Peppermint Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Monday, April 02, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Translated by:Jennifer Hahm
Adapted by:Marc Goldsmith
What They Say
What do you do when true love is just beyond your reach?
Hey is a normal teenage girl who has a crush on the hot teen singer EZ. But whenever she tries to work up the nerve to confess her feeling toward him, O always gets in the middle of things! Pop star EZ may never think of Hey as anything more than a fan...
This is a charming romantic fantasy that shows you true love is where you least expect it!
Girls can be vicious!
The cover has a shot of Hey and Mary in frilly lolita outfis (complete with bloomers, a teddy bear, and wings), framed by roses. It's a really eyecatching piece, but I'm not entirely sure what's going on with Hey's mouth. THe logo and spine are both in multiple shades of green that works really well with the colors of the cover. The back has a sidebar with the story summary, and a picture of EO in a sailor outfit, with his hands tied together with a ribbon. The paper quality isn't particularly high, but the art reproduction is still clear and sharp.
Unfortunately, page alighment and bleed is a problem. When the art bleeds slightly over the page it isn't particularly noticible, but multiple voice bubbles are cut off, making reading slightly difficult in more than one spot.
After the story there is a summary of the next volume, along with several one-page advertisements for other titles.
The art is what originally drew me to this title - it's very detailed, with large eyes and elaborate hair and costumes. Backgrounds are fairly detailed, and there's extensive and expert use of a variety of screen tones. The page layouts manage to be both interesting and dynamic. Faces, rather than full bodies, seem to be Seo's forte, however, as full body shots tend to look simplistic and sometimes awkward.
Sound effects are not translated, a decision that I find to be regrettable. The adaptation is fairly smooth, although it reads a little roughly in a few places.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Hey is, as we're told repeatedly, an ordinary girl who happens to be going to school with her celebrity crush, EZ. At the beginning of the story, she's being hassled by EZ's fan club, a group of girls led by Naomi who think that Hey is trying to get too close to EZ. Enter EO dramatically, stage right on a skateboard. He's a younger boy who breaks out when he gets too close to girls, but he pretends to be Hey's boyfriend to save her. It works, temporarily, but sparks fly between EO and Hey.
More trouble brews when Hey helps EZ practice his lines on the school roof. Hey is thrilled and somewhat overwhelmed to be able to help him, but can't quite work up the nerve to confess her feelings to him. Naomi gets jealous, and begins a downright vicious campaign of harassment against Hey to make her back off. Hey attempts to give up on EZ to make the harassment stop, but that doesn't seem to work out quite the way she wanted it to.
EO makes another appearance, and he and Hey start immediately bickering. But when Mary, a girl from EO's class with a crush on him, appears, EO bribes Hey with a pair of concert tickets to pretend to be his girlfriend again. This just serves to make Hey's life even more complicated, as EO is very popular in his school. Not only does EO's fan club start harassing Hey, but Naomi and her group start circulating a picture that could ruin Hey's relationship with EZ.
While this was fairly entertaining, I never really felt like I should care about any of the characters, including Hey. It felt like she was just being stuck in all these tough spots instead of developing her as a character better. The story summary makes it sound like EZ is going to be a major part of the story, but for the most part he's kept in the background - not necessarily a bad thing, because there's no real chemistry between him and Hey. But then, there isn't really any chemistry between Hey and EO, either, unless you count the bickering. It's easier to see them as siblings than potential lovers.
As a school comedy/drama, this works fairly well, and definitely plays well for laughs. If you're looking for a simple read on a lazy afternoon, this is probably a good fit, but if you're looking for something meatier, there are more compelling stories elsewhere.
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left