The story written and drawn by Etorouji Shinono. Ubel Blatt, an action adventure fantasy story, is not suited for a young audience. This dark fantasy story is set during medieval times with magic and mystical beasts. In this world, after the Wischtech had threatened to invade Szaalanden, the Emperor dispatched fourteen young soldiers. However, of these fourteen, three died and four betrayed the banner. About two decades later, the four betrayers now dubbed Lances of Betrayal have arisen again and are launching an attack against the Emperor. During this time, a warrior with a black sword and scar over his eyes slays an entire platoon of militia troops.
Ubel Blatt’s story follows that person, the black swords man. His name is Koinzell and claims that the Four Lances of Betrayal are the true heroes and the other Seven are the betrayers. With his goal being revenge, Koinzell takes to the battle fields to defeat his enemies and kill the Seven Heroes. While bringing chaos to the lands of the Seven. Koinzell discovers that the seven “heroes” have sullied their name and have done nothing to improve their lands. Only bringing pain and suffering with their undiscovered agenda.
You may be thinking, ahh its just another revenge story. Yea its a revenge story but its not your what you might be expecting. Since revenge stories usually have a plot revolving around the physiological battle in the protagonists mind. They usually have a fallout because they believe their becoming just like the villain so they either change or kill themselves. No in Ubel Blatt, the protagonist doesn’t have these conflicting thoughts. Reason being is as the story progresses, the author gives info that helps solidify MC’s decision. Sure he might have a falling out, but its not because its a psychological battle between his good and evil. Koinzell knows his enemies are evil and what hes doing is bad. Instead his only qualms are of his uncertainty to be able to finish his goal. Hes struggled for the past twenty years and every day just adds to his pain.
Anyways, moving past the revenge trope. Ubel Blatt also has a good amount of politics in the story. Since the seven heroes have political power, they often have meetings like leaders do. They make decisions in groups and meet with the king to talk over matters. As for the rest of the characters in power, some use their political power to shift battles or opinions their way. For example, some of the battle are won or prevented because someone with power changed the outcome with words. Other times, just having the backing of the nobles is enough to gain support of the people. So expect some decent politics as its a topic in the series and comes up quite often. Although its not grand I got some enjoyment out of it.
Now with most of the premise out of the way. Lets talk about how the background story and its importance. The author likes to reveal a bit about the characters past in small passages or panels just when we need for some closure. For example, when Koinzell is about the face off with one of the “heroes”, the story will show a glimpse before, during and after the fight. Often times giving the reader just enough detail about how the main character and the enemy used to be. It’s a nice touch, and some of the scenes can be sad and painful to the characters. Koinzell is not killing and hunting them for glory or anything, he wants closure for him and the others that died. They battled together and risked their lives in battle, so its no wonder they had their moments together.
I couldn’t find many issues with the stories characters. They all act the way they should and there’s not a lot of twists to them. For example, Koinzells vengeance although not necessarily just at the start, it never changes. Even after slaying a few, he still continues head strong. Hes one of my favorite characters out of the many series I have read. Hes intelligent in battle, his confidence is amazing and the guy is somewhat over powered at the start. The dude has four swords he can pull out of his arm. Still, hes not invincible and doesn’t always win his battles, which makes me enjoy his character more. As for the rest of the cast, they seem realistic in their judgements and opinions. With a few having a bit of history with the protagonist, it adds a warm touch when they can meet and chat. The others, their actions and motivations shift throughout the story as politics change.
Now, the Seven heroes also have some good character too. Since there are seven of them, the author likes to affiliate them with a Sin. Not to an extent you may be thinking, they don’t embody the qualities of their respective sin. For example, Gluttony doesn’t eat food and get fat. No, the reason the author affiliates a sin with them is just for a glimpse of character. For example, greed, his goal isn’t wealth but control. He’s not very open about his ambitions but because we know of his Sin we know of his true intentions.
Ubel Blatt’s art is very impressive and at times gave me some Berserk vibes. There’s quite a lot of gore, sex and violence in this series which helped add to that Berserk feel. The characters all look well designed and detailed. Especially the main characters in the series. Like Koinzell, the artist often puts in a good amount of detail to his hair, eyes, armor and weapons. Expect a good amount of emotional facial expressions in the art but don’t expect any comedy from it. There’s very little comedy in fact, there’s only a few scenes and one character in particular. Everything else in the series has an really serious tone.
Anyways, besides characters and tone, the series has really good backgrounds and action. Etorouji put a lot of detail into his world that is Ubel Blatt. We see castles, mountains, armies, magic, magical beasts and finally floating castles. Its a marvelous world really, because of the depth in art and detail. Some of the battles like the image above, just give off that epic feel. Here is Koinzell and his allies riding on a mythical beast heading towards the castle. Other times, its the setting plus the giant floating castles or blimps that give an awesome feeling to the scenes.
I haven’t read Ubel Blatt until this week and I can say for sure that I am glad. The series has such an amazing story with depth and amazing characters. I also very much enjoy the structures and technology around in the series. Which is made great because of the fact that almost everything created or used has an explanation given by the author. Usually its after the volume they are introduced like the floating ships case where they are able to float because of a magical stone which grants levitation. If the technology is not properly introduced its for a specific reason and important to the story.
Well, finaly the reason I am glad I read this now is simple. Ubel Blatt has been out for years, 11 counting as of this year but there’s only 147 chapters and its not done. As mentioned before, its very similar to Berserk in not just gore and action, but the release dates as well. Ohh man I hate waiting for my new chapters and its going to be a rough ride with Ubel Blatt. Still I am glad I read this series and I am sure you might as well. So give it a try.