THE EMPTY EMPIRE
Kara no Teikoku, “The Empty Empire” • Naoe Kita • CMX (2006–ongoing) • Hakusensha (Hana to Yume, 1994–1997) • 7 volumes • Shôjo, Science Fiction, Fantasy • 13+ (mild language, violence) Read Hayate no Gotoku manga
In the twenty-sixth century, the world was united under the benevolent Emperor Idea, until his death threw everything into chaos. When Rose—an amnesiac boy who looks just like the dead emperor—shows up in an alley somewhere, he is discovered by the emperor’s followers and made into a puppet ruler. Is Rose actually a failed clone of the emperor? Religious fanatics and bandit sky captains go after him, while the people who installed him on the throne pass their time in occasionally comedic schemes and intrigue. As for Rose, he questions whether he has any reason to be alive at all, and whether he can live up to the reputation of his previous self. But there’s no denying Rose’s considerable psychic powers.… The loose, cartoony shôjo artwork makes it difficult to get into the supposedly futuristic setting, but the story is interesting.
Kikô Majutsushi: Enchanter, “Machine Artisan Magician: Enchanter” ( Enchanter) • Izumi Kawachi • DMP (2006–ongoing) • Square Enix (Monthly Gangan Wing, 2003–ongoing) • 12+ volumes (ongoing) • Shônen, Fantasy, Action, Comedy • 16+ (mild language, violence, situations) Hajime no Ippo manga
A traditional but fun mix of fantasy action and shônen romantic comedy, in the style of Rumiko Takahashi. Haruhiko, a high school student with a knack for machines and a crush on his teacher Ms. Fujikawa, is visited by a demoness who informs him that he is the reincarnation of the enchanter/alchemist Fulcanelli. Warping him into Fulcanelli’s extradimensional laboratory, the demoness inducts him into a secret world where enchanters and demons fight over powerful artifacts, while also offering to deflower him. This is well-trodden territory, and the agreeable anime-style art is nothing special, but the familiar elements (humor, action, light teases) are well done. Kawachi is a sympathetic hero, and the element is played for character-driven humor, with nothing more visually explicit than cleavage-baring costumes.