Fifty years ago, an epic battle between good and evil shook the world, as destined Rave Master Shiba took on the evil force of Dark Bring. Unfortunately, his attempt to destroy Dark Bring resulted in Overdrive- a massive explosion that scattered the Rave stones all across the world. In the intervening time, Dark Bring’s power has fallen into the hands of the organisation known as Dark Bring, who ruthlessly use it to spread their power and influence across the world.
Having grown up on the peaceful Garage Island, young Haru Glory has no real reason to care about the events of the wider world- at least until both Shiba and Demon Card show up in his home town. After being drawn into their conflict, Haru discovers that Rave has chosen him as its new master; now, he must decide whether or not to accept his destiny and begin a perilous quest to recover the four missing Rave stones.
When it comes to storytelling, you can’t get much more basic than the tale of a destined young man and his oversized sword working his way through the increasingly stronger members of an organisation of evil. Overused as this plotline is, however, Rave Master unashamedly takes it and follows it to the letter. If the anime is anything to go by, there will be a few original ideas sprinkled here and there later on, but based purely upon these two volumes of the manga, the story is as standard as it gets. Haru is just another face in the ranks of destined spiky-haired heroes, complete with weaker cheerleading allies and a vast array of shallow villains to test his sword on.
Visually, Rave Master uses a basic style which is rarely pleasing on the eye- human characters range from simplistic to ugly, whilst the world of the series is also populated by any number of freakishly bizarre looking creatures. Backgrounds and shading are more of an afterthought than anything the mangaka has put any effort into.
Although it’s early days for this rather lengthy series, the opening volumes of Rave Master are none too promising. Unless you have an unfaltering live for shounen action series, then there’s no harm in giving this one a miss.