Imperfect * Hero (aka: Okaten * Hero) Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Sunday, July 17, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Translated by:Kyle Edward Cook
What They Say
Who knew being roomies with a tyrant bent on conquering the earth would be such a headache. Yuji G5 of the Gakusei High School Battalion is finding this out the hard way. His new roommate -- Queen Madame Mayura is not only his team's mortal enemy she has recently become enamered with the idea of finding waht we humans call a "boyfriend" -- and guess who's at the top of her list?
This is my first DrMaster release that has the new DrM logos. I can't say this looks any different from the presentations by ComicsOne. And that might be why I like what they have done.
First, I love the size. B6 height is perfect; it fits very nicely in my hands and looks good with my tankoubon on my shelf. These are slightly wider than tankoubon but I feel that help correct some of the alignment issues some NA manga have especially when manga is tightly bound. Next, DrMaster is using the Japanese cover art. This cover features the two versions of Mayura - Madame Queen Mayura and Yuji's girlfriend Mayura. The piece is full of pinks and grays but it stand out well from the white background. The opposite cover has a small volume blurb and an image of super-deformed Yuji and Mayura, each wearing their respective battle costumes. The logo is designed in a font similar to the Japanese version as well.
Inside the printing is not bad. I like the paper quality. Good weight, nice feel and ink does not bleed through much. Unfortunately, this series does not have color plates, which would have been a well-received feature in my point of view.
This manga contains all the original chapter headers, keeps the ato-gaki comics section, Pyo-Extra, included a word from the mangaka and a thank you page. DrMaster also added a few ads - Category: freaks, KoF 2003, 888 and Junk Force: the Novel.
Nankin's art is difficult to describe. I guess the best way to put it is fun. Characters tend to be caricatures - fat, pimply, big lipped character, long, thin character with medium-long hair, cute, petite, sparkly eyed character, alien with boom-boom body and horn - of manga stereotypes.
They are drawn with relatively thin lines, but are void of much detail. Instead the characters look cute and relatively simple, which is a staple of josei manga (Nankin has a background in that field). Costumes are not very fancy. They are also parodies of costumes from the Power Rangers and the like. They do not seem to be light or functional, but that is a part of the joke, I guess. Nankin also tends to use a lot of SD. The transitions are very good, but there are some characters that tend to be in SD practically all the time (i.e. the monsters of the week).
Backgrounds are interesting. Sometimes Nankin uses scanned photographs and then there are drawn in backgrounds. The ones she draws in are stale and completely lacking in creativity. I guess with all that is going on with the action and the crazy layout this is to be expected. Speaking of the layout, it is very active. It plays a big part in the pacing and direction of the manga. It is so active characters occasionally even interact with it.
After reviewing two other DrMaster titles, I thought they had gone past the errors that ComicsOne made with this title. I was wrong. Like the previous volume this one has typos on the cover. Spelling mistakes and even the mangaka's name is misspelled. How are readers expected to make purchasing decisions with these mistakes on the cover, of all places? I just do not get it. The rest of the GN is practically error free, which shocks me really. DrMaster has done a better job than most publishers in regards to maintaining personalities in the translation; which is surprising considering how they have issues with simple tasks like proofreading.
SFX are translated with subs. I wish they could have used a smaller font in this series as Nankin's art is rather busy. These subs are taking up a bit of space in some of the more active panels.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Nankin Gureko has shown her readers that being a superhero is not as illustrious a life as we have been left to believe by movies, TV and manga. Teen heroes especially have a hard time because they have to balance a social life, their school life and their life as defenders of justice against an unknown evil. Youngsters are often placed in a situation where they might have to ignore their personal development for what they believe is a greater good.
Well she has now come back to tell us with this volume that growing up a super villain is not so hot either. Having man servants catering to you can be a pain. Having your life set scripted for you is boring. Raids at noon, monster attacks at 3:00p and drive time battle against the Gakusei-5 at 5:00p everyday can wear on you. However, day in and day out, with little variation has become mundane and cumbersome.
So has Mayura Queen of the Gurdark been asked for her opinion in regards to what she gets to do and to whom or what? Never! Has she ever been given a choice at all for anything she does with the Gurdark? None! Does that sound like the life you want to live? There is no freedom. There is no control over your life and at the same time those who are in control of your life say they are at your command! Nothing makes sense during times like these.
Therefore, the only answer left is to escape and to create a life of one's own. Maybe some of the glamour and prestige is lost when a villain is not causing terror. Possibly the spoils will not be there, but the freedom will be worth it. Being able to live for your one reasons based on your own decisions is going to make the challenge worthwhile.
Is taking that risk with a kid like Yuji a good idea? Who cares! The real fun is just about to begin!
The sentai slice of life comedy is a staple of manga and anime parodies. While the kiddy anime and live action shows are pumped up by merchandising and brand placement, the parodies try to work on the lives without the costumes. Characters become accessible for the cast does much more than just protect the peace. They have lives. By focusing specifically on the lives of two members of the cast, Nankin gets to fully explore what should be a world of high technology, huge budgets and secret lairs. Nevertheless, since this cast is still in their teens Nankin is given the luxury to present much more. There is high school and home life to mix in along with the underground hideouts and rooftop battle settings. Those lives seem to have some more meaning and depth. That comes from the idea that they have personal problems. They have relationships outside of their battle team. The world for these characters does not solely revolve around monsters, aliens and sociopaths. It only starts there, and Imperfect Hero takes that and the rest and has a blast along the way.
While I cannot say I love this title, it is a hoot. I am not a fan of sentai and I have read better alien/human romance-comedies before (Urusei Yatsura immediately comes to mind). Still this is a fun little title that does not poking fun at itself much, which is what I feel really makes it accessible.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: DrMaster
Orientation: Right to Left