The Chase for the Chalice - Michael P. Spradlin, Rainbow Buddy, Rachel Manija Brown Recently, all I've been craving are manga. All kinds of manga. And graphic novels, too! In fact, I just want to read a whole bunch of comic books in general! So what did I do? I went to my library and checked out a whole bunch of manga/graphic novels to quench this thirst. The first I decided to pick up was this one right here. Why? Because my library only had volume one so I thought why not read through the manga volumes you have the least of. So I did. I'll be honest with you... I didn't go into this manga with high expectations. I knew it was somewhat childish and girly and I knew that it was going to be cliche... and I was right. This manga wasn't the best I have ever read. However, it wasn't bad either. It was okay. I wasn't wowed but neither was I completely disgusted by what was going on. In fact, I thought I was going to HATE this manga. I really did. But it turned out to be a decent read after all. I have my problems with it but nothing too bad. Most of it has to do with the main character and some plot points but I'll get into that a little later in the review. For now, let's talk about the man behind the manga and the novels.

Michael P. Spradlin doesn't seem to be a bad author. Then again, I can't really judge him on his writing because I never read any of his novels. This manga is his first work I have ever come into contact with. I have to say as far as story goes... it's pretty weak. It's about this girl named Rachel who just so happens to be a reincarnation of a Roman Goddess who has to fight her archnemesis, but she doesn't believe that she has great power so she denies it until one day she will believe it and yadda yadda yadda. The story has been told a million times before. Nothing about it is new. Nothing about it is unique. I just felt like I picked up a book that I have read before. It was a tad boring. Another thing I wasn't too big on was the side story about Rachel's best friend's boyfriend might like her whilst her guy best friend likes her best friend and they all seem to like the wrong people. That, too, has been told over and over. It's was stupid and it just made the already tedious plot more tedious. However, I will say that one thing that I did like about this manga were all the references to pop culture. From Fruits Basket to Full Metal Panic to Harajuku to Japan in general. It was amazing and very entertaining. I really did enjoy myself during those parts. ^_^

The artwork was, in opinion, wonderful! I thought it was very cute. Some pages came off to be really simple yet others were rich in detail! It was very well balanced. I couldn't have asked for a better art style. I love the character designs the best. They all looked so beautiful and their style of clothes even better. The backgrounds of Japan just made me drool. I want to go there so badly!!! Why am I stuck here!? Tell me why! *Gets shot* ... *Ahem* Anyway, seeing just how everything was beautifully drawn made me really appreciate the story a bit more. I really have nothing more to say about it. It was great and I really liked it. Nothing negative to say. Yifan Ling, you did an excellent job drawing this manga. I salute you! <3

The characters now... might as well start with the main character. Rachel... I hate her. She got on my nerves really fast. She's a stereotypical girl, through and through. She hates anything she deems "geek" and hates breaking her nails and loves going shopping and giving me a bloody headache it would seem! DX She pathetic in ever aspect of the word. She can't even fight even though she's a BLOODY SPY!!! Her mannerisms are just... ugh... the way she talks is also annoying. Who uses the word "dork" in almost everything they say when they want to convey dissatisfaction? Makes. No. Bloody. Sense. It's not cool or funny so STOP DOING IT!!! Anyway, enough of that. Let's move on to the few characters I did like. Pilar is Rachel's best friend and she's a lot more level headed and cool. I love how she's an otaku. I related to her big time when that was revealed. She's also smart. She saw right through her boyfriend, Alex, on his feelings of possibly liking Rachel more than her. Speaking of which, I don't mind Alex, but the fact that he has a girlfriend and he's clearly flirting with Rachel is upsetting. It's the main reason why I can't bring myself to fully like him. There' Mr. Kim, the one in charge of sending them on their missions. He seems to be one to try to take responsibility but fails because he's an adult. That's how these type of stories go. Eh, whatever. He was bland at best. Didn't really do much. The one character I loved to bits was Brent. He was so cute. He's described as the quiet one but he does talk from time to time and when he does, he's just too cute!!! I love how he's the brightest one there. He definitely knows his shit. My feelings for him grew with each new scene he was in. The fact that he likes gadgets just makes me want to squish him. Even though it was made completely obvious that he likes Pilar, I don't care because he was just too cute. X3 Yeah... I have my ups and downs with the characters but Brent makes me feel happy about it so it's okay.

Now the verdict! Should you go and pick up this manga for a read-through? Sure. Why not? It's not a bad story, it's not a good story. But it's a story that will not kill you to give it a shot. You might end up liking it a whole lot and there's definitely a lot of things in this manga that make it worth the read. If you like a story that has some action, a bit of romance, rich in pop culture references, then I think you should check it out. I do recommend you getting it from the library first... just in case you end up not liking it or think like me and it was an "eh" read. Still, give it a shot. It deserves to be read at least once. I do plan on reading the second, sure, but I won't go out of my way to track it down. If ever my library gets it, then you can expect me to review the second volume. If not... well... then you'll be waiting a long time. XP Anyway, that's it for now~ I hope you give this manga a try and that you enjoy it a lot more than I have.