Suki (aka: Suki, Dakara Suki) Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Writer/Artist:Ohkawa Nanase & Nekoi Mick (CLAMP)
Translated by:Ray Yoshimoto
What They Say
Hinata Asahi is the happiest girl you'd ever hope to meet. What's most remarkable is that she's kept that upbeat personality after having been the victim of multiple kidnappings. Ever since her new homeroom teacher, Shiro Asou, moved in next door, Hina's all but forgetting her traumatic past - after all, she's in love with Asou-sensei! But when your dad is as wealthy as Hina's is, the threat of kidnapping doesn't go away... And it's about to catch up with Hina one last time...
Released in June, the final volume of CLAMP's Suki shows the struggles of like/love. Personally this is one TOKYOPOP title that I can say I truly fell in love with. I wonder if anyone else has the same feeling.
The cover is taken from the original version used by Kadokawa Shoten. The front cover features Asahi Hinata with teddy bears Waka and Tono. The front cover like the art on the back are framed with a checkerboard print. The back cover has a small image of Hinata and Asou Shiro sitting on a couch. Both images are bright with full of bright colors keeping the feel of the original version for Kadokawa Shoten. Unlike the original this volume does not have a matted cover, instead this features a thatched finish. Pretty cool.
Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... the logo is cute and original. The "s" in Suki is framed in a rectangle in a contrasting color than the "uki." It's okay but with my attachment to the original title "Suki. Dakara Suki" I cannot say I enjoy it. TP keeps the little bear faces that hold volume and chapter counters. Cute!
The printing is strange. While the chapter headers are always light. There are a few pages where there are alignment issues but they are usually only a pair of millimeters top or bottom.
This volume features an additional volume header (a new two-page image of Hinata and Asou-sensei in class), as well as the artist credits that were featured inside the dust jackets for the original versions (I am really happy to see TP add this as I am sure some readers would like to know which CLAMP members did what on this project). After the CLAMP credits there are ads for: Wish, D.N. Angel, Forbidden Dance, and Princess Ai.
Nekoi's art is my CLAMP favorite. Her lines are thin and long but her shapes are not quite as extreme. I love her soft subtle eyes which give the expressions more emphasis on the emotions these characters struggle with. Backgrounds are nice and the layout while pretty simple really works well with the pace and flow of this series.
Presented in a tall B6 Suki is right to left like the original (the original size is a shinsho). SFX are not translated.
The translation is very good. There are only a few occasions where text was added to the original dialogue, and nearly everything seemed spot on from my comparison. I liked that TP kept the honorifics and kept in some cultural nuances as well. TP really had a tough job on their hands with this one. Suki has quite a few songs to translate which can be at times impossible to translate and make sound good, but TP pulled it off. Unlike previous volumes this final GN has as close to a perfect translation and adaptation, I applaud TOKYOPOP for their excellent work on this throughout the series. Great job.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Some people, because their family's status, are considered commodities. Certain groups take advantage of these people for comfort, as they may feel themselves at ease amongst people like this. Others use these people for their own advancement. The need for publicity, prestige or financial gain can make people do horrible things if the situation calls for it.
Asahi Hinata has gone through this for most of her life. Her family has tried to protect her, but as she grew up Hinata decided to live on her own to show how well she could take care of herself. This has proven to mixed results as she is not as mature as others her age in regards to relationships and trust, but then this young lady has become quite self-sufficient, confident and strong in other ways.
With the arrival of a new neighbor/teacher, Asou Shiro, Hinata quickly started to grow emotionally, experiencing some of the joys and troubles that come with close friendships. Soon she will be put to the test, as those closest to her will be challenging her feelings.
Let us not forget the other character in this series, Asou Shiro. His profession prohibits him from getting too close. Relationships like that could compromise his judgment and with someone like Hinata under his watch there is little room for error. Yet, he has changed. Hinata and his old friends, Namiya and Kizu, have started to open his heart again. This may not be good for work but there is no doubt that is good for his heart. So when actions to kidnap Hinata begin to intensify, Shiro can hardly maintain his cover as the teacher that appeared to be everything Hinata wanted. The motivations of others have forced him to do his job, no matter how much it might hurt Hinata.
When her friend Eimi is conspiring in this kidnapping her emotions start to struggle. She knows Eimi's family is having trouble, there is good reason for them to do this as hard as that may be to accept, but when Eimi informs her of Asou's true identity Hinata is starts to doubt her memories with Asou. Even with him rescuing her and Eimi, this sudden unknown relationship with the person she "liked" is hard to ignore.
Hinata's gentle nature may seem naive but she has matured quite a bit. It does not take much for her quickly forgive Eimi (kidnapping), Touko (sharing confidential information), Namiya and Kizu (covering up Asou's identity) for all they have done. But now she was left to judge for herself what she felt her time with Asou meant to her. This is something that can be difficult for anyone with experience with relationships and "love" but to someone learning what "love" is it can be hard to completely understand. Yet after getting a little perspective and coming to terms with her true feelings there is no doubt... She loves him. She wants to know more about him. She wants to know what he feels for her. Most importantly, she does not care what he chooses (about her or his life), she loves him for who he is.
She might "like" that in the end he really cares for her (like or love), as well.
Everyone might not agree about how CLAMP went about it, but I love their results. Through adversity the leads had to come to terms with their feelings of love/like to eventually decide whether to shut down or open up accepting one's memories and experiences for what they were... acts of friendship and affection. The difference of love and like is different for everyone, but in the end it all falls with one's feelings and these two realize that in the end.
CLAMP in this short series takes their readers through the steps of love through the eyes of two who are learning to love - one who have never loved like this before and another who learns to love again. The story is a common one with themes most of CLAMP's readers can relate to, but with a few unique concepts (kidnappings and forbidden love) this story gives a fresh take on a love/like story and creates a new style to CLAMP shojo as well. In my opinion, when this was released this was their best work by far. It is everything I "like" in a love story and CLAMP's unique style made it something I love, and with a solid presentation from TOKYOPOP only makes this a must buy for everyone looking for CLAMP love/like.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left