I can bring you in warm… or I can bring you in cold.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian is a manga that was written and illustrated by Yusuke Osawa. Based on the Disney+ series, it began serialization back on May 22, 2022, in Big Gangan manga magazine, a Square Enix publication. After about a year, Viz Media has released the first full volume of the manga.
Yusuke Osawa started his career in the manga industry with a one shot named Majo to Megane to Mahojin or in english: A Witch, Her Glasses, and a Magic Circle that was published in 2009. He even won an honorable mention in the 82nd Weekly Shonen Magazine New Manga Artist Awards. Yusuke is a very talented artist and story teller and deserves to be on everyone’s radar. His lists of other long-running works include:
- Dr. Duo
- Green Worldz
- 6th Bullet
- Poetry of Ran
- Spider-Man: Fake Red
Star Wars: The Mandalorian the Manga volume one was released on September 12, 2023, and numbers up to 166 pages. If you haven’t yet watched the series, you won’t necessarily be spoiled if you pick this up first as it is a retelling of what happens in the first episode. Don’t worry, this review is spoiler-free so I will only be discussing the plot summary that sets things up and what I particularly enjoyed from my reading.
What is first volume of The Mandalorian about?
The first volume of the manga starts very similarly to the first episode of the Mandalorian series. The Empire has fallen, and the galaxy is entering a brand-new era. Despite this, the criminal underworlds remain the same, rife with troublemakers and shady dealings. The story follows the titular bounty hunter, a mysterious Mandalorian who works alone that always catches his targets.
Things get a little rough for the Mandalorian, however, as he’s not earning nearly as much as he used to due to the turbulent changes in the galaxy. He seeks out a more promising job that guarantees to keep his ship afloat for a while, a job that requires him to meet with the commissioner directly.
The Lone Bounty Hunter
The Mandalorian travels to see an agent of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild named Greef Karga. The lone bounty hunter is in need of a higher paying job due to rising costs, thanks to the political changes happening in the galaxy. Unfortunately, Greef doesn’t have much to offer other than one thing: a sketchy job that requires the Mandalorian to meet with the commissioner in person. He takes the job and meets the mysterious man who tells him that he needs to deliver a 50-year-old “asset” to him dead or alive.
With very little to go on, the Mandalorian travels to a planet known as Arvala-7 for the “asset” as it was its last known location. The terrain in rough and unfamiliar to the lone bounty hunter, so he finds himself reluctantly receiving help from a local of the planet named Kruiil. In return for his help, the Mandalorian has to deal with a bit of a problem Kruiil has been having before he can complete his mission.
Praise and Critique
Going into this manga, I already knew what to expect. I was expecting to re-experience what happened in the very beginning of the first season: how Din ends up meeting Grogu. That’s exactly what you get. One of the very first of my concerns was how well Osawa would capture the action and intensity of some moments from the show and let me just say, he did not disappoint whatsoever.
I love me some action manga. Sometimes, however, manga and comics can be a hit or miss when it comes to depicting action on its pages. It can be easy to lose track of what’s going on depending on how the art is depicted. Yusuke Osawa’s art style is beautiful and highly detailed without looking too muddled. Again, while I did already know what happened in the actual show, I was easily able to follow along the dynamic action sequences in the manga. It doesn’t replicate what happens scene for scene, of course, but it gets the job done.
To really hammer home how beautiful the art is, reading The Mandalorian manga, made me want to seek out Yusuke Osawa’s other works just from the artstyle alone. It’s a fantastic blend of gritty and gorgeous. I also want to point out that he did a wonderful job in condensing all of the events of the first episode in one volume. Like I mentioned before, he gets the job done by replicating the first episode manga style.
Is the Manga Worth the Read?
It highly depends on a few factors. If you’re an absolute fan of The Mandalorian and manga in general, then I feel like this would be great to add to your collection. The manga itself doesn’t do anything new as it’s simply retelling the events of the first episode of the first season. I, myself, as someone who loves collecting Japanese works centered on the Star Wars universe, enjoy this particular thing and I feel like that is the whole goal: simply to provide Star Wars and manga fans something nice to enjoy and appreciate.
Yusuke Osawa does a brilliant job condensing a pretty detailed story into just 166 pages. The characters not only look amazing in this art style, but it was easy to imagine their exact voices and mannerisms every time I turned the page. The art is beautiful, the story is how we all know it, and so it does the job. If you’re interested in getting a copy, you can go here.
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