Land of Lions is an action-adventure manga written by Cassandra Jean that I found quite by accident. Though it has its share of faults, I have fallen in love with the world she has created. With lots of fight scenes, romance and flashbacks, this little manga is sure to catch your attention as well.
Land of Lions is about two warriors recruited by the King of Lions to find the immortal chalice. Along the way, they begin to see a very disturbing pattern of disease and violence in the surrounding lands. Each place they visit offers a new clue in what may be a sinister plot that can only be averted with the help of the chalice. The only problem is: the chalice is supposed to be a myth! Well, that may not be the only problem, seeing as an evil group of Alligators is also running around trying to kidnap people.
The people of the land each have the mannerisms of the animal the land is named for.
The lands are:
The main character, Faris, is half lion-half panther, and so has traits of both peoples (basically, intelligence and strength). Gates, his partner in adventure, is a lion archer with only one eye. Faris was picked on as a boy being raised among the Panthers but found his place as a warrior of the Lion tribe. He is the stoic, unstoppable hero in the story. Gates is the snarky one, always joking around and jumping head first into situations and fights.
The other characters met along the way include a giant Buffalo man, a tiny Snail girl, a feisty Addax boy, evil Alligators and a sweet Lioness girl.
I wont give away too much about the other characters because it would ruin parts of the plot, but basically each character seems to have another clue to where the Chalice is hidden.
The art varies between breathtaking and horrible. However, as the story has progressed the art has improved to become much more consistently “good” as opposed to varying between horrendous and gorgeous.
An example of the beautiful
An example of the sloppy
This is one entertaining manga, mostly because it throws out more mysteries than it solves! Characters are often introduced and then left alone, but the author hints that they will be back and play a role in the final battle.
There are lots of fight scenes which I enjoy. This manga manages to find a good balance between fights and plot so I never find one aspect overbearing.
Also, I LOVE the use of people of color! I am mixed, and I’m often disheartened by how few black people are represented in manga. Even though she appeared for only a brief moment, I already fell in love with the Addax female warrior.
All different shades and haircolors are represented and there is even interracial love!
On the other hand, not everything is perfect.
For example, it is taking FOREVER and the dialogue can be cheesy at times. One almost wonders if she doesn’t notice that she is copying stereotypical conversations from other manga.
Also, the main girl character is really sucky and stereotypical, which disappoints me especially since the writer is a woman.
She has a great set up: she is considered “manly” because she travels outside the land of lions and dresses like a warrior but then she has to be saved by Faris all the time… even when she herself is in the process of rescuing someone! On top of that, she only came on the adventure because she has a crush on Faris. Oh, and she is a range fighter of course (bow and arrow). Overall she is probably my least favorite character because she had so much potential.
Despite its flaws I really like Land of Lions and I notice that it is really improving as time goes on. Sometimes it’s fun to have a simple little adventure in a fantasy world. The mystery of it all also has me hooked and I eagerly check the site once a month to read the next chapters.
You can read the entire manga at this site. It is posted as it is completed, so patience is a must! If you do become an addict, the forums are a good way to get a dose of Land of Lions between issues.