Disgaea & Disgaea 2 Manga Impressions
Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness on the PSP is a port of the original Disgaea on PlayStation 2, with a ton of great extras, extra adventures and just a bundle of fun. Now not everyone has the time to get into what is potentially a 100+ hour game. For those of you who fall into this camp there's the Disgaea and Disgaea 2 manga.
Disgaea Graphic Novel – Published by Broccoli Books the Disgaea manga is a great introduction to the zany underworld inhabited by Prince Laharl, Etna, Prinnies and Flonne. Readers are introduced to the world of Disgaea where after a two year nap Prince Laharl is awakened by his father's vassal, Etna, to discover his castle in ruins and that his father has passed away. At the same time he's awakened an angel assassin, Flonne, makes a trip to the netherworlds with orders to assassinate the king. One problem, he's already dead so being the love and peace marching (carrying a large mace) that she is, she joins up with Laharl on his journey. The prince is out to establish himself as the new Overlord in his father's absence. He must, and does, fight would-be usurpers of the throne as well as adventurous heroes trying to make a name for themselves. Throw in the scheming of Etna and her penguin like Prinny troops and you've got a very funny formula that works as well on paper as it does in pixilated form.
The art by Arashi Shindo takes a little getting used to. See the original art, which in my opinion really nails what Disgaea is all about, was done by Takehito Harada, and is a pleasure to look at. Shindo does an admirable job with the manga, and portrays the characters and setting in a very fine light, but just seems off at first. The humor a dialogue is spot on with what fans of the series would come to expect from the franchise. No, the only issue I have with this manga is it's too short. Once volume, and because of this we miss out on any interaction with the human heroes as well as some very important back story items about Laharl's mother. Besides the game I'm comparing the manga to the anime from Geneon Entertainment (three volumes a great buy). http://www.disgaeadvd.com/ While the anime was short it did cover the main story points and I would have loved to have seen the manga fleshed out just a bit more, a few more volumes to hit all the points. At the end of the day you're left with a good introduction to the world of Disgaea, but just an introduction, there is so much more.
Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories vol. 1 – Also published by Broccoli Books the Disgaea 2 manga fills in some story gaps between the first and second video games, but if you've read the first manga is also a great standalone product. Meet Adell, the last human in Veldime, a world that's under the rule of Overlord Zenon. See Adell and his family try to summon Zenon in order to fight him and free folks of the curse, the curse being everyone is turned into demons. Little problem, they summon Zenon's daughter Rozalin. Now she's bound to Adell and the two of them journey to find Zenon. That pretty much covers the jist of volume 1. We also see that Etna, in order to become an Overlord herself has left Laharl and is also searching out Zenon. The stage is set and the volume wraps up with introductions to the main players to come.
Cursed Memories vol. 1 does a great job of recapping the original Disgaea, the main events at least, which opens one of my criticisms of missing story points, but anyway this is an introduction manga. The art, by Hekaton, is closer to the original art seen on the cover, by Harada, and really, very close to the game itself. Where the Disgaea manga went into a lot of detail, Cursed Memories gives a concise intro that leaves readers wanting more (I know I do). Each chapter has a preview of the next chapter which is both funny and has nothing to do with what is actually going on, typical Disgaea. It's really great fun and what one would expect from a manga based on a video game. Most def worth the purchase.
Now I cannot talk about the Disgaea manga with out mention Rosenqueen. See, Disgaea is considered a niche title, but damn if all games couldn't take a page from their marketing book. The characters in Disgaea are great, very memorable and just outstanding to look at. Rosenqueen is a site that offers not just the games, DVDs and manga but also the figures, posters and more form the series. See my personal favorite items are the figures, of which there are many. They are not about articulation but rather display. Check out these Disgaea version 2 figures to see what I mean (good price also). Looking to display some great character art, check out the Netherworld All-Star Poster: Inauguration but the best I'm saving for last.
Own your very own Prinny plushy, or two. Etna's own personal servants, damned souls imprisoned in the body of a Prinny are priceless. You've got your normal blue Prinny and you've got your pink Big Sis Prinny. I love these, and if you're a Disgaea fan you will too. No doubt about it I really like this site, tons to pick from for a game that will have you playing for hours, and a manga that will have you rolling around laughing. Check it out, good times.