Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rave Master: A Life-changing Adventure of Bonds












Disclaimer: I do not own the pictures used in this post.

They belong to their respective owners.

Another warning: This is not an official review, but will mostly consist of

my 'rants' and observations. Wrote this in one-sitting, so please excuse my grammar, crappy tenses and over-all jumbling composition.






You may see them in a different light, and I'm cool with it.

We all have our own opinions anyway.


After 296 chapters, and it's done! You know that feeling you get after reading an anime / manga series? That mixed, interwoven feelings of happiness, sadness, relief and content / discontent of a hanging end? And that feeling like a lost entity staring at the last page, thinking: "What next?" (Plus the need to make up for the lack of sleep for weeks is becoming overwhelming. Hah!)

I don't know about you guys, but Rave Master made me feel just like that.

A brief history...

I first watched Rave Master, named Groove Adventure Rave, on a local channel (dubbed in Tagalog) when I was in 3rd grade (2003), I think. And that was a little over 10 years ago! I bought a pirated dvd (yeah right, shame on me) having the Japanese dubbed with English subs version when I was in 6th grade and re-watched the anime. Even back then, I was already fascinated with the power possessed by the rave stones and dark brings - but most especially by Haru Glory's character. I think it was because of his naivety at first, and how he grew as a person throughout the anime that drew me in. But it was also frustrating, because the anime was cut and hasn't been continued yet (up to now)! It only ended in the episode wherein Lucia kissed Elie in the desolated land of Symphonia, proclaiming her as his, and Haru promising Elie that he'd make Lucia pay for making her cry.

PLUE!!! Puuuun!

Well, I eventually got over it as I got caught up in watching Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Zenki, Gundam Seed, Rurouni Kenshin, Gakuen Alice and many more. Even re-watched Shaman King and Yu Yu Hakusho (first two seasons) when I step into college. I thought about reading Rave Master, but things were kind of hectic already so it hadn't crossed my mind again...

Until the summer of 2013.

I found scribbles when I was younger, stating that Haru was my first anime crush and all. Haha! Along with the Ragnarok (poorly-sketched) characters on thin bond papers. It was really childish but it brought a certain amount of giddiness back. Then last December, I made up my mind to read the manga (finally!) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand guess what, I cried.

FRIENDSHIP. Rave Master stresses on the importance of friendship, camaraderie and bond formed by the people sharing experiences together - trusting each other with their lives. True thing, their goals may vary and they may have their own personal demons to fight off (aside from the physical demons from Makai / demon world), but what amazes me is the characters' ability to set aside themselves and fight for the people they call 'friends' til every bone of their body breaks. Also they have that sense of hope embellished in their core, and they strive to move on though the adversaries are greater than they are. It's their bond of friendship that keeps them going in most cases.

FAMILY. Familial relations are irreplaceable. It's one of the primary reasons as to why the characters act the way they do and one of the motivators for them to achieve their respective goals. Reminds me of the bond between Remi and Solasido in the Tower of Din arc. The death of Haru's dad got me teary-eyed, as well as the revelation and history of the two Gale - Glory and Raregroove.

"Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.

At other times, it is allowing another to take yours." Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of InspirationThis quote reminds me of how Haru and Elie (Resha Valentine) met in Punk Street at the start of the series, and in retrospect, it pretty much was the sign of a life-changing adventure together.

*insert fan girl scream here*

HARU GLORY is a softie - a real one inside. Despite the countless battles that he had been engaged in, personally, he still seems... pure, idealistic even. He is a guy alright, blushing around pretty women in contact with him at the beginning, but you'd still see how special Elie is to him. Especially on the later part of the series. He didn't even say outright the words: I love you (just at the end), but throughout the journey, his actions scream it! Everyone seems to know that he and Elie has something special, but the two of them seems to be oblivious to the romantic insinuations of their actions.

He may not be as smart as Musica, but his simplistic take in things comes in handy in a lot of situation, and his battle instincts and skills are commendable. Being a rave master is a tough job, and at a young age he has to shoulder the responsibility of bringing peace. I remember reading a fanfiction about Haru's possible thoughts on this, especially on the deaths of the people around him. And I gotta agree with the author - that Haru may just have kept his real feelings of doubt to himself and continued acting 'hero' for the sake of those who believed in him. Well, that is before Elie proved to him otherwise - that despite all those doubts, he is chosen by rave for a reason. That he is entrusted by her for a reason.

But for me, what makes Haru special is not being a rave master, but his ram-rod determination, beliefs and selfless love for those he held dear. As stated in one of the chapters in the 33rd / 34th volume, he does love the 'parallel' world that they are in, but what urges him to move forward is much more on a personal note: To protect Elie. And to do that, he must save the world they are in.

ELIE / RESHA is a head-turner from the start, an airhead at times and innocent in a lot of ways - which is not inclusive in her memory loss due to the maximum usage of Etherion. The object of Shiba's (the first rave master) affection and Kaim's (King of Symphonia/ Haru's grandfather) love for a daughter - seemingly. She has an unwavering trust in Haru, which becomes more evident whenever she's captured and being asked to yield, and is strong-willed and headstrong in her little ways. Having recovered her memories from decades and decades ago, it was a relief that Elie seems to maintain her bubbly yet fierce personality. Her loyalty to Haru is one-of-a-kind. I personally love this gal to bits as we both like gambling! Hahaha!

Reina!!!! Why?!

