Swan Vol. #07 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Release Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Translated by:Maya Perry
Adapted by:Maya Perry
What They Say
Aspiring 16-year-old ballet dancer Masumi moves closer to achieving her dreams! She has leapt ahead of her mentor and friend Sayoko, and now the pressure is on to win the lead in the latest competition. But her newest opponent has a surprising connection with Masumi's late mother. Can she stay focused on her goal, or will this unexpected link to her past prove to be too big a distraction?
This volume really wanted to talk about love. Masumi's feeling the heartbreak of unrequited love and is unprepared to deal with Aoi's surprise confession to her. Aoi, meanwhile, stews a bit in his own angst over Masumi. But these kids are nothing if not resourceful; they put these very feelings to work interpreting their respective roles for the Song of the Forest audition. Like Swan Lake in volume 5, we learn quite a bit about this ballet, but here Ariyoshi is aiming more for the emotional reflection. What dialogue did before is done here by expressions of dance.
Fueled by his feelings for Masumi, Aoi has no trouble winning his audition for the passionate "Forest Fire" - although his performance suggests landing the role was not his only goal. Despite Sayoko's stunning recovery it's Masumi and her roommate, Kaoru Aoishi, who will compete for the lead role, "Mavka." However both girls are surprised to find Kaoru's motivation is tied to Masumi's own past; apparently their mothers were rivals back in the day! Schooled mercilessly for her entire life, can Kaoru succeed where her mother had failed? And who's the mysterious (but clearly famous) Russian man who shows up to watch Masumi and Kusakabe's audition, much to the shock of the instructors?
This volume had a much better flow than the last. The best volumes so far have focused on covering one general event, but what makes this particular installment work even better is how well the story of the ballet compliments that of the characters performing the dance. The unity is lovely and allows the reader to simply be swept along, left feeling satisfied at volume's end.
Even though the drama can sometimes feel a bit over-the-top, Swan makes for great escape reading. It's nearly impossible not to get caught up in the lives and art of these characters, and there's always some little surprise built in to keep you coming back for more. I like having the next volume handy whenever I finish one, because it gives me a great excuse for the afternoon.
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CMX
Orientation: Right to Left