovely, but also gives this fantasy tale an extra heavy dose of pixie dust that distracts from the story. Aventura is a charming story that mixes fantasy, adventure and humor for a manga concoction that will charm Potter fans, but will befuddle less patient readers.

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Pros

  • Light-hearted fantasy story with hints of Harry Potter-esque magic
  • Detailed, distinctive art that captures the magical world of wizards and witches
  • Cute, likeable characters drawn in a light, delicate style
  • Includes positive themes about friendship, courage and believing in yourself
  • A mix of humor, adventure and action that sets the stage for future intrigue

Cons

  • With so much going on visually, it's hard to sort out what's happening, story-wise
  • Character designs are very similar, making it tricky to distinguish who's who
  • Overwhelms the reader with a barrage of details about the principles of this magical world

Description

  • Original Title: Aventura (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Shin Midorikawa
  • Publishers: Del Rey Manga (US)
    Kodansha (Japan)
  • ISBN: 978-0-345-49744-4
  • Cover Price: $10.95 US / $13.95 CANADA
  • Age Rating: T – Teens Age 13+ for mild violence, some bullying
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: November 2007
    Japan Publication Date: April 2006
  • Book Description: 192 pages, black and white illustrations, 2 color pages

Guide Review - Aventura Volume 1

Let's get the obvious comparisons out of the way first: Aventura is about a boy with magical powers who goes to a school for witches and wizards. Sound familiar? Unless you've been under a rock for the past 10 years, Harry Potter will immediately come to mind. The Gaius School of Witchcraft and Wizardry seems similar to Hogwarts Academy (the classical architecture, the magical servants and the wise, mysterious faculty), but for better or for worse, Lewin Randit, the hero of Aventura, is not Harry Potter.

For one thing, the world of Aventura is more kawaii (ultra-cute) than Harry Potter's. The main characters are pre-teens, but even the non-elves and adults look elfin and childlike. They're all extremely earnest and sweet. Even the 'bully' of the series, Darwell is more arrogant than malevolent. There are hints of intriguing character development, but it's mostly buried in a befuddling array of details about how this magical world works.

Shin Midorikawa's art style is very distinctive – the fine lines and details convey the mood of magical fantasy on every page. It's beautifully done, but sometimes the floaty stars and sparkles are just clutter that disracts from what really matters: the storytelling.

And the hair! What drove me to distraction was Midorikawa's obsession with drawing every strand of his characters' shiny, bouncy, blowing-in-the-breeze hair. Aventura sometimes looks more like a shampoo commercial than a fantasy adventure story.

But that aside, there's a lot to like about Aventura. The art is really nice. The story provides a charming mix of adventure, fantasy and humor, along with positive themes about friendship and courage. All in all, it's a promising first volume that will please fantasy fans, provided they have the patience to sort out what's going on.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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