Treasure Hunter Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 10, 2004
Release Date: Thursday, July 01, 2004
Translated by:Mayumi Kobayashi
What They Say
Jubei has been hired to find the Figurehead of Souls, a magical item that grants immeasurable power to whoever wields it. Joined by his loyal sidekick Carpet and novice adventurer Pipilotta, Jubei enters the mysterious island where his treasure lies hidden. But nobody ever said that being a Treasure Hunter was easy, and Jubei finds himself face to face against a giant art collecting toad!
We get a cover that's similar to the first one, featuring the Jubei dolls that come about later in the book. The picture is ringed with a gold frame and the logo is on top, along with the sentence "From the creator of Alien Nine." The back features a nice picture of Jubei and Carpet. The color palette used isn't what I'd care for, especially with Carpet, but it is nice to see these characters rendered in color.
This is a style that lends itself well to action scenes, one where the characters are drawn well, but not too detailed. A lot of attention is paid to the world that they're set in, and it adds to the overall fun of the series. The reproduction is okay. It's not as solid as some of the other books I've seen. This appears to be the same type of paper used by Del Ray for their books, but the blacks are not as rich as xxxHolic. In fact, I worry that some of the images will fade after too much handling.
The volume is unflipped and the SFX is subtitled. The subtitling is integrated into the art well and is unobtrusive. The volume itself is a good read and no text errors jumped out at me.
Content (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS):
While the first book had a good opening story and introduced some unique characters, the second volume of this three-book series left me feeling pretty flat.
Part of this is that I wasn't hooked with the Figurehead of Souls caper to begin with in the first book. The introduction was greatly confusing. It smoothes out in the second book to where it takes a monster-of-the-week format of sorts as Jubei battles enemy after enemy to eventually get his hands on the Figurehead. It's predictable in how it's laid out. You know that Jubei's going to get the item. It's just how he does it that leaves the reader guessing.
The book does make good use of the supporting characters, throwing the bulk of the problem-solving on them in the final battle for the Figurehead. We even see good action from Pipilotta, who was just reduced to a damsel in distress in the previous chapters. Though, I did wonder what was up with her bra. She doesn't look like she has a chest at all until the toad chapters, and then all of a sudden, she is wearing a Madonna-style bra.
There's bits of humor here and there. I enjoyed Pipilotta's moment in the sun and her efforts to become a medium and also the mother lobster searching for son #512. But other than that, I just didn't get much out of this book. A big part of it is that I just feel very neutral about Jubei himself. I don't hate him, but I don't necessarily love him either. The series isn't real big on character development - the one who gets the most is actually Pipilotta. So, it's mainly reading the adventures of a merchant trying to get his prize.
Like I mentioned in the first review, Treasure Hunter reminds me a lot of Lupin III. However, Jubei lacks the quirkiness that makes Lupin endearing. Because of this, while it's a decent adventure story, I just could not get that involved with it. It's one of those books that's good to flip through in the store, but not to buy. The exception would be if you like the secondary case. I liked Carpet and Pipilotta much better than Jubei himself. Too bad this is Pipilotta's last appearance. Oh well.
Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CPM Press
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left