Girl Got Game (aka: POWER!!) Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, February 11, 2005
Release Date: Saturday, May 01, 2004
Translated by:Aya Matsunaga
What They Say
No Harm, No Foul!
When a high school girl masquerades as a boy, plays on the boys' basketball team and even lives in the boys' dormitory, there's bound to be problems. Just ask Kyo Aizawa - she's the one living the crazy life! When her friend Tsukaya Himejima transfers to Seigyu High, she's set on playing ball with Kyo again... until she discovers that Kyo has switched sides! Will Tsukaya let Kyo's double-team disguise continue? Or will she resort to some full-court pressure to get Kyo onto the girls basketball team?
Just like previous volumes, volume three's cover features three framed character art images - each with their own color in their own drawn in panel. The cover art is surrounded by TOKYOPOP's basketball court floorboard spine. Hmm... Hideous! I am not sure if I have seen a cover that is more hideous. The back cover has the same feel but only has two pieces of character art in one color. If TP could have flipped the front with the back, I would have found nothing wrong but I still would have wondered what this series is about. "What! This is a sports romance!!??"
Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... even though the original title is in English (POWER!!!), TOKYOPOP changed the title to "Girl Got Game". Their yellow and purple logo conjures memories of the LA Lakers, but the stars give it a cutesy feel, hopefully for a younger shojo demographic.
TOKYOPOP also includes a six-page long omake manga called Girl Got Game Meeting, a message from the mangaka and ads for: GTO, Eerie Queerie, Love Hina, Shutter Box, Fruits Basket, DNAngel, Forbidden Dance and Peach Girl.
Seino's character designs are simple but fun. Her characters do not have a lot of detail but for this light-hearted romantic sports comedy it really works (but I wonder if she purposely draws all socks to look like the style of loose-socks made famous by ko-gals). Where I wish Seino would put more effort is her backgrounds. With this title having a sports theme I would have liked more detail for the courts and gyms the games/practices are held on but Seino tends to only use backgrounds sparingly leaving certain details up to the imagination of her readers. I guess it would be tough to put a lot of work into backgrounds with her hyper layout. It may work well with the comedy aspect of this title but it actually hurts the basketball, as panels are often too small or poorly positioned to present the action well.
In typical TOKYOPOP form, this GN is in right to left format and the SFX are left un-translated. I wish TP could go back and give this title (heck, all of them) a glossary like they are doing currently with select titles.
Since I have not read Kodansha's version, I am not sure how accurate the translation is, but I can say it sounds good. TOKYOPOP does not use honorifics but these characters often refer to each other with their last names which is quite common amongst high school males (I had first hand experience with this). I also noticed that TP did not translate all of the aside comments. This is annoying as they should be long past this problem, after the hundreds of volumes they have printed over the years.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It was bound to happen: someone was going to find out about Kyo's secret. Kyo should have known this would have been practically impossible to pull off, but now she will have to pay the price of deceiving so many people. I am sure everyone has seen the movies or read manga about concealing identities and they all end up bad. Unfortunately, for Kyo, that will mean making a big decision - give up on her new friends and live as a girl or fight it. Even though this was inevitable, she was never really prepared for it to end like this and now making a choice has turned out to be much more painful than she could have ever imagined.
The truth is that she should have prepared herself. If she was starting to feel for her friends at school, she could not lie to them forever. There would be a time when she needed to tell them all about her situation. However, she felt she could do that on her own terms and having that taken away from her was not only painful but it is shocking. She has made a home for herself and losing control over her life is depressing, especially since she was trying so hard to live a life that she initially did not choose but came to love. She wanted to stay with her team, her friends, and her roommate/partner Chiharu. Can she ever go back to them? How will they think about her now? Could they ever take her back? Where does she go now? Too many things to think about and she hoped she never had to go through this.
Being outed is never fun and Kyo tried to fight it with all of her might. Then again, she ended up just letting her friend take control of her life. I was bothered by this, for Kyo showed very little resistance to Tsuyaka. Tsukaya how has ruined Kyo's life, but Kyo just gave into to her. Up to now, Kyo was rather independent and has often taken the initiative to help her friends, but she cannot get her old friend to understand that she her help is not wanted and that she has her own life to live. Instead, she ends up confused and alone. That is not the Kyo I remember, but there is much more to this, than just her being outed.
Kyo's relationships have been very important to her. Actually, they are the main reason this whole issue has been so painful. She has worked hard to get them to accept her and now that she is a regular member of the team, she has lost them all. She initially feels she betrayed her friends. She has lied to them and she has failed them. Eventually, she does not know what to think as she fears they will no longer accept her if they find out her secret. This is something she wished to avoid since she started all of this, but now it cannot be ignored and she does not know how to handle it.
In the end, Kyo's relationship is what this volume is focusing on. She has worked to create a place for herself, while trying to grow up individually along the way. There have been rough times here and there, but generally, she has been blessed to have friends to take care of her. Now that there are some issues to resolve, she is falling apart. Given her situation, it is reasonable but her reactions are uncharacteristic of her previous behavior and it has lead to her relationships falling into doubt. There is some doubt as well, as to where the story goes from here but if there is hope it will come from friendship and not selfishness (which is what got Kyo into this whole mess).
After I asked for basketball for so long, I finally get it... and it was horrible. There is no sense of physics and the action is pretty corny. Thankfully, the drama gets rather thick and I have to say it has pulled me back for more. While I do not like the way it was done, especially how fast it all went down, this had to happen sometime and there was no better time then when the manga was going into a lull. Getting to see the drama, the tension and the desperation was a hoot. This manga was coasting on corny sexual tension for too long and this angst is definitely well received. Now that the secret is out, and the two main characters are wrecked, I am completely locked in wondering what Seino-sensei has in store for her leads. Fun, but corny.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C-
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left