St. Dragon Girl Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Shifting gears and moving into longer, more involved stories does the series a lot of good. Could this be the turning point?
Writer/Artist: Natsumi Matsumoto
Translation: Andria Chang
Adaptation: Heidi Vivilo
What They Say
Momoka's dragon takes on the form of a beautiful man and warns Ryuga and Momoka of dangers facing the Kou family. But the dragon also has something else in mind--he wants Momoka to become his mate! Can Ryuga compete against a dragon for Momoka's affections?
This volume of St. Dragon Girl would have stuck out to me for no other reason than that I've never seen so many sidebar notes from the author in a volume of manga before. Many of them are the usual space-fillers, but one in particular caught my eye. It contained the important nugget of information that St. Dragon girl, at this point in its life, became a regular monthy series in a manga magazine. Of course. That explains it all. Now I see the reason for the other way this volume stuck out from the rest: it's still kind of episodic, but there's a much better progression to the story now, and a decent beginning to an overall plot regarding the Kou family intrigues. The series is much the better for it.
One more of the big changes that the serialization brings is that there's now room for more recurring characters. St. Dragon Girl loses no time in expanding its roster. Most of the new characters are presented as romantic rivals for the two leads - usually on a temporary basis or for comic relief - but there are a couple that look like they might be in it for the long haul. My favourite of the lot: the voodo girl fixated on Ryuga. She's the best comic relief character so far. But the real draw is the story, and that's getting better by the minute. The series is still doing a lot of the things it did before. There's still plenty of martial arts and magic, and if my memory of the earlier volumes isn't deserting me, this time we have more Chinese costumery than ever. But all of it is being fitted into a much larger and more developed framework designed (let's hope) to support longer and more interesting sets of stories.
St. Dragon Girl is a manga that I found a lot of things to like in; but it felt like something was holding it back, preventing it from growing into the kind of series it should be. But it seems that serialization has allowed the story to spread its wings - and perhaps even the characters to spread theirs. The plot seems to be going somewhere now. There's even a pretty good supernatural action climax to wind up the volume. I wasn't as impressed as I wanted to be with the first couple of books. This one, however, started to show me the St. Dragon Girl that was popular enough to warrant a sequel. I'll look forward to seeing what it can do from now on.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: St. Dragon Girl