Cipher Vol. #04 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: CMX
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-4012-0805-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Cipher

Cipher Vol. #04

By Ron Quezon     May 20, 2008
Release Date: July 05, 2006

Cipher Vol.#04

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Minako Narita
Translated by:Jonathan Tarbox
Adapted by:Jonathan Tarbox

What They Say
Twin celebrities Cipher and Siva and their young friend Anise move back to familiar surroundings, but their relationship moves into unknown territory. They return to New York just in time for Anise to return to school and celebrate her 16th birthday. Cipher sees the obvious signs that Anise is growing up, but his feelings for her are not so clear.

The Review
The busy summer in sunny California is drawing to a close for Cipher, Siva, and Anise. The boys are finishing up with the movie shoot and now it's time to start another year of high school. Just as Anise settles into her junior year, things are abuzz when Siva comes back on campus. He's the talk of all the girls at school, and even Anise's best friend Ruth takes note. However, Anise is preoccupied with other things namely her sixteenth birthday.

Anise is quite ambivalent about her party coming up. She's always been the tomboy. Now the idea of wearing a fancy dress and wearing makeup is letting her feminine side come out. She's all the more anxious when she thinks about Cipher and Siva dressing up for her party. Anise only has two dresses in her entire wardrobe. It's her party that starts her wondering if she should make some clothing additions.

After the party, the life only gets more complicated for Anise. First, Anise meets Molly, a new student and big Siva fan! Molly comes across as wanting more than just to watch Siva. Second, Cipher is starting to spend a lot more time at Anise's house. He's restoring his '57 Chevy in Anise's garage. When he needed a place to fix up his car, it didn't take much for Anise to convince her dad. Unfortunately when their date goes turns into a fight, Anise finds herself in an awkward position as Cipher continues come over.

Will Anise and Cipher patch things up? Who's Molly and how close will she get to the twins? The boys have joined at the hip for a long time now. How is Siva dealing with Cipher's new desire for independence?

Volume 4 of Cipher centers on Anise, as we see more of her past and a lot more of her anxieties come to light. This volume starts off slow, but by Anise's birthday party the angst could not be higher. Minako Narita ping pongs Anise's and Cipher's feelings for each other and still weaves in Molly and Ruth. Suddenly the typical shojo love triangle becomes a love trapezoid, sprinkled with a few goodnight kisses between brothers.

There are a couple plot details that could be expanded on. Why Anise's dad would offer his garage up to Cipher still doesn't make sense. He barely knows Cipher. Additionally, Anise's potential rivalry with Molly goes nowhere. Molly is introduced, but just as quickly she drops into the background.

As for most of the series, Minako Narita does not shy away from difficult growing up issues. Anise's never cared that much about her appearance, but now she has reason to. Anise's fight with Cipher stems from her new sense of modesty. When she realizes that she and Ruth are rivals (at least in Ruth's eyes), Anise opens up about her past to Ruth. Anise and her mom talk openly about divorce and its ramifications. Additionally, though there is no explicit drug use, drugs are shown and it is heavily suggested.

Extras include original printing of offers for dojinshi from the author and her staff. I was a bit disappointed that these offers are no longer available. However, I am glad that CMX remained faithful to the original Japanese to include them in the translation.


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