Manga Reviews Reviews Yen Press

Manga Review: Cirque Du Freak (Vol 2 Omnibus, 2021) By Darren Shan & Takahiro Arai

The tale of Darren continues with its balance of horror, fantasy, and drama under the wonderful art direction of Takahiro Arai

“Now half-vampire, is ready to enjoy some downtime as he accompanies Mr. Crepsley on a trip away from . However, his pleasant holiday turns gruesome as peculiar murders plague the city…The manga adaptation of internationally acclaimed author Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak continues in this oversize, deluxe omnibus edition!” (Yen Press)

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The first collected omnibus of “Cirque Du Freak” ended at a pivotal moment in the development of Darren and his understanding of responsibility tied to his vampiric gifts. Additionally, the first volume began to set up the lore of the world around Darren, making some key introductions to essential persons, while teasing the challenges that would face the young half-blood. Perfectly setting up to the second volume, the story shifts to a more mature Darren, who faces greater challenges in both becoming accepted among his kind and dealing with the social limitations that come with immortality.

Thankfully, the development of the protagonist is something that the author Darren Shan handles exceptionally well. As the years pass, the youthful determination of Darren does not whither, maintaining the headstrong and righteous morality that makes a strong lead and an endearing persona. Sadly, this means that some of Darren's more interesting relationships fade as he stays ever youthful, but are key in keeping him the ideal protagonist to navigate the gothic world. Ultimately, Darren's youthful determination gives a slight sense of tragedy to push drama while marking him the perfect protagonist for the YA style of story that prides itself on the ingenuity and strength of youth.

The art of acts harmoniously with the narrative, continuing to be a major draw into the work. Every persona seems fully conceptualized, with even minor characters given deserved attention to detail. The second volume indulges often in action heavy sequences, showing that Arai is able to convey motion with relative ease. Undeniably, the art is a perfect compliment to the story and its retro styling of more elongated and round figures is bound to hit that nostalgic spot.

The omnibus editions from Yen Press suites the series well, once again plotted out to leave the readers on a cliff hanger but inject enough story and lore to keep them excited for volume 2. The only negative of these releases is the lack of colour panels, as Arai's work really pops in color and even several pages filled in would give the book a more defining look.

The tale of Darren continues with its balance of horror, fantasy, and drama under the wonderful art direction of Takahiro Arai.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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