In the world of manga, Satoshi Mizukami is a favorite creator of mine. I found their previous works, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer and Spirit Circle, to be enormously entertaining, thanks to their quirky humor and pulpy action storylines. These series were also surprisingly poignant when they decided to tug at your heart strings, making them both unforgettable reads, in my opinion.
For this reason, I’ve been greatly anticipating the release of World End Solte, the newest action/adventure series by Mizukami to receive a North American release!
Solte is a rambunctious orphan who’s grown up in a small village and been raised by the mayor since the tragic death of her parents. Solte’s mom and dad died within a magical pollution zone while trying to find a way to cleanse this blight and their work was, unfortunately, left unfinished. These pockets of chaos lead to other dimensions filled with monstrous fiends. They’re extremely dangerous, yet there are people known as salvagers who makes a living exploring the pollution zones and bringing back treasures.
When she receives a strange pendant as a gift from a salvager, Solte is shocked to discover that it houses a fairy named Selen. Selen greats Solte as an old friend, explaining that she had been on a journey with Solte and several other people through the bizarre fiend realm when a magical trap rewound time for her back to the day they first met.
Selen is the only one who remembers this previous timeline, and now she’s eager for Solte to meet up with the rest of their crew so that they can begin their journey again and get back to the point in time where she was before. But will things play out the same way as they did in Selen’s memories? Or will Selen’s helpful suggestions on their journey lead them down a very different path?
The pockets of magical pollution that Solte and her companions find themselves wandering into feature fantastical landscapes and strange and outlandish creatures. While these places can appear silly or whimsical, like the smiley mushroom forest Solte meets Selen in, they’re very dangerous places. People who fall into these warped landscapes unprepared can find themselves altered by the magic or simply wind up dead. Only a select few people willingly venture into these magic pollution zones looking for treasure and glory – and Solte has decided that she not only wants to go to this fiend realm, she wants to live there full time!
This is not exactly a sensible plan, but Solte is eager for adventure and to get away from her previous life, so she stubbornly sets out on her quest to reach the ends of the world. Accompanying her are Selen, her loyal fairy companion, Black, Solte’s recently discovered uncle who is too responsible to leave her on her own, and Filo, as mysterious young warrior who appears to have a death wish. Together, they’re setting off to explore uncharted territory.
The team battle monsters on their journey, both in the fiend realm and regular world, and these action sequences are humorous and over-the-top. Solte discovers that she can transform into a magical-girl-like form thanks to Selen’s magic, complete with a hammer that has a fish in it and a hat that makes no sense. Battling at her side, Filo pulls off ridiculous feats of skill with his sword, all while eagerly trying to get himself killed. Combined with the zany visuals of the magic pollution zones and the memorable monsters, World End Solte’s fight scenes are both funny and exciting.
While there is plenty of silly humor and good ol’ magical fight scenes to enjoy, the emotional punches of World End Solte still pack an impressive wallop when it counts.
The circumstances that lead Solte to leave her village are heart-breaking and the story takes the time to give the characters a breather to let Solte and the reader process all that happened. During this segment, I could almost see a future where Solte chose a different, safer, path for her life. I found myself wishing she could have been content with an ordinary and peaceful life, but her circumstances have given Solte a deep-seated drive to forge her own destiny. Ultimately, she decides that her destiny will be one of exploration and adventure… even if that means putting herself in harms way. These more contemplative moments in the manga lend a touch of melancholy to this plucky girl’s search for independence and excitement, especially since we know that these events have all happened before. What’s more, we know that Solte’s party fell into what we can assume was very dangerous trap the first time around.
Selen’s rewound time is an interesting element to the plot. I could see this story working just fine with just the plotline surrounding Solte’s quest to explore the magical pollution zone with her ragtag party of companions. Adding in the extra wrinkle that history has been rewound – and that the timeline is slowly changing – adds a layer of intrigue to the story that’s really sparked my imagination. I can’t wait to see what will happen as events continue to diverge from Selen’s memories, and to see how she’ll react to the fact that the future she longs to return too might be slipping away!
World End Solte is a series that has it all. The characters are likeable and have an amusing dynamic, the world is imaginative and creative, and the story promises plenty of daring battles and emotional character moments to come. If you’ve enjoyed either Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer or Spirit Circle, this is another unique and compelling series from Satoshi Mizukami that you won’t want to miss!
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
For more information on this series, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Are there any other series by Satoshi Mizukami that you’d recommend I check out? Let me know in the comments.
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