Girl Got Game (aka: POWER!!) Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: D+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 1-59182-696-9
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Girl Got Game (aka: POWER!!) Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 16, 2004
Release Date: January 01, 2004

Girl Got Game (aka: POWER!!) Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Seino Shizuru
Translated by:Aya Matsunaga
Adapted by:

What They Say
Let The Games Begin
Some people will do anything to realize their dreams... even if it means disguising a girl as a boy so she can play on a famous boy's basketball team. If you don't believe it, just imagine how Kyo Aizawa feels - her dad's the one who cooked up this crazy scheme!
Kyo's father was once a great basketball player who aspired to play for the NBA. Unfortunately, an injury ended his career before it even started. Despite his disappointment, he passed his love of the game - and his moves - to his daughter.

Kyo wants to date a boy, not become one... and she's not happy about her father's kooky plan... until she meets the boy who is her rival on the court... and her roommate in the dorms.

The Review
I know, I know. I have been sitting on this title for the longest time. Sorry. If you can forgive me, I want to share my thoughts on TOKYOPOP's shojo sports-comedy "Girl Got Game." Hey, it almost took me as long to finish as the NBA playoffs.

Volume one's cover features three framed character art images - each with their own color in their own drawn in panel. This cover art is surrounded by a basketball court floorboard spine. Hmm... Hideous! I am not sure if I have seen a cover that looks uglier. The back cover has the same feel but only has to pieces of character art in one color. If TP could have flipped the front with the back I would have found nothing wrong but I still would have wondered what this series is about. "What! This is a sports romance!!??"

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... even though the original title is in English, TOKYOPOP changed the title to "Girl Got Game". Their yellow and purple logo conjures memories of the LA Lakers but it is surrounded by stars giving it a cutesy feel probably for a younger shojo demographic.

This GN was not a total failure for TOKYOPOP, as they did keep some nice extras. There is a message from the mangaka, a fun personality test and a preview for the next volume. On the other hand, this GN does have a few ads, a pair of them inside both covers: Kill Me, Kiss Me, Forbidden Dance, Love Hina and Brigadoon.

Seino's character designs are simple but fun. Her characters do not have a lot of detail but for this light-hearted romantic sports comedy it really works (but I wonder if she purposely draws all socks to look like the style of loose-socks made famous by ko-gals). Where I wish Seino would put more effort is her backgrounds. With this title having a sports theme I would have liked more detail for the courts and gyms the games/practices are held on but Seino tends to only use backgrounds sparingly leaving certain details up to the imagination of her readers. I guess it would be tough to put a lot of work into backgrounds with her hyper layout. It may work well with the comedy aspect of this title but it actually hurts the basketball as panels are often too small or poorly positioned to present the action well.

In typical TOKYOPOP form this GN is in right to left format and the SFX are left un-translated. I wish TP could go back and give this title (heck, all of them) a glossary like they are doing currently with select titles.

Not having read Kodansha's version I am not sure how accurate the translation is, but I can say it sounds good. TOKYOPOP does not use honorifics but these characters often refer to each other with their last names which is quite common amongst high school males (I had first hand experience with this).

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Aizawa Kyo is a new transfer student at Seisyu High School. It is her first day and already she is having a lot of trouble. Some of it is because of her father: dad had a few mistakes on Kyo's entrance forms. Some of it is because of her personality: one day and she already has a rival, her teammate/roommate! At the moment, it is tough to tell which one is worse but either way she better watch her back!

Kyo's dad always wanted to be an NBA star. He was quite the talented baller in high school until an accident ruined his career. Now with Kyo in high school age, Dad can live his dreams through his talented daughter. Kyo has all the skills to be a great basketball player but it is not likely that she will ever be in the NBA. Dad doesn't see it that way and according to him the first step to the Association is starring for Seisyu High. Seisyu is known for only two things: its top-ranked boys hoops team and its cute girl uniforms. And Kyo accepted the transfer to wear those uniforms. Dad had another uniform in mind - the basketball uniform.

So going back to Kyo's troubles... She is now in Seisyu High registered as a boy, on the basketball team and she has to live on campus in a dorm with the rest of the team. Her new roommate Eniwa Chiharu happens to play the same position as her, power forward (how does Kyo, the shortest person on the team, end up playing the 4, I cannot say) and is already a little weary of the short guy with a huge vertical leap. These two cannot seem to ever get along. If its not fighting on the court they are arguing on campus about his dull basketball addict personality, Kyo's non-stop talking, or Chiharu's lack of effort on the court these two are always in each others face. Yet, even with the tension between them, Kyo enjoys being around the guy and in general thinks he is a kind-hearted guy... maybe he's even her type. Still, Kyo has to be very careful to keep his secret despite the circumstance she is in and she needs to keep her game at a high level for herself, her dad and her new friends.
Her debut was a great success. She played well against one of the better teams in the region. Her game was more like Allen Iverson, a fast high-scoring playmaking shooting guard, than Karl Malone, a big powerful rebounder and low-post scoring power forward, but she really opened the eyes of all those present. Most importantly she was able to accomplish everything she wanted - show her skill, play equally with boys, and finally get Chiharu motivated to have fun with the game. Chiharu's smile as they played was worth more than the praise and cheers she got. Let's see if Kyo's school life can go as well as that game. Keeping a lid on her secret should be easier than playing basketball, right?

As a comedy Girl Got Game is pretty funny. The concept has been done before all over the world (Viz is currently releasing Hana-Kimi which is also about an athletic gal dressed as a guy who ends up being roommates with a love-interest), but what makes this entertaining is the love/hate relationship between Kyo and Chiharu. You can toss the basketball away, at first glance there seems to be a lack of research of the sport as there are a few issues here, and go to the games off the court. There is little doubt that there is an attraction between these two pretty much from the start. These two are at each other as if they have known each other for ages and with their world being so closely knit they cannot help but get to know each other quite easily. Once they got to that point their meetings always ended in fireworks - either looking really spectacular or just ending up loud and dangerous. As complete opposites they make a great team in many ways, but their fights is what really carries this series. While I would have liked more basketball or at least better basketball what Seino does with Kyo, hiding her secret and testing Chiharu's patience, and Chiharu, doubting his talent and learning to trust Kyo, is a lot of fun. Albeit fun that has been done before.

For those looking for a fun shojo comedy Girl Got Game is a good example of that has a twist. Kyo's predicament is perfect for all sorts of situational comedy. So far we have just had a taste of what this series can do and for the most part it has been well done. Seino has not done anything revolutionary but has well represented the genre with fun character interactions.

For those looking for a shojo sports title you will be completely disappointed. Upon inspection this title cannot get much of the game right - positions, settings, or costumes. Stick with Slam Dunk (Gutsoon!) or Rebound (TOKYOPOP) for some good hoops manga.

Going into this series I was on the fence. The concept of a young lady playing on a boys basketball team seemed so promising. I wanted to see her work hard and try to stick with the boys and play with them as equals. "Power!!" would have meant much more than the position that Kyo plays. So I picked this title up despite the embarrassingly ugly packaging. What I got was definitely entertaining but nothing special. I was disappointed with how the sports were presented and while the comedy is fun I never felt anything special. My expectations were so high for this series but I have to admit I still had fun with it. Girl Got Game may not be special or meet everyone?s expectations but it is fun and should be worth a look... if you can get past that cover.



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