Marmalade Boy Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Release Date: Saturday, June 01, 2002
Translated by:Jack Niida
What They Say
Miki's boy troubles spill onto the tennis court in the second volume of Marmalade Boy. Hotheaded Ginta loses his doubles partner to an injury and his rival Yuu is the only one with the skills to fill in. Which player should Miki support when she likes them both? Things get more complicated after Yuu's old girlfriend shows up in hopes of renewed romance. When tennis doubles turn into love triangles, Yuu and Ginta must keep love out of the game before love becomes their score.
Tokyopop's gone with a pretty blue cover here, showcasing a picture of Miki in a dress set against a background of wildflowers. The logo is above the photo and the volume number, cleverly tucked inside a jar, to the left. I like the way they framed the artwork, since it allows you to see the entire picture without text covering it. The back is the same blue with wildflowers added, and the spine is the old TOKYOPOP yellow, with a small logo above the title.
Yoshizumi does not deviate from the style used in the first volume, and there's nothing special added to it either. The action scenes pick up, as the boys engage in the tennis tournament, but a lot more attention is paid to the character's facial expressions rather than the tennis action itself. It's fun to read through and pick up Yuu's cocky mood from the saucy smile he wears to the sheer panic on Tsutomu's face when he realizes he's in trouble during the match. These expressions is what Yoshizumi does best, with one of my favorite pictures being that of Arimi with a small, happy smile. The reproduction is done well, but I found out the hard way that the pages do yellow if exposed to sunlight too long.
This is the early days of TOKYOPOP, so the SFX is translated. An unusual move that editor Jake Forbes tried during this phase was incorporating random bits of Japanese text into the writing. Forbes, as he mentioned in a recent manga forum post, said that he had just come off of editing Smile magazine and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The first time I saw Miki say, "Baka" to Yuu, I grinned. But, as I kept reading through the book, the random Japanese words jarred me more and more. What would have helped was footnotes explaining what the words mean. Sometimes, it was hard to pick up their meaning from the text. While it was advanced at the time, it's a practice that I'm glad that TOKYOPOP did not keep up with. Like with ADV Manga's tendencies to keep large chunks of kana and kanji in the panel with its translation, the effect of the random romanized Japanese terms disrupted the flow of reading. However, I applaud Forbes for trying. Not many would test the waters lik!
One thing that I did love about the text translation was the footnotes added with information about tennis. These, combined with hilarious author's notes at the end of the book from Yoshizumi, helped me to understand a lot more about tennis.
Review (please note that contents of a review may contain spoilers):
The pace keeps going from the first volume, as the love...mess, for lack of better term, continues to establish itself.
Right now, you have Miki with a crush on Yuu, Ginta with a crush on Miki, Arimi with a crush on Yuu and Yuu...well, we're not quite sure what Yuu thinks. He does his best to remain uninvolved emotionally, while sending mixed signals to Miki at the same time. So, in essence, nothing changes from the first book.
The majority of the volume centers around a tennis match with Sakaki High School and the introduction of Ginta's cousin, Rokutanda. This arc serves little but to force Ginta and Yuu to work together to beat Rokutanda's team, as Yuu is essentially drafted onto the tennis team to fill an empty spot. It provides plenty of comedy moments, especially between Ginta and Rokutanda, and a lot of Miki angst. One of the cuter moments of the match is Miki and Arimi cheering together, and it makes me wonder if circumstances were different if they could be better friends. There's also hints of chemistry between Arimi and Ginta here - especially as Arimi decides to use this for her advantage.
The best parts of the book is the introduction of a storyline that will come back later on. Yuu, trying to escape, stumbles across Meiko and Na-chan in an intimate embrace in the library. The relationship itself is taboo, but it's also intriguing. I wonder how Meiko, a proper young lady who doesn't seem to have a particular interest in boys, fell in love with her teacher - and he for her. The interesting part about this is that Na-chan does reciprocate Meiko's feelings, and it's obvious that he cares about her. However, he doesn't come off as a lech. I'm looking forward to seeing the story unfold between them.
The pacing in this volume is significantly faster than the anime in my opinion. The anime tended to draw out Miki's angsting a bit more, while the manga shifts the action around to the other characters at a quicker pace. However, I do miss the original premise behind the series - the two families whose parents swap partners. We only see them at the end of the book. With a series that's so heavily marketed on this concept, I wish we could see more of Miki and Yuu's family life and less of their high school life.
Marmalade Boy keeps the pace going in this volume, but we really get nowhere. The relationships are pretty much the same, though Arimi is going to try a risky move to get Yuu jealous of her. Even though nothing changes much, this is still a good story to curl up with and read during an afternoon when you have nothing to do. The storyline between Meiko and Na-chan really has me intrigued and looking forward to the third volume - and the book does end on a good cliffhanger as Yuu and Miki are left home alone.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left