Dark Edge Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Sunday, November 06, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yu Aikawa
Translated by:Lindsey Johnston
Adapted by:

What They Say
Furthering their attempts to uncover the terrors of Yotsuji Private High School, Takagi and troop plan a strategy to trap zombies in the school basement. But even the best laid plans are subject to fail, and when they discover betrayal, eyes turn to Takagi himself.

The Review
If you are in the Halloween spirit and in the mood for a teen slasher style of manga, Dark Edge should be a title that will satisfy and entertain.

The cover artwork is the same as the original Japanese tankoubon release, with the logo changed a bit even though it was already in English. The logo actually seems to flow with the cover artwork much better with this English version. The print reproduction is pretty average; there is a little fading but the big problem is that the pages are a bit thin, leading to tones coming through the back sides. The book itself is also quite rigid, make it hard to bend back the book enough to see the bits near the spine. There are chapter headers, character profile inserts, and a map at the back of the book that summarizes events.

The character designs feature a lot of the long, lanky arms and legs with wide bodies and an abundance of hair. The boys are drawn up in the bishounen vein while the girls are busty with waists that are thinner than their necks. The backgrounds are great, featuring really nice, clean line and tone work. Again, this really helped out some of the scenes with the horror aspect of the story, increasing the tension with the closed-in perspectives.

SFX are translated, either by overlays or by placing an English equivalent next to the original. I don’t care for this style of subbing, since the English text is usually just as big as the Japanese, creating more clutter. Thankfully, there are not a lot of SFX in this title.

The translation job is better this time around as far as spelling and grammar mistakes go. I still feel the adaptation of the dialogue was a bit flat and too literal in spots. It became unintentionally funny each time I read “evil genes”. There has got to be a better way to translate that without it sounding so corny every time.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
There is something quite enjoyable about playing the role of voyeur with a bunch of teenage kids are running for their lives from monsters and other denizens of the horror world. Franchises like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and countless other teen scream slasher flicks made a killing with this theme. It’s not high art, but in the right frame of mind it is devilishly fun. I’d encourage you to get in this frame of mind before reading this title, as doing so increased my enjoyment of it quite a bit.

With the help from Mao Toyama and Takagi’s “demon familiar”, that little talking imp he carries in his pocket, Takagi and crew escape from the clutches of Okamoto and the other zombies of the school for a second time. Mao Toyama is one who knows quite a bit about how to fight these undead, and see seems to live at the school as well as know about Takagi’s father—who still have not had their reunion. After escaping, Akasaka rallies the troops to go back once again after sunset to get their revenge on Tsuchiya, the vampire that turned Okamoto into the brain-dead zombie that she is today. With a good plan drawn out before hand, they begin their third attack in what is their school take-over mission—rescue the school from the clutches of the teachers!

There is a lot more action and suspense with this volume as the kids play out their attack on the school for a third time. God bless the kids and their gung-ho attitudes for going back to the school at sunset AGAIN. They actually come up with a decent plan to lure the zombies and trap Tsuchiya. Of course it involves narrow hallways, unexpected locked doors, dark rooms, and trap doors. It plays the standard slasher elements here with good success, as I was definitely engaged with the story the entire time. The humor is still there, whether it is intentional or not, which maintains a nice balance with the more horror aspects. Some of the lines are very well delivered, like when Akasaka has finally had enough and remarks, with her middle finger extended, “I’m sick of people trying to kill me and tie me up…!!”. Well I’m not sick of it yet, so you’ll have to hang in there.

It could be the Halloween season or my sick need to watch people run for their lives in true slasher movie form, but Dark Edge continues to be a title that just hits the right spots. Nosferatu, zombies, demons, graveyards, good looking boys, busty girls, and those darn “evil genes”, they are all fun pieces to this horror comedy that is not to be taken seriously, but instead is a way to please my voyeuristic side as I watch and see which teen will survive. It can be a bit corny and eye-rollingly obvious at times, but that’s why we like these types of stories, right? The suspense is good, the comedy is silly and well-placed; it’s a title that is nice to relax and have fun with.

Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: DrMaster
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 208
ISBN: 1-58899-040-0
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left