Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Price: $12.00
Creator: Shiro Amano
Format: 192 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
Age Range: 8 and up
ISBN: 978-0-3164-0118-0
ICv2: Rating 3 out of 5 stars
Roxas is a "Nobody," someone with no memories of their origins who joins the shadowy Organization XIII whose members travel to different worlds to release the hearts stolen by the monstrous Heartless.  By doing so they hope to one day earn hearts of their own but Roxas discovers he has genuine human feelings when he begins to bond with his fellow agents Axel and Xion.
The Kingdom Hearts games are epic fantasies where anime style characters go on quests where they fight monsters and solve puzzles with classic Disney characters, but you would hardly know any of that from reading Kingdom Hearts 358/2.  Except for a one panel cameo by Donald and Goofy this manga is 100% Disney free.
They might also have been better off calling this incarnation of the game Kingdom Hearts Academy and not just because I have no idea what the actual title is supposed to mean.  Although there are hints of other worlds we don't get see much of that because the focus is solidly on the after-hours lives of Roxas and his friends.  And from the way their boss Xemnas is always after the kids to meet their quotas of recovered hearts, monster fighting seems to be about as much fun as working in a fast food place.  Fans of the franchise might enjoy this but I'm afraid I was both disappointed and disinterested in Kingdom Hearts 358/2.
--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.