Review : Elemental Gelade.

Robbing and pillaging are all in a days work for young air pirate Coud Van Giruet, but things start to get a little strange when one of his stolen valuables turns out to be a coffin with a live girl inside.

It's not long after the sleepy girl named Ren wakes up and demands to be taken to a place called Edel Garden, that Coud's pirate airship comes under attack by three mysterious characters. When negotiations fail, one of the attackers literally transforms into a weapon known as an Edel Raid and proceeds to directly attack Coud and Ren. With things seeming pretty bleak, Ren reveals she is also an Edel Raid and reluctantly makes a contract with Coud, turning into a huge sword that causes tornadoes when it's swung, unfortunately one of these tornadoes damages the airship and everyone is forced to evacuate.

Once on the ground, Ren and Coud decide to travel together to Edel Garden, with the three former assailants revealing that they are actually part of a Edel Raid protection agency and pretty much demanding that they also tag along. Togther the group get caught up in slave trafficking, attacked by bounty hunters and a come across a mysteriously sinister group of Edel Raids who call themselves the Chaos Choir.

The art of Elemental Gelade is pretty much follows the generic anime style, the character designs are interesting, obviously heavily influenced by the authors former works on a manga adaption of a role playing video game. Coud's main weapon is interestingly a hook, which is pretty unique in a genre where every main character usually has the biggest sword or gun. The manga also focuses on some very realistic issues like the trafficking of human beings. Violence is toned down to the shonen level, not a lot of gore or blood, but plenty of fighting, shooting and general action.

Elemental Gelade is a book that a fan of fantasy Japanese role playing games would love and even if you're not a fan, it's still a good read regardless.

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