lone_she_wolf (lone_she_wolf) wrote in xxlandserenexx,

Return to Labyrinth volume 4 review

 Twice in the manga a line is used that I feel was a justification. 'There are two types of fantasies. Ones where it's pure fantasy and takes place in another world like Lord of the rings or someone from the 'real world' learns a life lesson and can bring nothing back with him.'  This point bothers me above all else.
 The original Wonderful Wizard of Oz book was not a dream and in the books Dorothy and her family eventually move to Oz.  And what about 10th Kingdom? Wolf came back to New York with Virginia FROM the fantasy world.
And the 'there are two types of fantasies' I feel diminishes the whole genre.  We should not forget subgenres like urban fantasy and future-fantasy or historical fantasy or multiverse-fantasy. There's more to fantasy than Alice in Wonderland stories.
Sarah and Jareth obviously really do love each other so why didn't she stay to become his Queen?
   Toby's learned lesson should have had no bearing on what happened with Sarah.  Also the way his lesson was conveyed felt forced and reminiscent of an 'I learned something today' speech.  The romantic part of me wanted to see Jareth and Sarah go off together as it was implying until Toby's 'enlightening' speech.
    Mizumi's portrayal was completely inconsistent and I got mixed signals about what I was supposed to feel toward her. I felt there was no reason Moulin had to die. It did not make sense. The lizards were anti-climatic.
I almost get the impression that Jake T. Forbes had another ending in mind and very abruptly was told he couldn't do that or changed his mind about what he was going to do. The end did not feel right somehow. It wasn't satisfying like the film. It felt like half this volume was trying to justify what was to come. It did not make sense to me.
I defended this manga series against those that doubted a sequel could be done.   I actually loved Volume 1. I didn't care for this one.
  I am sorry if I am being harsh in my review.  I can't give this five or four stars the way I did with volume 3 and 1 (I particularly loved those and the Jareth flashback in volume 2).   I fully understand Jake's limits because Return to Labyrinth and because he had to remain to true to the source material.  
   It wasn't so much that Jareth didn't end up with Sarah that bothered me (though the romantic in me did want to see them together).   The part of the manga that bothered me above all else was the downplaying of fantasy fiction.  it's repeated twice in the fourth volume that there are "two types of fantasy,"   He even goes as far as to have it that this was something Sarah told Toby when he was little.  As a lover of fantasy, to see this said twice bothered me.   There are many, many types of fantasy.  The Dresden Files for example are urban fantasy with faeries, trolls, vampires, werewolves, wizards, and the like existing in our world and the books are almost entirely set within the confines of our reality with the fantastical sprinkled in.
               Also the stories where you go into a strange other world and learn a life lesson aren't exclusively about only gaining a life lesson. That was something started with Alice in Wonderland and popularized with the film version of The Wizard of Oz.  In the original Oz books Oz was a real place and Dorothy and her family eventually moved there.  Then there's 10th Kingdom where Virginia took Wolf back to New York with her from The 9 Kingdoms.   There's no set rule that all you can bring back with you is a life lesson and I felt this volume treated this particular point like it was something written in stone.  It was the boxed-in and very limited quality of this repeated implication of there only being two types of fantasy that bothered me as a fantasy lover.  There's Urban fantasy like The Dresden Files, Steampunk fantasy like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, life lesson fantasy like Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland and the film version of The Wizard of Oz, then there's life Lesson where you can take something back with you or stay in the world where you learned the lesson such as Virginia taking Wolf back with her in 10th Kingdom and Tony, also in 10th Kingdom, staying behind in the fantasy world or the original Oz books, completely other fantastical world fantasy like Lord of the Rings, Historical fantasy like Merlin, futuristic fantasy, Science-fantasy like Warenouse 13 and Special Unit 2.
        I was disappointed to see the genre so completely limited by Sarah, a character who was supposed to have been a fantasy lover.  This part of the story, which was pressed twice, is the part that haunted me above all else.  This hurt the story for me. It also felt like someone announcing 'Okay, people.  There are only two ways this can go and here's why.' I'm not comfortable with stories that insist on explaining in advance why it has to end a certain way.   To me it takes away from the story rather than enhances it.  
          I am glad that Toby learns that reality and fantasy are intertwined though.  
     Another issue I had was Hana (A small pixie faery) was obsessed with the wings that had been plucked off her back by goblins.   Toby tries to give them back at the end of Return to Labyrinth but accidentally gives them to stank, her little Yeti she'd been riding instead.  And she says 'Good enough!'   Good enough!?  When she's been upset about them through the books.  That's like a person whose lost their legs suddenly can get them back and the person aims wrong and their wheelchair sprouts legs instead.  But that's okay!?  Was that supposed to be funny?
       I do love Return to Labyrinth.  Volumes 1 and 3 are ones I've read multiple times and I love the flashback in Volume 2.   But 4 didn't have the same charm.
            Return to Labyrinth, in general, is a fun read but there are certain things in the fourth volume that I found dissatisfying. I don't think Moulin had to die. I felt Toby's lesson at the end came off a little forced.  And though Jake may have wanted that the line 'There are two types of fantasy' to mean in regard to Toby's preference I did still feel it was unnecessarily limiting to the genre.   As a romantic I had hoped for Jareth and Sarah to end up together but I understand that this would have shifted the view away from Toby and this was Toby's story but that doesn't change that I was disappointed.  At least Jareth gave Sarah new dreams.
         My theory from over a year ago, that an ablation could remain separate from the original source if that person replaced that missing piece with a new version of that which was lost, was true. I had noticed that every ablation was something that was regenerative like Hope and dreams.  And the song As the World Falls Down held the clue for me to Moppet's survival  'In search of new dreams.'   So I was at least happy to be proven right about that.
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