Kanna Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Friday, October 19, 2007
Release Date: Thursday, August 30, 2007
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:Brynne Chandler
What They Say
Kagura is perfectly happy living a normal, leisurely life... until an adorable little girl shows up in his house one day and starts calling him "Daddy"! As his once-normal life turns upside down around him, he sets off to unravel the child's mystery, embarking on a journey which will change everything...
Having read most of Go!Comifs titles I can easily say this is one of their better-looking books. Not Cantarella good, but Kanna is high up there. Letfs start with the cover design. G!C uses MediaWorksf designs and improve on them a bit. There is a lot less clutter and main character Kanna does her best to be as moe as possible. The back cover keeps the bishojo feel as it has a monochrome image of Kanna enjoying a summer breeze. The designs are very cute and should sell a few copies to readers who are not familiar with the content.
Inside the print is very clean. Kirishimafs sharp line work looks wonderful, as lines are crisp and sharp. The bleed is very good here, so the alignment looks very good. And the retouch looks very good, even in the busiest of action scenes.
Go!Comi includes a few extras - 4-koma strips, omake travel chapter and a MediaWorks ad drawn by Kirishima. I enjoyed the translation notes the editor and translator included in this release. They donft come with images like Del Reyfs but they do a fine job explaining cultural details in a concise way.
I had a very hard time grading Kirishima-sensei's art because his designs look great for a seinen action title but for this title... Well, it is so hard to figure what genre this is that I really can't say his art works here. Looking at the cover and you might think this is a bishojo title in the vein of a Yotsuba or InuGami. Kanna's designs remind me of a pretty Japanese doll (a mini-Yamato nadeshiko type) with long hair and huge eyes. Her features are subtle that works in the right context. Context is important because Kirishima has trouble varying his designs. Kanna looks very similar to her mom Mikoto. And that happens, fine. Does she have to look like her friend Kurika also? For that matter, why does Kagura have a similar build and hairstyle as the girl he likes, Nami? A little weird.
Kirishima's overuse of definition lines also alters the tone of his manga a bit. The way he draws eyes (on everyone outside of Kanna/Kurika) makes them look aggressive and tense. Once again, good for a title filled with suspense but this volume isn't that intense.
The layout is generally pretty good but I found the transitions to be hard to follow. I could not tell when the scenes would change. Now this is done because the characters unknowingly crossover between dimensions all the time. Unfortunately, as a reader, this was very confusing and it slowed down the read quite a bit.
I don't like saying this but the translation is easily the best part of this manga. Christine Schilling's translation is smooth and well thought out. It transitions well between action and drama. And generally keeps this confusing title going. I occasionally had trouble when the scenes transitioned between the two worlds, but I feel that had more to do with the source material than the translation.
Go!Comi handle SFX in a very smart way. They translate all of them, sometimes with subs and sometimes with overlays. They seem to be conscious of how busy each panel is and then decide appropriately. Good compromise if you ask me.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sakaki Kagura thought he was living a simple but rough life. Living alone and studying at a college prep, the 20-year-old had no real hang-ups outside of some minor issues at his part-time job in Shibuya. Yeah he has some issues with his family. Sure, he'd rather be in college and he would like to be with Nami-sempai right now but he has no complaints. Life is good.
Then he wakes up one morning to find a little girl in his futon! There are no concerns about enjo kousai here, because it looks like this child is actually Kagurafs! Wait, how did this happen? Kagura is single and only 20, how does he have a child almost half his age? Where did she come from? And for that matter, why has Japan gone all haywire since!
The answer lies within Kagura's dreams. Within his dreams is another world very similar to our own. And in this world, another Kagura has the power of a god. There his is married and has a child named Kanna. Turmoil has forced Kagura's wife to send Kanna to the real world and that has allowed others to follow her. The real Kagura now has to crossover from reality to this dream world to figure out who/what he is and just how Kanna came out of his dream in the first place. And he can only do this by living within the rules of the Dark World. He cannot use transportation. His child cannot communicate verbally. And he must move to the country where he can only stay at shrines and temples.
The answers won't come easy. Something from the Dark World is destroying shrines across the country limiting where Kagura and Kanna can stay, as they are being hunt down. Most difficult of all, Kagura is going to have to figure this out by sleeping more while raising a child alone.
Kanna is an example of a poorly edited title that is looks good on paper. Funny thing about Kanna is that it is essentially a bishojo story with action scenes tossed in now and then for good measure. After reading the contents section, you might have a hard time understanding that.
When this title was first licensed, it was promoted as a shojo-ish title because of the cute main character. Kanna is cute, but she is basically a strange moe fantasy. Put an eye-patch on her and she'd be a hit. Outside of being cute and demure, she does nothing for the plot but when fan service is needed, she always rises to the occasion. Kagura's dual world idea is cool but the transitions are so hard to follow. I couldn't understand what was going on because character designs slightly change only after they return from their dimensional jump. Action scenes are used to initiate most of the inter-dimensional travel but these scenes are short and poorly choreographed (a problem the mangaka has with the Melty Blood manga he works on also). So with going the plot going nowhere fast, he turns this action title into a kind of travel manga. Two young people travel Japan by foot stopping at onsen hotspots along the way...
In a strange way, I almost wish this were a pure bishojo title because this manga is currently as shallow as a bowl of soup. In a bishojo title watching a 10-year-old cosplay, bathe in an onsen and get into trouble would be standard practice. Having her be mute might even be a turn-on for some otaku. In a seinen title, watching a parent send his young mute daughter off shopping in Shibuya on her own is confusing and disturbing. Being told that public transit is dangerous and filled with impurities might not settle well either for a commuting salaryman. And the devil-bearded linguist/lolicon just didn't make sense in any world.
I want to say it is early for Kanna right now, but there are only four volumes to this series. I really want to like this series because of how much I love the dream world concept. Unfortunately, Kirishima is not sticking to that. Something is taking him to onsen and costume shops and that is forcing me to put this book on the shelf for now.
Mania Grade: C
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Go! Comi
Orientation: Right to Left