Beet the Vandel Buster vol. 1 (Story by Riku Sanjo/Art by Koji Inada) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 13, 2004 by  


An exciting and fascinating action manga series from Riku Sanjo and Koji Inada about a boy who wants to rid of the monsters on his land by eliminating all Vandels and therefore ending the Dark Ages.  But can this young boy who has been entrusted with special weapons, be able to take on these horrific Vandels? Find out in vol. 1 of “Beet the Vandel Buster”!

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Image courtesy of © 2002 by RIKU SANJO, KOJI INADA/SHUEISHA Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Beet the Vandel Buster vol. 1  (冒険王ビィト)

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Riku Sanjo (三条 陸)/Art by Koji Inada (稲田 浩司)


PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Shonen Jump Graphic Novel/VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: A for All Ages

Available on October 13, 2004

To rid the world of all the Vandals (monsters), Beet, a boy from the remote region known as “Uncruz,” endures three years of training and sets out on his quest to defeat the Vandals. Hidden at his chest, Beet carries with him five supreme weapons called Saiga, inherited from five Vandal Busters (including his brother Zenon).

Together with his childhood friend Poala, Beet begins his journey as a Vandal Buster, destined to one day become the king of adventures.

In 2002, mangaka Riku Sanjo (“MD Geist”) and illustrator Koji Inada created “Boken o Bito” (which literally translates to “Adventure King Beet”).  Published in Shueisha’s “Monthly Shonen Jump” and an anime series which began airing on TV Tokyo,  and now the series will be released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media.

“Beet the Vandel Buster” is set during a time when Vandels, evil creatures with magical powers, spawn monsters to kill humans.  This time is known as the “Dark Ages” and a group of Vandel Busters known to fight against the Vandels are the Zenon Warriors led by Zenon, Cruss, Alside, Bluezam and Laio have arrived in town.

Inspired by their heroism, a young boy named Beet becomes a Buster and tells the group that he is now like them and wants to train.  Of course, being the clumsy guy that he is, his friend, Poala doesn’t think so much about Beet becoming a Buster.  But one thing about Beet that is known, he is able to go on for three days without sleep.

One day as Beet fights off low level monsters as training, the most feared Vandel, Beltorze has shown up in the town.

As they fight against Beltorze, when Beltorze sees Beet, he blasts a hole in him and the moment the Zenon Warriors pause to think about Beet’s death, Beltorze uses the opportunity to send a fatal blow on all Zenon Warriors.

Near death, the Zenon Warriors, give all their energy including their Saiga (their weapons) to save Beets life and the last image that Beet has is all Zenon Warriors using their last strength to fight Beltorze.

When Beet awakens, he is healed but the Zenon Warriors are no more.

Three years later, Paola has become the guardian of the town, while Beet has been gone the last three years training.

The town has been overrun by monsters thanks to a Vandel known as Mugine, who has been turning the locals ponds and marshes to rot.  Poala and a group are planning their attack on Mugine, but as she goes to infiltrate Mugine’s headquarters, she finds out that the group she was with are actually monsters in disguise.  It is revealed that Poala is a level 21 Buster and as she is about to be killed by Mugine, coming to her rescue is Beet.

But how has Beet changed within the last three years?

“Beet the Vandel Buster” is an exciting and captivating manga series about a boy, who is considered an underdog, afraid of pain, clumsy and not so smart.

But the boy has a lot of heart and in someways, I can see people making comparisons of this manga series to “Naruto”, but instead of ninjas, we have Busters and in this case, a group of top level Busters sacrifice their lives to save Beet’s life and entrust them with their Saiga (weapons).

The first volume are character driven but what I enjoy about this volume is seeing how this young boy with a lot of heart, has grown to be a powerful Buster who is still considered as an underdog, clumsy and not smart, but there is something about him that wins people over and makes you want to believe that he has what it takes to rid the world of Vandels and end the Dark Ages.

But to see how in the three years of training, Beet has matured and gradually became stronger but also his use of the saiga that he was entrusted with.

So, for now, it will be interesting how Beet and his childhood friend, Poala continue their adventures for the next volume.

The story by Riku Sanjo is well-written, somewhat banal but the storyline of Busters and Vandels is rather fascinating and if you enjoy action manga, it’s quite entertaining. And Koji Inada’s illustrations are unique to manga, he has a style that while he’s compared to Akira Toriyama, his artwork is his own style.

The manga is rated A for “All Ages” but there is a little violence but no visual imagery of major violence that parents have to worry (on the human side, but monsters are cut down by Beet and Poala’s weapons).

Overall, a pretty solid debut for “Beet the Vandel” and I can’t wait to read vol. 2!

“Beet the Vandel Buster” vol. 1 is recommended!


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