Electric Hands (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, March 04, 2010
Release Date: Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Don't let the gawky title story be a deterrent. There's some good material here - for the right reader!
Writer/Artist: Taishi Zaou
Translation: Ken Wakita
Adaptation: Ken Wakita
What They Say
Introducing seven heart-pounding, electric stories by Taishi Zaou, collected here for the first time!
This volume is comprised of early works by Taishi Zaou and given the copious amounts of commentary that accompany the stories, it's difficult to make any criticism of the work that Zaou has not made herself. In "Electric Hands", the art and layout are uneven, although what seems to be poor panel flow may just be a reflection of the poor story momentum. The pages pick up in vitality in the following stories, but Zaou still doesn't quite merge her character types in a consistent and distinctive style, and attempts at defining a new type become painfully obvious. (Check out Takami in "Love Play". Zaou delivers proportion better than that. It looks as if the brawny type evades her here.) The Doki Doki presentation format is spare, yet printing standards still maintain good quality. Sfx are subbed. As mentioned previously, there is mangaka commentary that is a significant feature of this volume.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I'll come right out with it - the first two stories in this volume, "Electric Hands" and "Electric Hands II" are not very good. While I don't think the artwork is as undeveloped as Taishi Zaou claims, this first work takes a rather slender premise and drags it out until it's pointless. But unbeknownst to the reader at the time, there is a glimmer of hope in the form of a very minor character who, with a fairly major personality change, becomes the lead character in what is the first in a series of stories involving Taishi Zaou's predilection for 12 year old semes. Zaou's modifications on this theme make for fun reading.
Otsuka kun, who as a classmate of Fujino and Takie of "Electric Hands" always exhorted them to remember "time, place and occasion" when cavorting in the classroom, now takes on a sad backstory in "Otsuka-kun's Stress". Otsuka's working, widowed mother has left the care of household to Otsuka who also works a part time job to help with household income. When his mother announces that she will marry her boss, Otsuka extends an invitation to Aki, the doe-eyed twelve year old son of his new step-father, to think of him as an older brother and Aki shyly accepts. Complications ensue when another younger brother finally makes his appearance, the fifteen-year-old-and-looking-all-of twenty Yuki. Otuski is sorely tested and his notion of brotherly love seems to have a different meaning for Aki and Yuki.
And "it's deja vu all over again" with "Love Play", although the change ups are pretty amusing and show just how this mangaka can successfully remake her types into new constructions. Both chapters of "Don't Speak and Seduce with Your Eyes" keep to the established theme of the sexually precocious younger seme with a small amount of graphic sexuality at the finale. Not as lively as the previous stories, for Zaou isn't going for the irony of the situation, the quiet pace allows some seriousness to take hold. This is very appropriate for the sexual scenes that close out the story.
As an adjunct to this collection of similarly themed stories, Taishi Zaou provides a generous amount of commentary through short chapters interspersed throughout the book. More than an afterword (and there is one of those, also), these chapters inform the works and let the reader in on the mangaka's thought process, reflection and reevaluation. For those readers who appreciate the how and why, these chapters will be as entertaining as any story.
Some readers will find the stories a little tepid for their tastes, if not redundant. The real interest here is a theme in transition and the reflections of the creator on it, something ably illustrated by entertaining short stories.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Electric Hands