Here is Greenwood Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, February 04, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Translated by:William Flanagan
What They Say
The head resident of Greenwood dorm, Mitsuru Ikeda, has been kidnapped by men dressed in black wearing dark glasses and riding in a jet-black expensive car! But standing right next to him when he was kidnapped was cute, girlish Shun Kisaragi, the child of a wealthy and powerful company president! Why would anyone kidnap Mitsuru, whose favorite meal is whatever is on next-door dormmate Kazuya Hasukawa's plate? And why is Shun the only one who seems to care that Mitsuru is gone?
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Mitsuru being kidnapped at the end of the first volume, volume 2 starts out with a bang. Mitsuru's been kidnapped by a beautiful mysterious lady who is all too familiar with him, despite the fact he has no idea who she is. Back at the dorm, the girlish Shun, composed Shinobu, and perpetually put-upon Kazuya try to figure out what to do. Ironically, once we learn who the woman is, and why she's kidnapped Mitsuru, she becomes a very sympathetic character, which is perhaps not what author Yukie Nasu intended.
With everything resolved, it's time for a side story about tall, handsome farmer boy Tatsurou Fujikake, and cute, delicate Yoshiki Watanabe, describing how they became the dorm's only official "couple."
Summer comes to Greenwood, and thanks to some free tickets from Kazuya's sister-in-law, he, Shun, Mitsuru and Shinobu all head out to a public swimming pool. The story is really all about the life-guard and his fascination with Shun, who does not look at all like the guy he actually is.
Once again, Kazuya has decided to stay at the dorm during the summer break, while Shun has returned home. Mitsuru has family business to attend to, and leaves Kazuya as head-resident in his absence. Naturally, it wouldn't be Greenwood if everything ran smoothly. A young girl is found in one of the empty dormrooms, and Kazuya is stuck with the responsibility. He quickly figures out this girl is actually Shun's younger brother who has run away from home. When Shun returns to bring his little brother home, his mollycoddling enrages Kazuya, and leads to one of the greatest and funniest monologues on brotherhood I've ever read in a manga.
As with the first volume, the humor of Here is Greenwood is what catches my interest first. It's strange, yet it works brilliantly. The constant asides from background characters, the narration, and constant breaking of the fourth wall by Nasu make me laugh out loud. She even deftly side-steps the issue that it's their second summer at the academy, even while acknowledging they're still first years. The basic foursome of Kazuya, Shun, Mitsuru and Shinobu all work great together. The first couple of chapters that deal with the kidnapping do tend to make Shinobu a far less sympathetic character, but there is enough of a chink in his armor that he doesn't become overwhelmingly unlikable. Still, just like Kazuya, I wouldn't mind seeing him brought down a peg. But unlike Kazuya, I know that's a forlorn hope. Nasu's artwork is clean and sharp. She uses outlines instead of shading for a lot of the shadows in facial features, which can look a bit odd at times. Her linework is excellent, making everything look distinct and giving many scenes a real "pop" to them.
Viz has a good reputation for the quality of their manga, but this one was just a notch below what I usually expect from them. The reproduction of some screentones showed heavy moiring, which was quite noticeable. Also, I noticed a couple of typos in the text. Otherwise, it's up their usual standards. Nasu's fine linework is reproduced well, and nothing looks too dark or light. The English adaptation by William Flanagan reads very smoothly, with plenty of great lines and jokes that work right. Nothing stands out as forced or obviously americanized. The cover features Kazuya and Mitsuru, who's spilling playing cards. Noticeable are Shinobu as the Joker and Shun as the Queen of Diamonds. The back cover has Shinobu in a three-piece suit and Shun in a very feminine looking tux vest and long red gloves, both holding drinks. The main color of both covers is a pale green, much like the first volume, and in keeping with the title of the book. There is a page of useful translator's notes in the back, as well as small, helpful editorial comments in the book where they'll do most good, explaining several key points. All sound effects are translated and retouched into English, my preferred way of handling the sound effects issue. It all looks good and appropriate and is much appreciated.
Here is Greenwood makes me laugh out loud. Kazuya reminds me of Godai from Maison Ikkoku. Both are constantly harassed by the people they live with. But Kazuya has no romantic intentions about any of the people he lives with. Instead, it's just his daily battle to keep his sanity and dignity against overwhelming odds. But what a glorious battle it is!
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left