Mana, the spirit of green living things, can be used for both good and evil, and an investigative office exists to keep the destructive power of Mana in check. Ruwen is a Mana Investigator who's been sent to a small town to check out a possible abuse of Mana situation. Once there, he meets the cheerful little girl Miniru, who eagerly guides him around the town. Could Miniru, who is suffering from a strange illness, have something to do with the Mana situation?
STORY: It's difficult for oneshots to have truly engaging stories, but this one tries its best I guess. My biggest complaints are that it's not explained how the mana investigation department knew that there was a malignancy problem in that town. When Rouen went around asking the townspeople about it, nobody was aware of such a problem. So this means that there must be some sort of detection capability, but how does that work and why couldn't the detection capability be used to help pinpoint exactly where the malignancy is coming from. And the investigation itself wasn't very interesting since it didn't really include much deduction work and was more just the answer falling into his lap type thing. The fight at the end was alright; it was kinda cool seeing the plant-life sprouting and being used as a weapon. ART: The clothes look kinda cornstarched and the faces are sometimes a bit off. I also don't really care for Minil's large eyes. Quite a few of the background images are pretty basic. CHARACTERS: Rouen is probably the only character with any defining traits, but his only trait is that he gets hungry...and I guess doesn't properly prepare for trips. There are really only two other characters--the doctor and the anemic girl.
For a one-shot, this was actually really good. Kind of disappointed that it didn't take off into a full series. Story: An investigator arrives in a remote town looking into reports of a source of malignant mana in the area. A sickly girl helps him locate the source. The way mana and sorcery are interpreted in this presents a really intriguing world concept that I quite enjoyed. More to the point; this story has a clear and defined progression from a starting point, through a climax, and into an appropriate ending, and is well fleshed out at all points in between. The work stands well on its own and completes the story, but leaves an opening for further exploration into the world. Art: Above average. Lots of gorgeous detail in the backgrounds, loads of emphasis on interesting character designs, particularly in the outfits. Really the only thing I could ask for is for it to be in full color. This one seems like it would translate so much better if the magical effects had colors to them. Characters: Plenty of development here. Everyone is given enough background to provide context for their situation and gives them believable motives. Everyone has character traits that make them memorable and unique. Everyone is given some sort of development and/or growth that helps us understand them better as a character and leaves them in a different position in life than when the story started. Overall: Very much worth the read. It's really short, but there's a lot of meat to it. The only disappointment for me is that I would have loved to see it take off beyond just a one-shot.