Justin truly tries to find out if it's worth living in a fantasy land where you hate all the goddesses.

Luna and Ride, ZywordWhen I first saw the cover for Zyword on Viz’s site I was convinced this was a CLAMP title. Lo and behold, it’s not…BUT it’s from one of their former artists, Tamayo Akiyama, so I was right! Anyways, she worked on this in 1999, and you’re not going to believe me, but it does manage to stand the test of time in looks.

For everything else…not really.

Lunatia “Luna” Araimel lives in a world that’s unstable and borders on complete chaos. She is a spell decipher blessed by the goddesses she hates, but due to an attack by the Valstoke Church on Araimel, she’s been driven out of her home. With her friend Roddy, she’s determined to return her kingdom to its rightful state, but not surprisingly, the very goddesses that gave her those powers won’t let her win so easily…

Zyword is a title that TOKYOPOP licensed probably because they could sell it as something that was worked on by a former CLAMP artist. Admirable, but pointless, since this series doesn’t continue. That’s one of its pitfalls. It’s setting up an intriguing survival adventure, with a battle between Luna and the goddesses, evil forces that lie in wait, and a world structure that’s insightful and historic. Yet immediately you know it’s all worthless since you’re left with your imagination.

I would be kinder to the ending if what was happening was interesting, but the only thing that got a rise out of me was a scene where a goddess controlled a human, and had that human kill her children, just to kill someone aside from Luna. While the artwork is great, the flow of the action and the pacing is not. Every battle seems messy and hard to tell what is happening — I can’t tell if combining orbs is really a great thing and if it does something to the goddess, Luna! And then it tries to lighten the mood with jokes, which don’t really work because of how serious it portrays itself.

Luna, Ride, Roddy, Zyword
Zyword does its best with its art, and not much else.

The story is obviously setting up Luna’s hatred of the goddesses, but it doesn’t establish this enough at the start, and only does so towards the end, which is a flashback to Luna as a child. There’s a lot of evil people in this story, and made only one prominent for some…odd reason. I think lessening the amount of goddesses would have provided enough intrigue, but what’s done is done, and it’s not interesting to me. Shame.

You can read a preview of Tamayo Akiyama’s Zyword here.