Gentleman\'s Alliance Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 8.99
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-4215-1183-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Gentleman\'s Alliance Vol. #01

By Danielle Van Gorder     March 12, 2007
Release Date: March 06, 2007


Gentleman\'s Alliance Vol.#01
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Arina Tanemura
Translated by:Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Adapted by:Tetsuichiro Miyaki

What They Say
In return for a business loan of 50 million yen, the prestigious Kamiya family gave their daughter Haine away for adoption to the successful Otomiya family. Haine, now an Otomiya, is appointed to the student council of the exclusive Imperial Academy, a private school for the aristocracy. Even though Haine is of proper lineage to be on the council, she finds herself struggling to find her place among the many secrets of its elite members, especially those of the president who holds her heart: Shizumasa Togu, aka "the Emperor."

Haine has been in love with Shizumasa Togu since she read the fairy tale he wrote as a child. However, the Emperor is so well sequestered by the student council that she hasn't been able to speak to him in the three months she's been at the academy. And as rumor has it, he already has a lover...

The Review
A sparkly-eyed Yanki heroine? Ora ora!

Packaging:

The front cover has a gorgeous shot of the main character, Haine, in her school council uniform, with the logo in the bottom left. Overall, I find myself really liking the logo - it's bold and striking, but doesn't get in the way of the art. The art reproduction inside is better than some of Viz's attempts, but still leaves something to be desired. The poster insert is large, 19.5" x 13.5", with a gorgeous shot of the five student council members on one side with some gorgeous cathedral architecture in the background, and an image of just Haine on the reverse - no color pages, but I think this makes up for it.

Art:

If you've seen Tanemura's other works like Full Moon wo Sagashite or Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, you know what to expect here - giant sparkly eyes, flowing hair, incredibly detailed costumes, and beautiful backgrounds. Tanemura uses a large variety of screen tones and dynamic, creative page layouts. Each page is packed full of detail, but
it somehow manages to avoid being too busy. She also manages to make each character visually distinctive, which is nice after reading a few too many books where all the characters look the same.

Text/SFX:

Sound effects are replaced by translations on the page - not my preferred method, but they at least did a good job of making the replacements look seamless. The adaptation doesn't read as smoothly as I'd like, and seems stilted and confusing at a couple of points. The eight pages of translation notes at the end are a very nice touch.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

Haine Otomiya is a fifteen year old girl attending the exclusive Imperial Academy. Her family is on the verge of bankruptcy, so she helps out as much as she can by working a part-time job at the school, despite not being their real daughter. She's very close to Ushio, a beautiful girl who's very cold to everybody except Haine.

The school has an interesting series of ranks - they're considered either bronze, silver, or gold, depending on what their accomplishments are, points earned (or lost) through various activities, and how much money their parents donated to the school. Silver students get special bonuses and can take special classes, and are generally looked up to. The only gold student is Shizumasu Togu, the Emperor, and President of the student council. Haine met him several times in her past and fell in love with him, but the Shizumasu she's seen (but never had the chance to talk to) in the three months since entering the school doesn't seem to be the same boy she remembers - for one thing, he never smiles. Not to mention the rumor going around that he has a lover.

Conflict arrives in the form of the Heretics, an anti-student council group of delinquents that disrupts the morning assembly, Haine's only chance each day to see Shizumasu from a distance, with snakes. Furious, Haine decides that it takes a girl born in the Year of the Snake to catch snakes, and lets loose with a series of attacks that gets rid of the snake in no time. It turns out that Haine used to be a delinquent Yanki in middle school, a fact that shocks the school, and leaves Haine as something of an outcast.

Shizumasu, on the other hand, seems to remember Haine, but declares that he hates her before vanishing. The story going around the school is that he was kidnapped by the Heretics, and there's a large point reward for the first person to find him. A chance encounter with Maora, one of the members of the student council, puts Haine on the search as well. She ends up finding him in the Hanging Garden, only to discover that the kidnapping was all faked, so he could have some time alone. Haine declares her love for him, but they're interrupted by other searchers, who automatically assume that the former Yanki Haine is the kidnapper! Shizumasu steps in and makes up a story about Haine rescuing him which, at Maora's instigation, results in Haine's addition to the student council as Shizumasu's bodyguard.

On her way to her first student council meeting, Haine accidentally stumbles on an intimate scene between Shizumasu and Maguri, another member of the student council. It turns out that Shizumasu's lover is really a guy! Another rumor starts to circulate, that Haine is really a member of the prestigious Kamiya family. Haine snaps, forcing Shizumasu to step in and attempt to cover everything up. He tries to talk Haine into confiding in him, but this is one thing that she doesn't feel like she can talk about to even him. But secrets have a way of coming out, and the Heretics steal an article from the journalism club that reveals the truth. She confesses to Shizumasu that her father sold her for a 50 million yen business loan to a man without an heir, because Kamiya could not accept having a girl for an heir.

As the story progresses, the student council gains another member, the secret of the Heretics comes to light, and Haine works her way closer to Shizumasu, finally convincing him that if he needs a fake lover, she's strong enough to support him. Closing out the volume is a short side story featuring Ushio, and some omake pages.

Comments
Tanemura's heroines are seemingly always spunky, cheerful girls hiding some dark and tragic past, but Haine manages to be a bit more interesting than she could have been. The Yanki twist is both funny and very effective, especially considering what we learn about her past. The majority of the characters at this point aren't particularly well developed, but there are enough hints dropped both about where the story is going in the future and where the characters have been in the past that I find myself really anticipating the next volume. This is pure shoujo eyecandy at its finest.

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