Anzu: The Shards of Memory Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Icarus Publishing
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Pages: 232
  • ISBN: 1-934075-01-2
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Anzu: The Shards of Memory

Anzu: The Shards of Memory Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     April 27, 2007
Release Date: January 01, 2007

Anzu: The Shards of Memory Vol.#01
© Icarus Publishing

Creative Talent
Translated by:Ex-S Woo
Adapted by:

What They Say
On the outside, Anzu is just your typical ditzy schoolgirl: she's always late for school, daydreaming in class, and a little accident prone in gym! But she has a special power, one that she has tried to keep hidden, but couldn't lock away. When a popular student commits suicide, that power begins to fill her dreams with nightmarish images of a brutal rape from centuries ago. Unbeknowest to her, the ancient tragedy is about to invade her carefree world, and consume her dearest sister, Kaede...

The Review
Thicker and better than ever before! Yeah, I said it.

Icarus takes a step in a new direction with Anzu " The Shards of Memory, as this title is there first with a new printer. This book has thicker, slightly yellow paper that manga fans should be familiar with, which in turn gives this book twice the thickness of Icarus' previous titles. This paper not only makes the book more substantial, but it also nullifies the problem with bleed through seen on previous Icarus titles. The print quality for this book is just as good as earlier titles. Another change is the addition of six pages of advertisements for other Icarus titles with short descriptions of the books. As for the cover of Anzu " The Shards of Memory, the main character, Anzu, and her sister Kaede are in various states of undress with their school uniforms. The back cover has a similar picture of one of their classmates. Hhmm, covers with cute girls with their school uniforms shifted around in various provocative amounts of undress? Icarus, I think I'm sensing a trend here.

Kirikaze's artwork is highly detailed, especially for an ero-manga. Characters have a large amount of detail in their eyes, clothing, not to mention pubic hair and nipples. Yeah I know it seems silly to comment on the last two, but it's surprising how many artists short cut those two items and most of the girls in this title have noticeable differences in their nether regions. All the women have believable breast sizes that fit their bodies and Kirikaze does a good job shading, using speed lines for a sense of motion, and a true sense of squishiness for the breasts. As to my biggest complaint with the art, I can barely tell half the characters apart. Aside from Anzu, Kaede, and Kazumi-kun (who dresses like a girl), all the girls look too much alike. Even the English teacher and school nurse look the same age as the students.

The translation reads well and honorifics are prevalent. No spelling errors, but sometimes I felt there was a word missing here and there that interrupted the dialogue flow. The Japanese SFX remains but lacks an English translation.

Contents: (You guessed it, spoilers ahead)
Anzu and her sister Kaede live with their mom, who happens to be their school nurse and a little freaky on the side since Anzu's father's death. Anzu has a really difficult time getting up in the mornings, she's not that bright, and she has a really popular boy, Kazumi-kun, constantly trying to get her attention. Even going as far as dressing like a girl because he thinks Anzu likes that.

Most of the sex in this story revolves around three guys from Anzu's school and the girls they blackmail into sex. These guys are so repulsive it amazed me the way they raped girls and then forced the girls to keep screwing them under the threat of releasing sex photos. This goes so far that one of the girls commits suicide after learning she had become pregnant and the culprits reaction is to just go out and look for a new girl. All of this happens without the knowledge of the main characters, but after the suicide, something begins to change inside Anzu. She begins dreaming of the tragic lives of some women from the feudal era, which is a link created by Anzu's gem necklace that was owned by the same woman in her dreams.

This whole idea is actually pretty cool because the two girls and guy in Anzu's dreams correlate to her, Kaede, and Kazumi-kun. Unfortunately, the chapters for this book were written over several years and the artist apologizes for not being able to include background on Kazumi-kun's character and the awakening of Anzu's powers. All of this makes for a rather jerky story progression as Anzu suddenly has some type of ESP like power.

Eventually, Anzu, Kaede and Kazumi-kun run into the three rapeketeers when they kidnap and rape Kaede. This is where the whole story becomes worthwhile as Kazumi-kun starts kicking ass left and right. The three dastardly students meet some fitting and varied ends that I found very satisfying. But will Anzu ever give in to Kazumi-kun's advances? What about Kaede, will she recover from her traumatic experiences? How do these events correlate to those in Anzu's dreams? And why is Anzu's mom such a freak?

At it's core, Anzu " The Shards of Memory is a story about the first love between a high school girl and a guy that dresses like a girl. Along the way, the reader is treated to the devious deeds of some seriously twisted guys as they blackmail their classmates for sex. As much as I didn't enjoy all the non-consensual sex and cherry-poppin scenes, I did find a lot of enjoyment in Kazumi-kun's character. The comedy his character provides is a nice balance to the harsher side of the story, and when he starts kicking ass things really pick up. The other aspect I really enjoyed was the feudal era memories. Those characters belonged to a ninja clan and the lack of underwear under the girls short yukata/ninja girl outfits was just plain hot. Other highlights were the consensual sex scenes, shiofuki, and Kaede walking in on Anzu masturbating.

Overall Hotness (1 to 5): 3: Pitched Tent


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