Return to Labyrinth
Jake T. Forbes & Chris Lie
Cover art by Kouyu Shurei
If you're a child of the 80s like me, you still think of David Bowie as a sex symbol and want to name your first born "Jareth." So here’s what I want you to do. Go to your local book store or anime shop and take Return to Labyrinth off the shelf. Admire the beautiful cover art for a while. Stroke it. Lick it if you feel compelled to do so.
Then put it back on the shelf, go home, and pop in your Labyrinth DVD instead. Cause if you're feeling nostalgic, this title isn't going to do anything for you.
Return to Labyrinth takes place about 15 years after the original film, and centers on Sarah's younger brother Toby. Toby's going through the wangsty teenager phase, but has the underappreciated luck to receive anything he wishes for. Why? Because the Goblin King Jareth has seen to it. Jareth meets with Toby in the form of an insultingly effeminate guidance counselor to scold him for his lack of gratitude.
Jareth then lures Toby into the Kingdom by having a goblin...*sigh*...steal his homework. And voila, there he is to face with the Labyrinth's many perils. If you were hoping to see Toby use his clever wit to get himself through the puzzles, don't get your hopes up. The story and character relationships have zero rational development.
My translation: "Hey, you're a faerie that stabbed me. I introduce myself. Now we're friends!"
"Oh noes! We're being chased by a lion made of water that can pass through bars! I have an idea...let's lead it through a giant pile of poo. Now run everyone! There's a gate! We're suddenly on the other side of the gate and assume that the poo-covered, water lion can't pass through the bars now, but we're not actually going to see if it even tried."
I'm not kidding.
Apparently continuity and quality checking aren't important either, demonstrated by the print errors on page 4. There's a scene where Sarah cooks what appears to be salmon and soup for Toby, then puts down eggs, bacon, and sausage in front of him. That's skill.
The characters tend to be one dimensional except for Moppet. She has potential. A human girl abandoned in the goblin city, forced to wear a mask because she believes she’s truly hideous (comparatively). The artwork desperately wants to be manga, but fails. Everything is limited to its frame. It lacks grace and background detail in a lot of cells. Had this been a full-color western-style comic rather than marketed as a "manga" this may have passed...no...wait...no. Good art can't balance out this predictable drivel.