Rave Master-the most popular manga among Japanese boys-is already an animated series in Japan and has multiple video game versions, too. Loosely plotted but chockfull of action, strange creatures and childish humor, it's not entirely coherent, but it's fun. The expansive story centers on a quest by the Rave Master to recover the Rave Stones, scattered across the world some 50 years ago. The Rave Master's task is urgent because Demon Card, a group of bad guys, is using the power of a demon stone, Dark Bring, to wreak destruction. Only the Rave Stones can stop these creatures. The book's hero, Haru Glory, has spent much of his life training to become a Rave Stone, having already lost his father to the quest. Exhibiting the usual brash confidence of a manga hero, Haru rises to the occasion when strange enemies attack. With his magic sword and a cute animal sidekick, Plue, Haru sets out across the world. The book, like a video game, is episodic, structured to go on until the creator grows tired of it. The artwork is more or less generic manga stylings and the storytelling is serviceable but shaky in spots. (Mashima was only 21 when he created Rave Master.) In fact, Mashima's real strength is character design. Plue and the many creatures Haru encounters are unusual and inventive. The book's thin veneer is decidedly for the Gameboy- and anime-drenched generation and should appeal to the same crowd that made Pok?mon such a monster hit here. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.