Dont you just love it when authors cross across universes and find a means to tie up everything neatly together. If you do, like myself then Dreamland is the manga for you. I am a little confused at calling this a proper manga. The author is french, a certain Mr Reno Lemaire, this is also his first published work. But the work in itself, ah words escape me.
Rarely ever has the blending of the fantastic to the real been so vivid and yet polished. Dreamland as the name rightly advances is about the land of our dreams. Dreams of you, me and everyone else. There are certain rules in place, and those few gifted enough to overcome fear in their dreams gain the ability to traverse this dreamscape at will.
They become travelers, of spirit and dreams.
Of course the standard manga tropes are a plenty, powers for instance are much more clearly defined that one might expect in a dreamland, and the villains are shown up front. Or at least the chief antagonists, maybe a shadowy villain or two are yet to appear. But the telling of this tale is fantastic on every page. It reminds me of the few works that touch upon the magical with such convincing that one has no choice but to believe.
And believe you will, if not in the hero and his rather unheroic resolve, than at least you will in his companions…each with an agenda and a motivation backing them. The character development is mature and rich. With even characters seeming unimportant at first being later shown to have multiple facets to their nature. This adds a depth usually absent in the more popular manga of today.
The world of dreams itself is well detailed with vast regions to be explored, leaving for creative monsters and cannon fodder. Intriguing characters are around aplenty. Including an enigmatic pipe smoking wise man who somehow manages to be at the right place mostly at the right time. And the mysterious Toro Picana, a vastly powerful traveler who has returned to the Dreamland after a long time. Timely appearances by such characters hints at an underlying greater story to the manga than simple episodic hooks and thus increases the appeal of the tale manifold. There are the Nightmare Lords, rulers of realms in Dreamland and maintaining a precious balance of power between them. And then there are our heroes, a fresh group of travelers bent on exploring all of Dreamland, each for their own reason.
All together the recipe for delightful chaos.
Dreams are one of my favored subjects and the last time I was entranced by the world of dreams so was when I was introduced to Neil Gaiman’s masterworks. That does not mean I am comparing the two works. However that does mean I hold this manga in the same vein. It is a compelling and spiraling tale of grand heroics and sparkling humor. Rounded off with a hint of love and loss, and dazzling characters.
Dreamland the manga, catch it while its hot.