Gals! Vol. #07 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2006



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Fujii Mihona
Translated by:Sheldon Drzka
Adapted by:Sheldon Drzka

What They Say
During a school trip, Ran is mistaken for a Taiwanese celebrity, and she makes a deal with the real star to keep up the charade so the actress can escape her entourage and rendezvous with her secret boyfriend. But taking on this temporary identity isn't just fun and games. Ran is forced to appear on a Taiwan TV quiz show, a job made even tougher by the fact that she can't speak Chinese!

The Review
In this latest volume of GALS!, the gang takes their show international. Now in thier final year off school the girls have been treated to an amazing school trip to Taipei, Taiwan. By day, the girls eat, drink and see the history and culture of the island nation. At night, they make their own history hitting the hot spots for shopping and pigging out. Like the gals they are, they never miss a chance to make every moment a Shinjuku moment, even in another country. Hanging out, chowing down, shopping and defending love and respect is never forgotten (not even vacation ).

But the real story here are the confessions. Tatsuki's brother confessing his feelings for Ran. Tatsuki revealing his feelings about his family's business. Aya and Rei finally admitting what they really feel and all the pain that was unleashed there. This was a volume about growing up and understanding your feelings. That extends to making decisions about the future and having fun. In retrospect it's funny how much this title focuses on morals and relationships. It's hyper exterior and the random adventures these girls take often masks the feel good moments that fill this title. And as this series matures, I think Mihona-sensei is also making sure her cast matures. Ran might always be self-centered and carefree, but Aya and Miyu do more than enough growing up to cover for her. And aren't friends supposed to back each other up?!

As Mihona-sensei herself noted in her message at the start of the book, volume seven of GALS! might be a little light on content but not on quality. Set in the winter months as the girls prepare for their senior year of high school, the girls' vibrant attitudes make this volume feel like spring. So many changes in their lives. Adventures, romances once again create opportunities to see the girls in a different (yet familiar) light. And seriously, who wouldn't want in when Kotobuki Ran is leading the way to fun and excitement! Maybe the wallet will be a little lighter after all the shopping and karaoke/para-para, but the memories are free and priceless. GALS! at its best is always like that - fun, carefree and memorable.

A bit on the presentation for this release. This volume is filled with two-page spreads and features a handful of "Mihona's Vacation Notes". The mangaka went to Taiwan to research the first chapter of this book. The results were so-so, but she got some of the scale and impact right. She also had trips to Korea, Thailand and Hawaii. The notes for these trips were a hoot. One extra that should not be missed is Mihona's trip to the recording studio. She details her day watching volume 17 of Super Gals being recorded in manga format. Nice way to close out a release that was light on chapters.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: CMX
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 184
ISBN: 1-4012-0845-2
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left