Saturday, January 30, 2021

REVIEW: RE:Play (OEL manga, vol. 2) 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.


It's been two months since Izsak ran off after Rail confronted him about what he thought was evidence that Izsak had murdered someone. Since then, Rail has learned that, although someone did murder that woman, it wasn't Izsak. 

Niji, one of the people who's been following Izsak, convinces Izsak to go back to Cree. Things seem happy for a while, until Izsak is approached by a woman who seems to know him.

There are various flashback scenes and chapters: Rail's POV on the talk his dad had with him when he was a kid, the one that convinced him to start watching over Cree more; the death of Niji's parents, as well as her and Laurent's first meeting (or at least I think that was Laurent); and the day Rail and Char first met, back in high school when Char was bullied by homophobes. Flashback chapters begin about two thirds of the way through the volume, and non-story related bonus content takes up almost a quarter of the volume. 

Lijewski's artwork improved a bit since the previous volume, although there were still times when I noticed odd thumb and hand shapes, and then there was that one panel where Izsak's right collarbone went places collarbones are not supposed to go. The Tite Kubo inspiration seemed even stronger this time around, so the one chapter intro spread depicting Rail and Izsak as Soul Reapers wasn't surprising (the previous one: Izsak as a ninja in Naruto).

It felt like there were quite a few wasted pages, though. Not only did the volume end early, but there were also several pages devoted to things that didn't seem to have anything to do with the story, unless volume 3 takes a sharp turn into flowery fantasy territory. Four whole pages devoted to that fairytale Niji told Izsak! I got the feeling that Lijewski just wanted to draw a CLAMP-style angel-and-demon romance for a bit and her editor just let her do it. 

If the pacing in the rest of the volume had been a bit tighter, it might not have been such a big deal, but as things stand I'm not sure how volume 3 is going to manage to wrap things up in a satisfying way. There's a lot left to cover or tie up. Niji and Laurent are part of some sort of organization that hasn't been explained at all yet - I couldn't even say why they exist or what their ultimate goal is. If that one character near the end really was Laurent, then Niji and Laurent have enormous amounts of relationship baggage that should probably be addressed - I don't care if they're somehow over it by now, I want to know how they managed it, because it's heavy stuff. And Izsak is nothing but questions. Who's the woman who approached him at the end? Why was he in that facility in the first place, and what happened there? And since we've got that whole love triangle going on (Rail not-so-secretly loves Cree, who's clueless and likes Izsak, who likes her back), that's going to need to be resolved too.


  • Character profiles for Niji and Laurent
  • Notes and sketches from Lijewski on the clothing worn by Cree, Izsak, Izsak, and Char throughout the volume
  • The results of a character popularity poll
  • Lijewski's image songs and voice actor preferences for Cree, Izsak, Rail, and Char
  • A page of black-and-white cosplay photos
  • 5 pages of an interview with the members of Faust (Cree's band)
  • A whopping 12 pages of black-and-white artwork created by guest artists
  • A note from the author

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