Hinado Girl (aka: Hinadori Girl) Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, January 13, 2006
Release Date: Thursday, December 01, 2005
Translated by:Michiko Nakayama
What They Say
Akira continues to fight wit Sally 001 over her brother Yoshiki in this second installment of Hinadori Girl. Sally 001 is an android that runs a special program called "HINADORI" a program that acknowledges the first person its sees as its owner. But they are about to meet a new rival when a beautiful classmate who comes to visit Yoshiki. Does this have something to do with Yoshiki wanting to move out and live alone by himself?
After the first volume looked fine, this one ends up greatly disappointing me. DrMaster starts of fine by using the original cover art featuring Sally and Akira playing. This is a perfect image for this volume as it represents the story well. The contrast of color jumps off the cover and makes the piece stand out despite a lack of frills. The opposite cover has a character image of cross dresser Sasayama Nobuyuki next to the volume description on a white cover. That blurb is the start of the problems. Man I thought DrMaster was over the syntax errors but they are back outside and inside this volume.
Inside, the printing is all over the place. This manga does not rely on tone like so many other contemporary titles, but you can see the problems on some of Matsuzawa's delicate lines. It is funny that volume one really did a fine job presenting Matsuzawa's line work, when this one fails miserably when it should count the most. Look at the character intro pages at the start of most chapters, and you can clearly see that the lines are broken and are not very clear. I know most people will not agree, but I love the paper. The color is easy on the eyes and the weight is perfect as it does not bleed or smudge (though you cannot take advantage of it since the print is so poor).
At the end of the book, there is an ato-gaki from the mangaka describing her initial plans for this title. She also lists her assistants in the last panel of the last page.
Right off the bat, I love Matsuzawa’s art. It really works perfectly for this title. It is very cute and very clean. A wonderful use of thick lines that help character designs jump off the page. Characters are drawn with a good sense of proportion, so the cast looks fun and reasonable in a cartoonish sort of way. In addition, the Matsuzawa’s line work does a great job helping create length and texturing. Costume designs can be fun when Matsuzawa tries. She can go from sci-fi cosplay to modern casual easily and make both look good. To be honest, I feel the look of the characters look like they would really look good animated or in a cell-shaded video game. Simple but very cute work.
Backgrounds are okay but are nothing to talk about. The layout is also rather simple, but it does help with the passing quite a bit. If it were not for the layout this title would be a tough read for it moves very slowly.
DrMaster is usually a crap-shot when it comes to translations. When they do one error free, its usually pretty good. When they don't its apparent from the start. This volume has errors on the back cover. They cannot even get the title correct there. Amazingly, most of the book was solid (there are a couple errors here and there). I just do not get this publisher.
SFX are all translated. With this series, DrMaster has used a mix of subs and overlays. This concept works but it is not very consistent. I will say they do a good job with the retouch and when they do use subs, they make sure not to compromise Matsuzawa’s art.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If Akira's home life was not bad enough with Sally 001, the robot maid that never made house, and her brother Yoshiki, self-trained robot machinist, it is about to get much worse. As some of Yoshiki's friends start to make themselves at home in her clean but increasing noisy home, Akira will have to play nice hostess and still dolt over her smart but obsessive older brother. So if she though dealing with a robot going through a rebellious phase was tough, dealing with an egotistical cross dresser might to impossible to deal with.
Sasayama Nobuyuki might be as smart and as capable as Yoshiki. The two friends can agree that he is very talented, but this guy's personality is much worse than Yoshiki's. As a mech freak, his priorities are always maintaining and developing robots. Just like Yoshiki, when he is wrapped up in his work he shuts the rest off the world out. But unlike Yoshiki who snaps out for sweets and school, Nobuyuki never gets out of his own little world. Instead, everything is about him. He barges into people's homes without introducing himself or asking permission. He bosses people around and judges people based on first impressions. He makes bold claims that he refuses to ever support, and he makes assumptions of other people based on his own feelings not anything those people say or do.
The funny thing is that Nobuyuki is not too far off. Nobuyuki is not only open about his opinions but he is able to see their problems clearer. While the siblings struggle with their feelings and are even actively trying to distance themselves from each other, he tries to help them out with their problems. Unfortunately, Yoshiki and Akira are too selfish to see any of that. All they care about is their little world’s they lock themselves in.
They had better start thinking about others soon, because they have a robot to take care of. Nobuyuki is not always going to be around to fix their problems (even though he possibly would want to).
The first volume really left me searching for a change in this story. I was left with a very shallow story that did very little to me as far as plot or character development. In many ways, it was simply a cute take on a robot maid manga, where the robot was not really the romance interest but the sister who was the robot's rival was. There was no romance developing between brother and sister at all. In the end, all I saw was a few characters completely wrapped up in their own problems.
Well, introduce one new character and things begin to change a bit. The irony here is that this character completely changes the dynamic from potential kyodai (sibling) romance to yaoi/yuri romance.
Yuri/Yaoi? Yeah, wait for it.
The new character is a guy, the guy on the back cover. Okay, that's a girl right? Nope, that is a guy. And there are moments where he seems to be quite interested in Yoshiki (almost to a point of obsession). Then again, he seems to think that Akira likes him as well. So, as he goes around wearing dresses, because he thinks people think he looks good in them he is flirting with a pair of siblings (and he is calling them out on their strange relationship). Sasayama is a cocky self-centered freak, but at least he has brought something that this title has been missing - a gimmick.
To be honest, if all your manga has going for is a love triangle with a cross dresser, then that manga has problems. Akira's issues with her brother dominate the story. Page after page of Akira sulking about how Yoshiki ignores her and how Yoshiki only cares about his machines is boring and frustrating. Sally could have been a redeeming feature if you liked cuteness for the sake of cuteness. Unfortunately, Matsuzawa does not take advantage of that. Sally is rarely given the time to be a main character. Instead, she is in the background, killing the mood and changing the pace of the story. Moreover, Yoshiki is one of the worst lead males in ages. He has no personality. He is indecisive. And he is so infrequently involved in the story that I almost forget he is the focus of Akira's problems (I tend to consider him as Sally's mechanic).
There is nothing I can find worthwhile from this title. The art while cute and very anime-like takes a hit with the poor print. The running joke that characters want to steal Sally is going nowhere. Overall, this is one of the more disappointing titles from DrMaster in a long while.
Mania Grade: D+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: C
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: DrMaster
Orientation: Right to Left