Aquarian Age - Juvinile Orion Vol. #05 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Broccoli Books
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-932480-13-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Aquarian Age - Juvinile Orion Vol. #05

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 26, 2005
Release Date: May 01, 2005


Aquarian Age - Juvinile Orion Vol.#05
© Broccoli Books


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Gokurakuin Sakurako
Translated by:Rie Hagihara
Adapted by:

What They Say
The battle reaches its climax as Mana and Kaoru push their powers to the limit. When Israfel attacks Tsukasa and Tomonori, something dark within Tsukasa is awakened. Meanwhile, Kaname faces off against Ama-Inu, with devastating results.

Mana's strength as a Mind Breaker is put to the ultimate test. Can she save those she loves before it's too late?

The Review
In the final volume of this sci-fi thriller, Mana and the rest of her friends, most push their abilities to the limit in order to save themselves and this world. The time for judgment has begun and there is not a moment left to be scared. These six friends will have to look into their hearts as to whether or not they want to live this way. The answer is not as simple as one might think.

Packaging:
Broccoli Books continues to be the standard for packaging in North America. The front cover has close friends Nakaura-sensei and Amou Tsukasa in their battle outfits on a white background. The opposite cover has an SD Nakaura-sensei with a bible in his arms beneath the volume description.

Inside there is nice paper, really good clean printing and a color plate featuring a close up on Nakaura-sensei inside the front cover. Bro-Books have included tons of omake at the end of the manga: translation notes, character profiles, an omake manga, CD drama transcripts, and a complete promo card list for the Aquarian Age card game. There are a few ads for - Aquarian Age: the Movie, Juvenile Orion merchandise, Until the Full Moon, Leave it to Piyoko and Galaxy Angel.

Readers who order this directly from Broccoli through AnimeGamers.com or send in $1.50 worth in stamps can get a dust jacket featuring the male cast members in battle stances... with Kaname showing some skin. Woah!

On top of that, readers could go to AnimeGamers or Borders and look for this volume with box and two key chains. The box is thick and study with black and white character art on each side. The books without dust jackets fit snug in the box, but the box is too small to hold the set with jackets. Funny.

Artwork:
Gokurakuin's art is very stylish and generally just plain cute. Her lines are very thing, long and sketchy. Her lines tend to give her characters a very lean look to them. Costume designs are pretty cool but unless there is a cover or chapter header, the cast is usually in their school uniforms. If there is anything I do not like about her character designs, it is her eyes. They look so empty, even though the irises have a lot of detailing. They look weird. The background art is not great. Actually, when they are drawn in they look okay but Gokurakuin does not draw them much.

The layout is solid. There is a lot of variety in perspective and point of view. Some panels even help with setting up mood and pacing, which helps a lot as this title does not have a lot of dialogue.

Text/SFX:
The translation for this series is great. They use honorifics all the time, which really helps define the relationships that these characters have with each other. They also keep a feeling of individual personalities for each character. This series is not really dialogue heavy but how Broccoli translated that dialogue with accuracy and care for the original work is really impressive.

This series does not have a lot of SFX, but the few are present are all translated by using a mix of subs and overlays. The overlays have been done to reflect the art used for the original SFX. The subs are done with a thin font as to not compromise Gokurakuin-sensei's art.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The war that might end all wars has begun. Members of each clan are going after each other, each doing their part to determine the fate of the world.

What they do not realize is that this battle will end wars by ending the killing. There will be those who will say that murder never will stop the hatred between these clans. Hopefully some will understand that love is what is most important to the survival of those on Earth. Because of that, there are those who will not be afraid of death and insecurity. There will be those that will take a chance and live with the risk of a broken heart to see friends and lovers. Killing will not resolve anything, the circle of hatred will continue that way again, whether this Earth is rebuilt here or anywhere else.

Peace and acceptance is the only solution, the only answer to combat the fear and hatred in people's hearts. Acceptance does not come easy. People are often afraid of the unknown. Many people run away from their fears and instead overcoming those fears people often bury those fears deep within them. Those fears might build up and manifest into vengeance, blindness from the truth and hatred. Peace is equally as difficult to attain. One looking for vengeance might have a difficult time looking for peace. Peace must be attained through honest tolerance. For Mana and her friends this meant to accept peace despite all of the suffering, the fear, the death and chaos. These characters had to see past so much negativity to find that none of that is beneficial to anyone in any way. On the other hand, peace gives everyone a chance. Mana gives everyone a chance, even those who thought they wanted to harm her. Someday that might not work, but it was a chance Mana had to take.

Comments
If I remember correctly Huey Lewis and the News have a song titled The Power of Love. In Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion, Mana uses her power to overcome her fears and protect the people she loves and the world they all share together.

It’s an idea so old it has almost been done to death. Actually, at times I almost wish it were. However, Gokurakuin-sensei uses this concept and makes it very playful along the way. With the struggle at hand, Gokurakuin-sensei is able to use adversity to bring together a mish-mash of a cast from all over the spectrum. Ideals of friendship, love and honor bring these young people together and they create a fun little family with their “master” Mana in the center. The strength that Mana found within her came from the love she felt for those around her. The rest of the cast found within them much more. They realized that fear tore them apart. They felt that anger only confused their true feelings. Together they were in peace and that was best for them and everyone they cared for. The dynamic that is created with these six (or seven) as a group was something that was developed over time. Now that this title has ended, it really makes sense, especially once some of the mysteries behind “mindbreakers” and the clans they control are finally defined.

However, she does not stop there. Actually, Gokurakuin tries to leave the mindbreaker idea open a bit, for interpretation. She has a few examples. Yes, Mana is a good example of one who decides to use her talent and her responsibilities for the greater good, but she could have gone another way with that like Kaoru. She could have equally gone the way of another character (left un-named in this manga). This character saw both sides and decided to lay low. He is like everyone else involved in this war - he was not involved but the outcome would define whether he would survive or not. I found that took a great imagination, because we often forget the other sides of each story. There are often more than two sides and Aquarian Age gives readers a look at a few more than normal.

In the end, this was a fun title with a nice little moral to tell. Visually it was much more impressive as I feel Gokurakuin’s art is elegant yet very simple. Altogether, this created an entertaining series that had piqued my curiosity but never really provided any real surprises. It was a predictable slow-paced journey where the action was secondary to the drama and development of these characters. I guess that is why I would come back. To see the friendships develop and to feel a part of the family Mana created.

Aquarian Age: Juvenile Orion might not be the most exciting fantasy title, but it does almost everything right.

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