Story & Art by Haruhisa Nakata
Translated by John Werry
English Adaptation by Jason A. Hurley
Touch-Up Art & Lettering by Joanna Estep
Design by Adam Grano
Edited by Joel Enos
The steampunk action epic Levius continues in Levius/est. After the high stake events of the previous series, the world of Levius has dramatically changed. Now, Levius and his comrades face a new set of threats as his journey through the M.M.A world continues.
It’s worth noting that between the publication of Levius and Levius/est in Japan, Nakata moved his serialization from Shogakukan’s IKKI magazine to Shueisha’s Ultra Jump. While Nakata’s storytelling has not dramatically changed between publications, it’s clear that the early chapters serve to introduce new readers to the series. In fact, the first 40 pages provide a brief recap of the original Levius before transitioning the story one year into the future. This serves to establish Levius/est as a fresh start for the story, and the changes to the world reflect that. The return of Amethyst has created a massive shift in political dynamics, and as a result of new regulations, world conflict may now be resolved through M.M.A competition. This shift in direction for the series is an interesting way to support Levius’ continued motivation in the ring, while ensuring that his battles continue to have narrative weight moving forward.
Still, with Levius recovering from his previous bout with Amethyst, he is in no position to participate in M.M.A anytime soon. As a result, the story shifts its focus to AJ and Zack, as they deal with the aftermath of the previous battle. AJ has been freed from Amethyst’s control, but her memory of her time there is still vague and filled with trauma. While AJ didn’t convey much direct emotion in the original Levius, her personality is now completely unfiltered. Her character has evolved to new heights, and despite the dangers that awaits, she is ready to oppose Amethyst and save her brother from its clutches. AJ is also shown to have familiarity with Amethyst’s technology expertise, being able to contribute to Levius’ recovery. It’s clear that AJ is no longer a damsel in distress, and it will be interesting to see her play an active role in the story moving forward. The fighter Natalia Cromwell is also introduced in this volume, a former member of Zack’s gym that is madly in love with Levius. It’s hard to tell what her larger role in the story will be, but she provides some ample levity to the more serious aspects of the narrative. By the conclusion of the volume, the stage is slowly being set for Levius’ return to M.M.A., and he must prepare for the challenges that await.
As with the original Levius, Nakata’s art in Levius/est is gorgeous. There is little traditional action in this first volume, but Nakata finds ways to utilize his art to build tension within scenes. The initial interaction between AJ and Zack best displays this, as the artwork becomes more dynamic as AJ’s emotional state changes. The original Levius proved Nakata’s artistic talents in the midst of action but the first volume of Levius/est showcases his ability to craft intricate beauty from even the most mundane of scenes. As the series slowly returns to its action roots, it will be interesting to see how Nakata further refines his craft.
Levius/est Volume 1 takes its time continuing the epic story of its predecessor, but the groundwork that it builds is brimming with possibilities. New obstacles await our cast in the dangerous world of M.M.A. and the stakes are only getting higher. Levius’ journey is far from over and the next few volumes are going to be exciting to read.