Dark Edge Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, November 18, 2005
Release Date: Monday, September 12, 2005
Translated by:Lindsey Johnston
What They Say
Louie Nishiwaki is still held prisoner inside the mysterious coffin and nearly everyone has forgotten that he ever existed. If he is not released from the coffin immediately he will be forgotten forever! Kurou is adamant about his plan to become Louie's replacement, but the coffin will not accept any Nosferatu other than Matsydaura...
Will it accept Kurou as a replacement? Is Kurou really the son of Nosferatu? Mr. Tsuchiya and Mr. Sato both have their own reasons for not wanting Kurou to enter the coffin, but they soon come to blows over their differences... Who will win this fierce battle, and what are Mr. Sato's motives for helping Kurou and his friends? Is he really an ally, or something more sinister?
Staying consistent, Dark Edge continues to deliver the campy suspense and horror meets 90210 storyline that has a good balance between mystery and comedy.
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. Like most DrMaster books, this one feels very stiff and you’ll find yourself using all your strength to bend the book back far enough to see the artwork close to the spine.
The print reproduction is slightly better than the last volume, which is not much of a compliment at all. Some of the pages are average, but others are blurry, have pixilated edges, and/or have faded and distorted tones--it’s just not very good. There are chapter headers, the same character profile inserts that we’ve seen before, and no other extras.
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 style while the girls are busty with waists that are thinner than their necks. Backgrounds continue to be solid, which enhances some of the scenes with the horror aspect of the story, increasing the tension with the closed-in perspectives. The one issue I have, which the artists jokes about during the manga, is that all the faces seem to look the same after a while.
SFX are translated by subbing English text next to the original. There are not a lot of SFX in this title and the text is kept small, so clutter is kept to a minimum. The translation has a few minor grammar or spelling errors, but the bigger problem is with the actual adaptation which feels quite awkward at times. There were a few panels that I had to read over a couple times to try and understand the context of the conversations.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
With Nishiwaki still trapped inside of Matsudaira’s coffin, Takagi, in a move of self-sacrifice, decides to be the replacement in order to set Nishiwaki free. However, the mysterious teacher Sato tries his best to keep Takagi from doing so, which would be an easy task if Sato wasn’t having to fend off attacks from the blood-thirsty teacher Tsuchiya, who is disgruntled from Takagi’s binding spell and will do anything to see him killed. To make matters even more stressful, the man-eater Nactis is set free to try and suck out the soul of Takagi before he can save Nishiwaki.
Takagi’s role at the school seems to have the faculty divided, as some see Takagi as the “messiah” while others have begun to find a replacement in Mao Toyama. What is interesting to note about Mao’s new position is that she also soon has her own crew similar to Takagi and the others. Slowly building up in the background is another mysterious character, slicing up animals and people, who seems to be one of the original carriers from the 80s that is also in the picture with Takagi. Who knows what role he will play in the future.
Meanwhile Akasaka, Yoshikuni, Ise, and Shimizu once again find themselves on school grounds after sunset, only this time against their will. Shimizu is beginning to show some supernatural abilities after the sun sets, unknowingly being able to run the 100-yard dash in about 8 seconds. Ise wants the eternal life and limitless power of the Nosferatu, asking Sato to become his “father” but is turned down due to Sato’s specific tastes. Ise does not stop there as he continues to his search for a Nosferatu that will give him the power he seeks.
Dark Edge continues to deliver what I expect out of it, so it is nice to see the consistency continue as we hit the fourth volume. Silliness and hokiness aside, the pacing feels just about right with equal time given to unraveling new mysteries and well as providing some humorous off-the-wall moments during the dead time. I love seeing the frustrated Tsuchiya act all disgruntled with his students during the daytime, knowing that he can’t do much until after the sun sets. I am also amused at the whole ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ element it tries to thrown in at random times at well. It all adds to the nice campy feel of the manga.
Now four volumes into Dark Edge, the only thing I can really say that I haven’t said yet is that this title is consistent. Each volume has given me exactly what I expected out of it with equal parts of good silly humor and fun mystery and suspense. The concept can be downright ridiculous, but it is handled and scripted in a way that makes it very enjoyable. Reading Dark Edge reminds me of when I was a young pre-teen/teen watching all those horrible 80s horror movies but yet loving every minute of it.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Released By: DrMaster
Orientation: Right to Left