Di Gi Charat Vol. #04 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A/C+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 12.99
  • Pages: 168
  • ISBN: 1-59116-147-9
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Di Gi Charat Vol. #04

By Eduardo M. Chavez     June 19, 2004
Release Date: October 01, 2003

Di Gi Charat Vol.#04
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Multiple Artists
Translated by:Mari Morimoto
Adapted by:

What They Say
Final Fantasy
Join little Digiko and the Di Gi Charat Fantasy Characters as they frolic in their own skewed version of midsummer night's fantasy.
Having previously survived the slings and arrows of jealous rivals, demanding bosses and drooling fans, the pevvish princess from planet Di Gi Charat now graduates to her most demanding role yet. Digiko: the modest, fragile and vulnerable forest sprite.
True, it's not exactly Shakespeare. But even the mighty Bard himself would be tickled pink by these tales herein of wildwood fancy.

The Review
Going back into the backlog with a title that was originally released in October to Waldenbooks and Borders and should be arriving in comic shops any time now, Viz's Di Gi Charat. This final volume brings readers more cat-eared madness and introduces the alternate world of Di Gi Charat Fantasy Characters.

Viz does a good job with presentation by giving a nice cover with a DGC Fantasy version of Degiko on the front. They use the same art as the japanese for the front cover (with minor adjustments for people who cannot read japanese). The spine also has kana and english, which i felt was a nice touch. One the back there is the ever present blurb about the series and this volume has a pair of the DGC Fantasy characters. I am really pleased that VIZ did not re-do this series in their new graphic novel formatting (used for each sub-category of manga in their library: Action, Editors Choice, Shojo, Shonen Jump.) By keeping the original art, original size aspect (B6) and the original orientaion along the standardized formatting from 1 to 4 I really felt that they really treated this series very well. In my opinion it has one the best presentation values of any of the titles in Viz's Action imprint.
Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... the logo was given a few minor adjustments from the original (all of them to make things easier to read for English reading audiences.) This volume features character notes for Di Gi Charat characters as well as Di Gi Charat Fantasy characters.

The art is a mixed bag. With 14 different artists (including Koge-Donbo) collaborating the art styles are really varied. Its pretty hard to describe them all but I felt it was pretty interesting to see the different takes on the character designs from Koge-Donbo.

This series is presenting in a B6 GN in right to left format.
SFX translated in a glossary at the end of the book. Some people might not like this but SFX are left intact and are translated in a glossary at the end of the book. VIZ also takes the next step by translating the SFX in romaji as well as with its English equivilent.

The translation by Viz is good but it leaves a lot to be desired. Degiko is "Dijiko" (how many versions of her name are there in English. She is a female Lupin/Lupan/Rupan/Wolf). Honorifics are not left in but at least they do not have these characters sounding like thugs. (Ahem, sorry.)

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
For most of us manga is like a book or short story but its accompanied by artwork, laid out from a comic artists perspective and given SFX too add even more depth besides the visual and the personal.

All that changes when you have an anthology manga. Often most skits do not tie in with each other. More often than not most of the skits are not a part of the "world" that the characters are regularly in.

Anthologies can take some time to get used to, luckily that is not the case with Di Gi Charat. Jumping into volume four is pretty easy, but with the transition to Di Gi Charat Fantasy stories is not very smooth. Readers could get little confused when they see Degiko acting meek and pathetic. A quick look at the character bios should answer whatever questions you have about these characters; so readers are not left completely blind.

This final volume starts off with 5 Di Gi Charat shorts. Most of them continue to focus on Piyoko and her Black Gema Gema Gang. Aruto Suzuki's Treasure is especially good, as it presents super-cute Piyoko and Puchiko trying their hardest to find out what Rabi-en-Rose's most secret treasure is. Kawaii!! Before the half way point, this anthology switches gears and moves into another part of the DGC universe. Or possibly an alternate universe?! Di Gi Charat Fantasy Characters features some of the major DGC characters but in different roles. With the setting being a fantasy world there are a lot of new characters with all sorts of magical, physical and scientific ablilities. While the continuity issues are a little wierd there are some good shorts here, as well. Koge-donbo's Beyond the Memories has to be one of the most twisted things I have read in ages. Starting off beautiful and emotional, I thought it had some Pita-ten stylings, but when she went back to the DGC comedy I was left rolling on the floor with some bizarre humor and a fugly art style that I so appreciate in my DGC manga.

Chapters range from 1 page to 15 so there really isn't much plot or any real story telling going on but fortunately there ultimately is an underlying theme amongst the chaos: Digiko is dangerous but she's cute = don't mess with her even if she is out for the count!! (Me kara BEAM!! (aka: Beams from the EYES!!))

For you Di Gi Charat fans you will get a treat by getting some of Di Gi Charat along with a taste DGC Fantasy Characters. The comedy is varies. Same goes with the art, but getting different takes on the DGC world is a treat.

For those who are not anthology fans you should pass. Not only is this an anthology, but this particular volume has two different worlds it is referencing. I know I was lost for a while, not having much background with Fantasy Characters really through me for a while.

With three studios publishing Di Gi Charat manga in the past year there has not been a shortage of that cat-eared alien lately. That said, Viz's version is easily right in the middle in terms of quality. Original cover art, orientation and all the mangaka notes make for a solid presentation of some of the better DGC shorts available. On the other hang the price, name readings and lack of extra omake (this does not compare to Brocolli Book's Di Gi Charat Theater in terms of extras) make me say it could have been better. Neverless, the Koge-Donbo's shorts alone make this series priceless.

As a fan of the series I cannot pass on this series, but if you want one DGC title you might want to try the less expensive better quality version instead.



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