Saturday, January 30, 2021

REVIEW: RE:Play (OEL manga, vol. 1) by C. Lijewski

RE:Play is a short OEL fantasy manga. It was originally published by Tokyopop, so it looks like paper version of all three volumes are out of print, but they can still be purchased relatively cheaply. The series is also available digitally for those who don't mind that format. My copy of this volume was purchased used.


I originally reviewed this back in 2010, but my style was a lot different back then, and my feelings about this volume are less gushy than they originally were. I decided it'd be worth writing a new review.

Cree is looking for a replacement bass player for her band when she stumbles across Izsak, a homeless guy, doing an amazing job playing one of her mother's songs. She convinces him to come home with her and be part of her band in exchange for a place to stay. She also convinces her fellow bandmates to accept him - some, like Rail, take a little more convincing. However, Izsak has more going on than Cree initially realizes. He has no memory of his life prior to five years ago, he has some kind of mysterious illness, and Rail thinks he might even be a murderer.

The first half of this volume was pretty rough. Lijewski leaned a little too hard on the "Cree and Char are energetic, fun, and quirky" stuff. I'm intrigued by the mystery of Izsak's past, though, and I'm looking forward to finally reading the rest of this series after so many years. I might not enjoy it as much now as I did when I first tried it, but I think it'll at least be a decent read.

Although Lijewski's character designs are indeed attractive, her art had some issues I don't think I noticed when I first read this. I still suspect that Lijewski was very influenced by Tite Kubo's artwork. You can see it in the way she drew a lot of the characters' faces. However, her layouts could have used some work in places, to make certain scenes more effective, and there were times when her anatomy was a little off - the panel with Izsak standing in front of a mirror was a good example of that, and I noticed one panel in which Cree appeared to have a pinky where her right thumb should have been. There were a few action shots that could have been done a lot better too.

But I did like the scene with Laurent and Rail, and, like I said, I'm looking forward to finding out more about Izsak's past, his supposed "illness," and the reason why he's being followed.


A short message from the author, and character profiles for Cree, Rail, Izsak, and Char. And speaking of Char, a thing I had forgotten: she appears to be trans (and is misgendered and deadnamed by her brother, FYI).

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