Dragon Girl Vol. #01 - Mania.com

Manga Review

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translation Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Yen Press
  • MSRP: 20.99
  • Pages: 496
  • ISBN: 9780759531666
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Dragon Girl

Dragon Girl Vol. #01

Dragon Girl Vol. #01 Manga Review

By Matthew Warner     November 11, 2010
Release Date: October 26, 2010

Dragon Girl Vol. #01
© Yen Press

A charming tale of high school romance and cheer squads.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Toru Fujieda

What They Say
Fiesty, fierce Rinna Aizen is a girl with a dream: to follow in her father's footsteps as the legendary captain of Shoryu Senior High's cheering squad. Only problem? Shoryu High is an elite all-boys' school! Or it was... until now! With the school going co-ed, Rinna might be one step closer to achieving her dream, but the road to a successful cheering squad is still full of hurdles. Can Rinna clear them all?

The Review!
The front cover presented here is unfortunately probably the worst part of the packing and perhaps the ugliest piece of art in the entire book, displaying a slightly creepy close-up of Rinna’s face. Perhaps it’s the over the top lipstick on her face or the circular blush marks or even just the creepy blank stare she gives the reader, or perhaps some combination of these elements, but the image presented here is sadly more unsettling than beautiful. The back cover fares much better, presenting small images of the rest of the cheer squad members and a short synopsis of the plot that looks just fine. The paper quality used here is fine, a number of color images are presented at the beginning of the book, occasional messages from the author appear throughout, and a nice little set of translation notes are included at the end of each section of the volume.

The artwork contained within this book looks rather nice, containing a good bit of detail and doing a good job differentiating their characters despite the generic uniforms, giving them each their own look. Unfortunately, occasionally the proportions on the characters’ faces or necks will slip slightly, causing them to look a little odd, but this isn’t terribly common so it isn’t a huge issue. Backgrounds fairly often and look fine. The text reads smoothly, honorifics are maintained, and sound effects are left in their original form and subtitled.

Rinna Aizen is a rather eccentric young girl who has just achieved her dream of entering into Shoryu Senior High, a former all-boys’ school that has only just become co-ed. After shaming some perverts who tried to take indecent pictures of her, Rinna arrives at the school’s entrance ceremony, only to find herself caught up in an argument between the condescending school council president, Renji Toushouguu, and the squad captain of the cheering squad, a man with rather amusing facial hair by the name of Hasekura. Rinna exclaims that she’ll be the squad’s new captain, and Hasekura responds by claiming girls aren’t allowed on the squad. The council president then interrupts and suggests that the two settle the matter by means of a contest. Hasekura just barely manages to come out on top, but he is still forced to accept Rinna on the squad, and we see that the council president is plotting to destroy the cheer squad once and for all. Afterwards, we learn that Rinna’s father, whom she deeply admires, was a man named Sakuya, who was a legendary former leader of the cheer squad, and Hasekura begins to accept Rinna’s presence and right to be on the squad. Over the course of the rest of the first “volume” contained in this book, we see the cheer squad demoted to a “circle,” stripping them of many of their privileges, we are introduced to the cheerleader club that replaces them as an official club (led by the eccentric crossdresser with something of a complex for his younger sister, Yuu Kanisawa), and see Rinna’s two female friends, the aggressive Chizoru Natori and the man-fearing Temari Shiraishi, as well as two young men named Hibiki Kurikoma and Junpei Kurihara, join the cheer squad. We are also introduced to Rinna’s “first love,” a mysterious young boy named Subaru who returns as a mysterious young man.

In the next “volume” in the book, we see the cheer squad participate in a battle with the student council in a school festival. They end up losing, and Rinna is forced into the “desirable” position of “platinum” in the school, meaning she gains more freedom to do what she wants and the cheer squad can be recognized as a club once again, but in turn she is kept under the thumb of the scheming council president. This leads to Rinna becoming overly popular, being forced into a large number of athletic clubs in addition to her cheer squad duties, and slowly getting to know the cold bespectacled young man known as Yaotome. Unfortunately things turn even further south when an incident occurs at a public event involving the cheer squad and a squad from a rival school. Though they manage to smooth things over, the council president decides that this is grounds to finally ban the cheer squad from operation.

With the final “volume” of the book, we see love blossom between Chizoru and Junpei, learn of Hasekawa’s past with the Karate club, and see the members of the cheer squad temporarily join the cheerleading club in order to cheer on the sports teams. All the while, Yaotome starts to reconsider his cold position towards Rinna, and Rinna is forced to confront her emotions towards the still mysterious Subaru.

In Summary:
With a plus sized volume like this, there’s a lot to see and plenty of time to get to know the characters, which is a definite plus. The cast presented here has plenty of depth, and there are certainly a good number of characters to be had, with the cheer squad and platinum groups making up the core, along with an assortment of non-affiliated cast members. With the various love interests set-up here and the rivalry between the council president and cheer squad, it may seem simple to see where the plot is going. However, none of the love interests feel like throw away “never going to happen” type characters, which leaves a real legitimate question as how romance will develop with this series. Add in a few mysteries behind each of the characters, and there’s a good bit of suspense and intrigue to be had here. Hopefully the second half will be able to run with what is presented here and tie everything up into a satisfying conclusion, as there’s certainly a good bit of potential here.

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