Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A
- Text/Translatin Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 208
- ISBN: 1-59182-372-2
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Baby Birth Vol. #01
By Mike Dungan
June 06, 2004
Release Date: September 01, 2003
Writer/Artist:Story: Sukehiro Tomita
Art: Haruhiko Mikimoto
Translated by:Nan Rymer
Adapted by:What They Say
An ancient seal has been broken, sending a flood of demons into the mortal realm. Hizuru Oborozuki is a student figure skater who just doesn't care enough to excel. Takuya Hijou is a musical super-genius whose talent is only matched by his ego. The one mystery greater than the source of their mystical abilities is how they'll manage to stop fighting one another long enough to protect the world from demonic domination!The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the opening pages, we see a young girl named Hizuru, about to sacrifice herself to a demon, and a young man, Takuya, watching helplessly.
Stepping back, we're introduced to Hizuru Oborozuki who is in the middle of an inline skate race between different school clubs. She makes a brilliant last minute move to give her the lead, but bobbles just before the end and loses. She's met by her friend Ichigo, a young woman who, for unknown reasons, never speaks. She does use her cell phone to type out text messages, though, and displays a playful, teasing personality.
Hizuru is a figure skater at her high school with lots of talent by no confidence. She loses because she doesn't care enough to win. She's introduced to Takuya Hijou, an extraordinarily arrogant young musical genius. He's been tapped to write the music for her next routine. The two take an immediate dislike to each other. However, when she hears his music, something clicks inside her and she's able to skate to her potential for once. They're inturrupted when a monstrous demon crashes into the rink. It's trying to kill Hizuru. Takuya changes the music he's playing, and the resultant sound gives Hizuru the power to destroy the demon.
Later, when confronting Takuya about what's going on, they're inturrupte by another demon, this one having kidnapped Ichigo who was spying on the couple. A small angel who has been with Takuya all this time, explains that the seal that has seperated the Dark from the Light is weakening, and it's up to Hizuru and Takuya to stop it. Takuya is without an instrument to create the music Hizuru needs to fight the demon, but discovers Ichigo's cell phone on the ground. Using the tones from the phone, he improvises music, and Hizuru transforms. Her new powers allow her to destroy the demon and rescue Ichigo.
Later, in the school's infirmary, we're introduced to Coach Minamida, the beautiful woman who coaches the figure skating team. Hizuru and Minamida have a friendship that predates Hizuru's acceptance to the school, and they are very close. The coach has a crush on another member of the faculty, which Hizuru uses to get her to leave so she talk to Takuya. Despite everything that's happened, she has no desire to save the world. She only fought the day before to save her friend Ichigo. Now that Ichigo is safe, Hizuru wants out. The demons have other plans, though.Comments
Only two volumes long, the first volume doesn't waste any time getting the story in gear. The story is well paced, if not terribly original. Hizuru is the reluctant fighter with the ability to save the world, and Takuya is an arrogant genius who is there to provide romantic tension.
Haruhiko Mikimoto is a brilliant artist who's best known for the character designs to Macross. His style is almost abstract, employing multiple thin lines to define characters. The action flashes past the reader in a blur of lines and screentones. While it can be difficult to grasp everything you're seeing, the pay off is some gorgeous, appealing imagery.
Tokyopop's art reproduction is adequate, but only just. Too much moiring of screentones tends to diminish the impact of the art. Jim Krueger's English adaptation reads well, allowing the reader to understand the story easily without being intrusive. A nice extra is a very informative 6 page interview with Sukehiro Tomita and Haruhiko Mikimoto. The cover is a striking image of a nude Hizuru who appears to be transforming partway between and angel and a demon, with wings and talons. The back cover has a nice image of Hizuru and Ichigo in their school uniforms. The color is especially impressive, looking almost like water colors.
While the story isn't very original, it is well paced and told. The art is very good, and at only two volumes long, it's easy to justify buying Baby Birth just for the art.