Magic The Gathering Gets Manga Tie-In For New Set | Screen Rant

A tie-in manga has been released for the most recent Magic: The Gathering set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. MTG is a popular trading card game with a deep lore behind it going back more than 20 years. While the game's publisher Wizards of the Coast has often released tie-in stories explaining much of this lore, these stories have mostly been confined to the likes of novels and online short stories. A manga is a new way of relating the story surrounding the latest set of cards, but it is an appropriate one given the influences and lore of Kamigawa.

The story of Magic: The Gathering takes place on many different worlds called planes and focuses on characters called Planeswalkers who can travel between them. These planes often take influences from various real-world cultures and mythologies, from the Greek mythology-inspired Theros to the Norse-influenced Kaldheim. The upcoming booster set centers on Kamigawa, a world inspired by Japan and Shintoism. Kamigawa is a cyberpunk world brimming with futuristic technology that is also populated by mystical spirits known as Kami.

Related: Magic: The Gathering Debuts Anime Trailer For Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

The tie-in manga, penned by Riyou Kamei, is an abridged version of the story of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty as presented in the story section on the Magic: The Gathering website. The story mainly centers around two Planeswalkers from Kamigawa, the cyber ninja Kaito Shizuki and the Emperor of Kamigawa, a mysterious figure known as the Wanderer. The two were childhood friends until one night when the villainous Planeswalker Tezzeret accidentally ignited the Emperor's Planeswalker abilities, causing her to travel to a new plane. Years later Tezzeret returns to Kamigawa working with the horrific, biomechanical Phyrexians and Kaito teams up with Tamiyo, another Kamigawan Planeswalker, to put an end to their plans. In the process the Emperor reappears and is reunited with Kaito for a brief time before her unstable abilities forces her to leave Kamigawa, unable to easily return. However, in the time she is able to remain on Kamigawa she helps Kaito and Tamiyo foil Tezzeret’s plans. It is not a perfect victory, however, and the manga ends on a tragic note as it is revealed that Tamiyo, who was captured by the Phyrexians, has now been corrupted by them.

The manga is a very fun read, and it is a very cool homage to the culture that Kamigawa is rooted in. Magic has previously made homages to its real-world influences in the card art itself, but these homages are rarely seen in the way the story is told outside of the sets. Manga is a method of storytelling that has deep roots in Japanese history, with precursors dating back to the 12th century. Telling the story of the Kamigawa in manga form thus brings the homage to Japanese culture to another level and shows how devoted the Magic team is to the cultures they base their sets on.

Beyond being just an homage to Japanese culture the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty manga complements the Magic story very well. Some story beats hit harder in the visual medium of manga, like Tamiyo’s corruption at the hands of the Phyrexians in the epilogue. It is also great to see manga versions of some of Magic’s most iconic characters like the elder dragon Nicol Bolas. All this makes the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty manga a delightful tie-in to the new Magic: The Gathering set, serving both as a great homage and a fun depiction of the story.

More: The Best Commanders from Magic's Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

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