BB Explosion (aka: Hajikete BB) Vol. #01 -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59116-384-6
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

BB Explosion (aka: Hajikete BB) Vol. #01

By Megan Lavey     May 09, 2004
Release Date: March 01, 2004

BB Explosion (aka: Hajikete BB) Vol.#01
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yasue Imai
Translated by:Kaori Inoue
Adapted by:

What They Say
For star-struck teenagers living in Okinawa, the first step to fame and fortune is an appearance on an American Idol-like TV show called Boom Boom. If they can wangle their way onto this weekly program, they have a shot at becoming Japan?s next big thing.

But first, these pop-star wannabes must enroll in the big city?s actor?s school where competition between classmates is spirited and ruthless!

With the help of her guardian angel, a gargoyle-like statue named Cesar, little Airi begins taking classes at the school. One way or another, she?s going to make her dreams come true!

The Review
I very rarely pick up manga on the sly. Like with anime, I do some research before picking up a title, even if it?s just to see how long it is or what genre it is. With a lot of manga, I always hear some sort of advanced hype, but not with this title. So when I happened to flip through B.B. Revolution in the store the other day, it was taking a risk for me. It?s a risk I?m very glad I took.

Packaging: The cover features a full cover picture of Airi, Yu and Yumi with the logo at the very top. The green bars with the Viz genre and author name are in lime green. Oddly enough, this works for the front. The lime green is used for the back, which I?m not too big of a fan of. I would prefer the same shade of light blue that was used on the spine. A picture of chibi Airi and Cesar appear under the jacket blurb.

Now it?s time for Megsie-chan?s logo check!

B.B. Explosion is actually in a pretty simple font, with the B.B. an aqua color and the Explosion in yellow. A drop shadow and a small outline are added. It?s pretty simple and fits the bouncy mood of this series.

Artwork: This seems to be the typical shoujo-style artwork. The girls are very pretty with large, luminous eyes. The guys are pretty cute, but not cute enough to make you melt in a puddle of drool as I?ve seen in other shoujo manga. Airi is really very pretty and, as expected, a lot of the gorgeous pieces in the work center around her. Sometimes, I?m find some of the artwork with her going spastic tries a little too hard to be like Kodocha.

Orientation/SFX: Unflipped and translated.

Text: This is a solid translation. I had to laugh over Airi?s acquired nickname from Yu at the beginning of the book. A special treat at the end of the book is a full page letter from Trina Robbins, who does the English adaptation of the series. She explained how she became a fan of shoujo manga and started working at Viz. I really liked this behind the scenes look at a key member of the staff working on this translation. You can feel their enthusiasm for the title pumping through it and it comes across in the text as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Before I started reading this volume, a forum member pointed out how this book seemed to be similar to Kodocha. Well, he?s right. It is similar to Kodocha, but it quickly develops its own style as well.

Airi Ishikawa is your typical, high-energy sixth grader. Her favorite TV show is called ?Boom Boom,? an American Idol-like show that airs in Okinawa prefecture. It features the students from the Okinawa Actor?s School that has churned out recent hit stars (such as Namie Amuro. I recognized her name because she sings the seventh ED for Inuyasha, ?Come.?) When Airi sees an audition for the school, she is determined to go so she could meet her favorite member, Issa, from the boy band, Da Pimp.

So Airi defies parental orders and heads off to the audition where she meets Yu Yamada, a fellow tryout, and Anna Makino, the dance instructor. Airi seems almost like a fish out of water and thinking that she?s blown it, she sings and dances her own way. To her shock, she?s accepted into the school along with Yu. The even bigger surprise...she finds out she actually wants to sing and dance rather than meet her idol.

Now Airi?s education begins, the first step being to convince her parents to let her attend the school. She has a somewhat overprotective father, a typical mother and a little brother who doesn?t like her yanking him from the TV. Airi has to find her own inner light. Through the rest of this volume, she does so by facing jealously and her father?s opposition and a new friend in Yumi Kochi. She starts to learn that she can?t run away and that she must face her problems. So Airi starts to grow up...

So far, the series has kept me hooked. Airi is energetic, but not quite as over the top as Sana from Kodocha. There?s also plenty of angst as she worries over her father?s restrictions on her and her own ability to become a star. She also still has a major crush on Issa, who treats her as the child she is. But, as the volume goes by, you learn there?s a reason why Issa is so hard on Airi.

The standout for this is the relationship between Airi and her father. Even though she took a drastic approach to proving how badly she wants to be an idol. She knows she has nothing to lose by doing what she did and it turned out to work in her favor. Not every parent is so understanding. But it is nice to see the relationship between Airi and her family take center stage and that her parents aren?t single-dimension either.

The only thing that takes this out of a reality-based series is Cesar. Think of him as Kero-chan that has the ability to tell when people are going to become stars. He is only visible to people who have the potential to become stars. He?s cute and provides moral support, but he?s not really that necessary. I think the series could live without him, though he seems to give Airi a kick in the pants at the times she needs it. But he is cute...

At the end of the book, there?s a special side story about how Yumi joins the actor?s school. It?s a neat little extra and really fleshes out the older girl who doesn?t get a lot of screen time in this volume.

This title is a little too angsty and over the top at times, but it is a good story. With the popularity of series like American Idol, it?s a great insight into how the Japanese version of these star-making series work. Airi?s stubbornness and spirit really keep this work together and you can definitely tell that she matures even from the first page of the book to the last. It?s because of this spirit that I?m very interested in seeing how far Airi can go. Recommended.


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