▷MTG’s Jumpstart 2022 Anime Art is too cool ✔️ WM

▷MTG’s Jumpstart 2022 Anime Art is too cool ✔️ WM

Magic: The Gathering’s final release of the year, Jumpstart 2022, has finally been fully revealed. It’s much of what we know and love from Jumpstart 2020 – a great introductory set that manages to balance accessibility for newcomers with powerful reprints and spicy games for veterans. With cards like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and Rhystic Study, there’s plenty to be excited about.

One such reason is usually the set’s showcase frame, an alternative thematic style symbolic of the set. For example, New Capenna’s were art deco while Dominaria United’s were stained glass, and both made opening boosters exciting. For Jumpstart, Wizards decided to revisit the anime art style of the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Showcase frame, but somehow managed to lose everything that made this first attempt at that style such a huge success.

I’m a big weeb and love all things anime and manga related so these alt artworks should be right up my alley. Sometimes they’re downright awesome too: Kiki-Jiki’s new art is crisp, squiggly and beautifully colored, and I love the new look of Karn Liberated. The problem is that very little of it has any basis in the Magic multiverse, making it feel less like magic-does manga and more like magic-does-Yu-Gi-Oh! feels.

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty also had manga art, and it was amazing. From the sharp lines and bright colors of Sky-Blessed Samurai to the darker, moodier tones of Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei; Upriser Renegade and Reinforced Ronin, it showed the full breadth of what manga can do. It was an artistic treat.

More importantly, returning to Kamigawa was a huge gamble for Wizards, and the transition from feudal Japan to cyberpunk required an entirely new world, story, and visual style to even have any chance of success. With such a strong visual identity, Neon Dynasty’s manga maps felt diverse and a big leap from what Magic normally does, but they also felt consistent within the game.

Jumpstart doesn’t have that luxury. With no real setting to build on, it brings together the entire multiverse with its multitude of aesthetics, influences, and backstories. Manga art rarely feels connected to it. Oathsworn Vampire and Feast of the Fallen are probably the two best examples of this, and both rely on Innistrad’s worldbuilding to succeed. Just look at cards like Elvish Rejuvenator and Whirler Rogue – even with Whirler Rogue’s faint Kaladesh influence, they look more like screengrabs from Crunchyroll’s latest show and don’t quite fit Magic as we know it.

The second problem is a much bigger one: What on earth is this work of art? Arlinn, the voice of the pack, drastically de-aged one of the few middle-aged women in the game and turned it into a generic anime lady, resulting in a set launched shortly after the death of Magic’s other leading older lady, Jaya Ballard came, is particularly outrageous. Meanwhile, Thrashing Brontodon has been singled out and derided by the community for the dinosaur’s bedroom eyes, and the less said about the girl in Magnifying Glass’ Scholastic How To Draw manga book, the better.

By far the worst is Rapacious Dragon. In earlier drawings, he was an imposing dragon defending his horde. In Jumpstart 2022, he has transformed into Spyro, with a drooling ahegao face that even the most die-hard hentai fans would say, “Take it easy, bro”. The glittering spit dripping from his tongue, the panting, the implied pre-existence in the flavor text – it’s the first time I’ve felt downright repelled by Magic Art.

Kamigawa has used anime and manga to bolster his worldbuilding. Jumpstart completely derailed from that and thereby managed to incorporate most of the manga tropes that make me embarrassed to publicly admit that I’m a fan of this medium. Jumpstart 2022 is still on track to be a great series, but it’s been severely let down by Ahegao, lewd dinosaurs, and most importantly, Spyro’s wank face.

▷MTG’s Jumpstart 2022 Anime Art is too cool ✔️ WM

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