All Ages

Monday, March 14, 2005

Read Like a Kid - Legendz Vol. 1

Chris beat me to it with a scathing review of the first volume of Viz's latest young readers' manga series called LEGENDZ. Chris has some great points -- the book certainly is no equivalent to most kids lit out there but I think it has its place.

Sure, LEGENDZ is unapologetic in the way that it's a manga created solely to sell the merchandise, but it's really no different than Pokemon, Beyblade, MegaMan or any other mass market type property. As well, the Tamagotchi-esque merchandise isn't available in North America...yet so we can excuse this until we start seeing LEGENDZ on the shelves at Toys R Us. What it boils down to with LEGENDZ is not from singular artistic vision, it's just another format of a media property -- this stuff is the bread and butter of children's publishing from Lizzie McGuire chapter books to Batman colour and activity. It's there for kids who have no interest in reading unless its related to the things that are in front of them on television 24/7.

With that in mind, LEGENDZ is perfect for what it is -- it's a quick, accessible book, good for reluctant readers. The characters are familiar types, the plots are simple and follow an episodic structure similar to cartoons and the action is over-the-top with lots of great visuals. There's even some decent 'teachable moments,' like bullying, self-esteem and teamwork, and as surface as they may be, they'll still have an impact on the reader.

What made me happy was the complete lack of questionable content -- no mild swearing, no panty flashes and no heavy violence, which is a rarity I find with a lot of "all ages" manga. Even with that stamp on the back, there are sometimes occasions where naughty bids have a tendency to trickle through.

Get 'em reading something, I say...


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