From Far Away Volume 1

[openbook booknumber=”1591165997″] [rating:4/5]

On her way home from school one day, Noriko is unexpectedly plunged into a strange and extraordinary fantasy world. Her troubles compound exponentially when she is rescued and befriended by a handsome young man by the name of Izark.

He may be brave and courageous, but inside Izark lurks the darkest evil imaginable. And according to an ancient prophecy, Noriko possesses the power to unleash that evil. Now, inexorably bound together, these two unlikely allies must navigate a world both wondrous and hostile.

The one thing I love about Japanese fantasy is that while it may contain a few of the familiar fantasy tropes we know and love there are still many surprises and unexpected twists that keep the story fresh, interesting, and enchanting. From Far Away has all of this and more as young Noriko falls victim to a terrorist attack, a bomb left in an unattended bag in the street goes off and sends her flying into a magical world far away. Many things are the same as our world and yet there is an eerie difference in the golden forest she finds herself in that manifests when she is set upon but huge flesh-eating worms! Luckily at that moment she is saved by a handsome but mysterious man named Izark. Who is this man? Who is this Awakening everyone is speaking of, in a language that Noriko can’t understand? Most importantly, where is she and how is she ever going to get home?

From Far Away is a unique and engaging story about an ordinary girl thrust into a fantastical world where it turns out she might not be so ordinary. The world is beautiful and strange, there are flying dinosaurs and gigantic worms and enchanted forests, everyone speaks a strange language and the politics of the people who inhabit it are as complex as they are deadly. There is a blind sage child that can see the future, mighty warriors with super human strength, and poor Noriko a normal human teen in the middle of it all just trying to maintain sanity while she mourns all she has lost and deals with a new and frightening world she has gained.

The art is absolutely beautiful in this manga. The details are wonderful and the use of clouds and wind, stars and balls of light to convey a magical occurrence are wonderful to view. The story is fantastical and a joy to read and the premise has me excited to see what is going to happen to Noriko and Izark next. My only complaint is that sometimes the author jerks you out of the story to explain something to you. Like what single and double lines around speech bubbles mean and then inverts it part way through the story, and stops again to explain that too. I didn’t like being pulled out of the story like that. Other than that one deviation from the storyline the rest was a great and exciting read and I look forward to proceeding with this (finished!) manga.

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