A young man, Ewan Juno, awakens to find himself imprisoned in an unknown place, surrounded by stone walls and seemingly endless corridors. Ewan learns that he is one of eight young men, all sent to this strange place—the Thousands Years Labyrinth. Each of them is a candidate to be the next emperor, but only one among them will have the power to choose whom it will be. As each man struggles to survive, Ewan must navigate the shifting landscape of the labyrinth and its multitude of traps, if he is ever to escape and learn the truth behind the labyrinth's dark secrets.
Hello! I thought it was a real shame that such a good manga had no reviews so I thought I'd give it a go.
Sennen Meikyuu is short, it is tightly written, and it ends on a high note that leaves you feeling satisfied and hopeful. There are no arcs, no fillers, not lulls in the story. It's a fast paced fantasy story about eight beautiful young men, with shades of murder mystery and light political intrigue. All that with a gorgeously detailed fantasy castle as a backdrop. It's a great bit of light reading and you'll easily be done within a few hours.
The story is
solidly written, especially considering how most fantasies, mainstream fantasy animanga in particular, tend to veer towards meandering. The story beats meld into each other. Stuff is always happening. There's never a dull moment. You think the characters are finally safe but no! There are twists around every corner. Certainly it's no Fullmetal Alchemist as far as endings go, but with manga, sometimes you've got to be grateful that it's got an ending at all, considering how they do tend to drag on forever. Pretty impressive for an author's debut work according to MAL's listing.
As for the art, oh goodness the art. Gorgeous in every sense of the word. The character designs stand out well from each other and are always on-model. The backdrops are meticulously detailed. Many shots of carefully drawn architecture, stained glass decoration, roses and the like. Easily on par with other bishonen-heavy manga like Pandora Hearts and Makai Ouji.
The characters too were very well written, especially in how they interact with each other. They were fun, sometimes over the top, sometimes heartfelt. The artist being damn good at drawing them really helped carry them forward too. Also of note is that the main character may look whimpy and prone to depending on other for help but he's actually very resourceful and the glue that holds this ragtag bunch of intellectuals and misfits together and unifies them. The supporting cast is small and very strong. Everyone has something to contribute. Often many things to contribute and it is through their collective effort that the end goal is achieved.
All in all, if you're into fantasy stories, in particular stories like Pandora Hearts, Makai Ouji or Kuroshitsuji, this is easily a must read. It's length is a huge strength as it doesn't require a huge time investment and also allowed the writers to maintain a well-paced interest curve. Venture forth! It's a great read.
The art is great, beautiful backgrounds, plenty of bishies and the plot is intriguing. But that's it. Past the first volume and you start to notice the nasty pattern that plagues the mystery/suspense genre. The author constantly relies on deus ex machina when they back themselves into a corner, throws consistency out the window just to shock readers, and the characters have very contrived motivations and forced resolutions.
The biggest turn off for me is the constant asspulls. There will always be a secret passage, a hidden ladder, a secret door, a secret button, a secret item, etc., that our characters
"accidentally" discover everytime they seem to be in a pinch. It's very hard to care about their lives being in danger.
Most characters also severely lack reason in their motivations and follows it up with illogical actions. Their principles, motives, and actions just don't connect at all. Which makes for plenty of plot holes that most readers either forget or don't notice because it's overshadowed by the shock factor the author loves to play with.
Without going into detail with plot holes, there are also some other minor things that kinda bugged me. There's the rushed ending where the evil mastermind is abrubtly revealed. The deaths of minor characters were so easily forgotten, the author never brought them up again so even I forgot a few times that anyone died at all. And the overuse of the statement "there is a rumor that.." and the ridiculous random "feeling of murderous intent" as cheap attempts to misguide the readers and create distrust towards certain characters.
Despite all this, I still found it an overall enjoyable read thanks to the pretty boys and the gorgeous art that remains consistent and beautifully detailed until the end.
If you are a shallow reader like me, and can ignore countless plot holes and superficial characters for the sake of eye candy, I highly recommend this. However, if you are an intelligent reader with good memory expecting a satisfying mystery, I suggest you to turn your brain off before you proceed or just skip this altogether.