Dragon Voice Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59532-120-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Dragon Voice Vol. #02

By Jarred Pine     June 24, 2005
Release Date: December 01, 2004

Dragon Voice Vol.#02

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuriko Nishiyama
Translated by:Mike Kiefl
Adapted by:

What They Say
The battle of the boy bands hits a high note when The Beat Men invade the scene and start snatching up fans from Privee, the newest and hottest boy band! Privee strikes back, making it impossible for The Beat Men to book a gig. As a result, Beat Men take their concert to an outdoor venue. Will an act of God thrust them to stardom or rain on their show?

The Review
The cover features the same illustration of Yuhgo as the Japanese cover, only the backgrounds and logo have changed for this release. Instead of the plain red background, Yuhgo has stage lights shining behind him, making the cover really stand out. The English logo is not the most creative, with gold blocky letters curved across the top of the cover, but with the stage lights it looks like it is glowing. The matte finish and sharp colors look great. Overall I must say it is a very nice presentation.

Inside there is a volume header and the appropriate chapter headers with character artwork. There are also a few pages between chapters featuring some words from Nishiyama about her characters, and I really enjoy reading her commentary. At the back is a 5 page mini-manga of Dragon Trek, the Star Trek parody featuring Dragon Voice characters. The print job looks very nice, very sharp tones and no fading.

I really enjoy Nishiyama’s artwork with this title. The characters are nicely detailed with clean line work and sharp tones. There’s a variety of facial expressions and even a use of chibi-designs for a nice humorous touch. The action artwork is also very explosive, featuring dance scenes and intense performances that are very exciting. It fits really nice within the context of the story. There also is some nice backgrounds and fun panels that just make all the pieces fit together.

SFX are not translated and left untouched. There are English SFX in places, during dancing and performance scenes, but I believe they were originally there as they blend in with the artwork. The original song lyrics appear to also be left intact. The translation and dialogue come across very clearly with no spelling or grammar errors. I do also like how they do Rin’s dialogue with a harsh looking text, which really makes it apparent just how gruff his voice is.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Before Rin Amami can make his singing debut with the idol group The Beatmen, he must first learn how to control his rough Dragon Voice and harmonize with the other band members. What Rin learns is that it is not about trying to hit a note, but match the other voices in feeling and expression. To do this, Rin must understand his fellow band mates better. This is very similar to sports manga where learning to play like a team means learning about your teammates. I also like seeing Rin struggle a bit at first here and not just ease his way into performing. These obstacles make him an easy person to root for, despite his brash and cocky attitude, which is pivotal in this title. We also learn more about Yuhgo, as Rin needs to understand him to be able to sing the new duet, helping flush out more of the band members.

Also standing in the way of Rin’s debut is the large entertainment corporation, S-Field, who are now promoting their new idol group, Privee. The Beatmen are finding themselves cancelled from radio shows, tour stops, and other promo events that are held at venues that S-Field has a major hold on. This infuriates Rin and his rash behavior gets the best of him as he gets in the face of the President of S-Field. A competition is setup where each band will put on a show and see how many people they can draw, with the loser being banned from the industry forever. With The Beatmen not able to land a venue due to S-Field’s blacklisting, they take to the streets guerilla-style and put on a free show right behind Privee’s venue. The competition is a complete riot, featuring over the top performances, vocals, dance moves, and each member pouring their heart and guts into their routines. Again, this plays out very much like a sports manga, with the never say die attitude and constant battling back and forth, but with the boy band theme it really feels fresh and exciting. The results of the competition were surprising, and I really liked being taken off guard. Very much looking forward with how the next volume deals with the conclusion here.

Once again I am really surprised with the unique take on the sports themes and ideas that Nishiyama is used to doing, applying them to the exciting world of idol bands and the entertainment industry. The story has a nice flow, not rushing Rin’s development and keeping up the excitement level with intense idol band competitions. The flashy outfits and over-the-top performances and situations are really a lot of fun, and have just enough drama to keep my interest. The story also has a good element of surprise going for it, as events don’t quite play out as expected.

The characters are flushed out a bit more and continue to grow with the storyline. I like seeing Rin struggle to find his way and learning how to use his voice, as he becomes someone I can root for and care about. The other band members also show off more of their personalities and are beginning to bond a bit more. Definitely enjoying this sleeper title.


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