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Atelier Marie and Elie: Zarlburg Alchemist Vol. 1    by Yoshihiko Ochi order for
Atelier Marie and Elie
by Yoshihiko Ochi
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Yoshihiko Ochi's Atelier Marie and Elie: Zarlburg Alchemist is pure fantasy fun. The story is a sequel to a video game called Atelier Marie but no knowledge of the game is needed to enjoy the comedy in the manga.

Elie has just graduated from alchemy school and is ready to set up her own shop. At the same time, Marie (Zarlburg's most famous alchemist) returns and is looking for a place to stay. The two end up going into business together. Shortly after their shop opens, they find two elves who want to be their apprentices. Together, along with other some other citizens of Zarlburg, they find themselves in some pretty funny situations.

Atelier Marie and Elie has that classic comedy-fantasy manga feel and look to it that appeals to both male and female readers. The drawings border more on the cartoonish than the realistic side, but have plenty of detail so that the reader feels there is much more to the world of Atelier Marie and Elie than just what is seen in each panel. Ochi is an expert at comical facial expressions which really add to the story. Plus, the situations that Marie and Elie find themselves in such as losing an elf in a runaway basket or fighting a giant Jello-like monster just make for fun reading.

Fans of older (as in early 1990s) fantasy manga and anime will love Atelier Marie and Elie. Yoshihiko Ochi provides plenty of visual and verbal humor for any reader to enjoy.

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