Mahoromatic Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, November 11, 2004
Release Date: Thursday, July 01, 2004
Writer/Artist:Story/Art: Bunjuro Nakayama, Bow Ditama
Translated by:Jeremiah Bourque / English Adaptation: Anna Wenger
What They Say
When suguru, Mahoro and company set off to the beach, they get sand kicked in their faces by a giant crab battle robot. The cloud crab has a screw loose, and wants to turn the female sunbathers into a topless crowd! Well, Mahoro, ever willing dive into the thick of danger, tightens up the straps of her bikini and vows to make crabmeat out of this robotic crustacean!
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The heartwarming story of a boy and his alien-fighting combat android maid continues with a trip to the beach. Suguru, Mahoro, Shikijo-sensei and all the rest decide to get some sun. It's Mahoro's first trip to the beach, and she's loving it. Unfortunately, their enjoyment is disturbed by a giant crab robot that's trying to strip all the girls naked. The crab is a combat robot, but something's gone wrong with it's programming and everyone on the beach is in danger if it ever comes to it's senses. Mahoro is forced to fight it, but it's actually Suguru who helps her defeat it in the end.
In the next chapter, the members of Vesper, Mahoro's creators, are reading a letter from her, describing a typical day at the Misato household. most of which is an hilarious diatribe against Shikijo-sensei.
AFterwards, Mahoro accompanies Suguru and the guys on a ghost hunting trip to the school at night. What they find isn't what they expect.
Next, the beautiful Rin is accosted by a panty-thieving ninja. Mahoro is also victimized, but this time, the thief has stolen the wrong pair of panties.
In the final chapter, everyone goes to the summer festival, which makes for some great moments between Mahoro and Shikijo-sensei, as well as some much more tender moments between Mahoro and Suguru.
Mahoromatic is the manga upon which Gainax based their popular anime. Mahoro is a lot of fun simply because Mahoro isn't perfect. She can cook, clean and keep house better than just about anyone, but she's also got a short temper and doesn't allow Suguru to have any girlie mags, which he calls his treasures. The bigger problem, though, are Mohoro's two big secrets: she only has a short amount of time to live, and she was involved in the death of Suguru's father, which left Suguru orphaned. It's her guilt that drove her to assume the position of maid in his house after her retirement from combat duty. These two secrets also add a surprising amount of gravity to what is otherwise a simple maid story with plenty of nudity.
Bow Ditama's art is simple yet very effective. There is very little background detail, giving each page a spare feeling, and focusing the readers attention more on the characters themselves. Fortunately, his characters are more than up to the task of holding the reader's attention. Character designs are cute and sexy, with great expressions. He also likes to use small panels of receding size to emphasize certain gags that works surprisingly well.
This volume introduces a new character in Slash, a support mech who was a combat partner of Mahoro's in her military days. He's a large black panther with a no-nonsense air about him, and he makes a great foil for Mahoro's sometimes prissy attitude.
One of the more interesting things about Anna Wenger's adaptation is the retainment of several untranslated words of Japanese, such as "ecchi" (naughty) and "hai" (a general purpose word that means "yes" among other things). It can seem a little odd at times, but one quickly becomes accustomed to it. The bigger problem is that far too much of the background text is left untranslated. For example, page 66 has a large kanji character above several members of the Vesper council, as well as a large panel with a lot of sound effects with no translation of what you're supposed to be hearing. The kanji character means "breast" and the sound effects are a large roar of applause and cheering, but since you can't see it, you'd never know it. Tokyopop needs to do better in this regard. I shouldn't need to consult my kanji dictionary to read a book that's supposed to be translated into English.
The cover retains the art from the Japanese release. The front has Mohoro flipping a pancake with Suguru's face on it, and the back has chibi images of Mahoro working hard, as well as Chizuko playing drums with her rice bowls and Shikijo-sensei getting good and drunk. The front and back covers use an interesting mix of matte and gloss finish to make the book stand out ever more. The first four pages of the book are in color. It's not all the color pages there are supposed to be, but it's better than most titles from Tokyopop. The extras include a couple of pages of character info and two pages of extra art that obviously should have been in color.
I enjoy Mahoromatic for it's unique blend of blatant fanservice and impending drama. The countdown of days Mahoro has left to her at the end of each chapter is heartbreaking, even in the midst of so much sexy humor. I recommend it.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: C+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left