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Steamboy: Steamboy Ani-Manga Volume 1

Review

Steamboy: Steamboy Ani-Manga Volume 1

In a London circa 1866 that looks like it came straight from Jules Verne's mind, fantastic machines that fly or move mountains all run on steam. Steam is, in this world, a precious commodity, so precious that men are willing to do anything for what fell into the possession of young Ray Steam. In STEAMBOY, Ray has just found the Steamball, a device containing steam so pure and so powerful that it could help whoever possesses the device to control this steam-driven world. Ray is forced on the run when factions vying for control all want the device, leading Ray beyond the factory where he toiled to rides aboard gigantic flying machines. The story becomes very interesting when his father and grandfather, having opposing ideologies, try to force Ray into deciding where his loyalties lie.

Being an ani-manga with the pictures being cels lifted directly from the 2004 feature, the visuals are stunning to behold, with gorgeously rendered and detailed machines that looked better than any real machine from that era. What also makes the story enjoyable is that young Ray is trying to decide who will use the Steamball for good and who will use it for their own ends. Writer Katsuhiro Otomo brings up notions of how science can be used for both good and evil designs, but the story is essentially a rollicking action-adventure quest where the hero is discovering what is right and what kind of person he actually is.

The story takes a little while to get off the ground and picks up in the latter part of the book. It also leaves readers with a cliffhanger that may have them insisting that you get Volume 2. If librarians are willing to risk it and add to their collection a cool action-adventure in the vein of Disney's best, then STEAMBOY is one to check out.

Reviewed by James Gardner on November 8, 2005

Steamboy: Steamboy Ani-Manga Volume 1
by Katsuhiro Otomo

  • Publication Date: November 8, 2005
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1421502003
  • ISBN-13: 9781421502007