PLUE is a cutie, whether they deem him to be a bug or a dog - 'nuf said. He's a loyal companion and the rave-bearer - took part in the 1st battle with Shiba. I love it when he/she/it deflates! Puuuuun! GRIFF is also adorable, and pretty useful when it comes to mapping their location. He's with Tachimo! The weirdest horse ever. Griff has shape-shifting abilities and a real pervert. RUBY is the cutest penguin-like poyo! Poyo! Seems like he possesses magic and he's endearing in his own way. He likes rare stuff and is pretty wealthy! BONY the starfish is amusing too. Keeps getting eaten by Lazenby.Haha!

Damn feels!

Then HAMRIO MUSICA, head of the Silver Rhythm gang and a silver claimer (manipulator of silver) joined in the gang.Grandson of Galein Musica the legendary Blacksmith, who forged the TCM (ten commandments) and whom they saved from Lance's clutches. He has a cool personality and fiercely loyal to Haru too. Somehow he's like the big brother the Rave master has never had as they share a sibling-like rivalry. They're both goofy too! I was touched by the sacrifice Musica made when he made Ravelt for Haru. Out of the women linked to him in the series (Reina, Remi, Belnika, Melody and Nagisa), I like Reina the most with Musica.

I don't know why exactly, but they two just blend in well together. Too bad Mashima-sensei killed her off. Guess the magnetism between them was because they're both silver claimers?

Or they just have that chemistry which couldn't be denied every time they're together. Also when their silvers fused, I was like: HOLY! It's gorgeous!

Julia's initial jealousy. Haha!

LET DAHAKA AND JULIA - citizens of Makai and a couple. The usually level-headed guy and the feisty, strong lady. I love them both. I love how Let grew - from a demon in the dragon race who only sought to fight strong opponents to someone who fights for his beliefs, and how supportive Julia is in Let's decisions and how fiercely attractive she is. Simply love these two characters. Glad the stellar memory had him revived at the last battle. Or I might have bawled like a baby again. Haha!

SHUDA is one of those characters who would grew on you. He seems to be a tough guy (well he really is - survived a fall with a chopped arm), but deep inside he does care for Haru and the others. Well he really is powerful enough and possibly at par with Haru in a one-on-one combat (minus the rave and dark bring). He has in his care the original sword of Gale Glory, and entrusted to Shuda his family. I really laughed out loud when Haru and the others found out that he slept with Cattleya (Haru's sister) when he visited Garage island and Shuda told Haru to call him 'brother-in-law'!

SIEG HART's death disconcerted me. A lot. He was one of my favorite characters in the series, and I raised a glass in his victory against that demented manipulator mage - Haja. Somehow thought that it'd be better if he was the one who defeated Shakuma too, but things fell into place perfectly anyway so... Sigh. Really. I love Sieg, because until the end, he did protect everybody in his own way. He's just so awesome.

BELNIKA is also a good additional to the group! She's a really strong magician, and I pitied her predicament at first - being experimented for Etherion and used by Hardner. She's an asset in the team in the long run. Also, Mashima-sensei must have thought that he'd let the audience think that a love triangle might ensue, but alas! I think most of us, fans, know that it would eventually lead to Haru and Elie anyway.

LEVIN is the future son of Elie and Haru, who is featured in the side stories Rave 0077! NAKAJIMA always seems to annoy the hell out of him. Hahaha! They're both adorable.

There are a lot of characters that I haven't mentioned, but this is a bit mentally draining. Still an emotional wreck (exaggerated) due to the ending of the manga. I love how the different groups (Liberation Army with Julius and Lazenby in tow, Miloch of Mildea with Niebel and the other mages, Rabbier / Ray Barrier troop, Imperial Army, Reina's Amazon warriors, Silver Rhythm gang, Go and Rosa) gathered in order to pave a 'bloodpath' for Haru in the last volume, and how they trusted him with their lives. Differences aside, they united for the first (and probably, last) time to support the Rave master in his final battle to save the world - literally from destruction to be caused by Endless' overdrive. Also from afar, the remaining person in the Knights of the Blue Sky, Alpine and Alice, the 'munya' man and the maker of the elixir, watched in anticipation.

There are a lot of groups that challenged Haru's gang (Demon Card esp. King and Lucia Raregroove, Oracion Six and Guardians of the Gate, Doryu Ghost Squad, Blue Guardians, Onigami Forces and the Four Demon gods), but somehow after near-death experiences in battles, they made it out alive - they came out stronger.

Elie lost her memory again after releasing Etherion to stop Endless (supposedly killing Haru in the process).

But a year later, while most of them have already moved on, they met up again to visit Haru's grave - wherein the remnants of stellar memory dwell. There, as they pray for his soul's peaceful sleep, the tomb exploded and out came Haru - who seemed clueless to their shocked expressions. They were enveloped by stellar memory and Elie's memories came back in a flash.

Sacrifices were inevitable. Tears were shed. Hearts were broken. Smiles were shared. Memories were made. But the journey continues as long as they're alive.

I won't say that Rave Master is a perfect piece, as it has flaws of its own, BUT it was a beautiful adventure of friendship, trust, forgiveness and love nonetheless. Also throughout the series, it's not only the fiction characters themselves that developed, but also the mangaka - Mashima-sensei's drawings greatly improved! I love Rave despite its ever present idealistic concepts, and it somehow gives me hope too - that one day, I may have my own adventure, thought not in that scale! Re-affirms my optimism. Life, indeed, is an adventure. :)
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