.hack//4Koma - Mania.com

Manga Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translation Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 12.99
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 978-1427816078
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left


.hack//4Koma Manga Review

By Matthew Warner     May 26, 2010
Release Date: March 30, 2010


A series of jokes and gags that work well to entertain those familiar with the series.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Koichi Sumimaru
Translation: Ryan Peterson
Adaptation: Peter Ahlstrom

What They Say
It's .hack as you've never seen it before! Four hilarious artists give their own takes on the thrilling events and your favorite characters from both The World, and The World R:2. It's Kite vs. Haseo in the eternal struggle over who is the real hero of the story! Plus plenty of the Grunty and Chim Chim antics you know and love! And Atoli gets to... uh... be herself? All this and more in a single hilarious collection of 4-panel strips and short stories.

The Review!

Let me get this out of the way first: this book is big.  Noticeably bigger than even things like Viz’s “Viz Signature” line books.  This leads to nice, clear, large images that look quite nice, especially when you get out of the 4 panel layout chapters and realize just how huge the pages are here.  The cover here is a simple one, showing cute chibi versions of the main characters that works well but is hardly striking or breathtaking.  The back cover instead somewhat cleverly splits itself into 4 “panels” with subdued, blue tinted images of the character in 3 and a summary in the 3th.  The paper used feels solid, and a number of extras such as words from the authors/artists and bonus chapters are included.  
The text reads smoothly and honorifics are maintained, but unfortunately the sound effects are left entirely untranslated.  In a gag manga such as this, not being able to unable to understand the sound effects can be incredibly annoying, especially with whole panels where the sound effect is the only bit of text to be found.   The artwork, on the other hand, is quite nice, spanning a variety of art styles with the four artists used in the book.  All of the art styles look great, from the clean look of the first artist, the sketchy style of the second, the simple chibi style of the third, and the incredibly crisp style of the final.  

While there is no overarching story contained in this book, there are a number of small stories contained within, as well as the obvious goofy 4 panel comics that this book is named after.  For the first section of the book, we follow the exploits of Kite and Haseo as they more or less try to prove their superiority, as well as interact with Black Rose, Atoli, and a vast number of other characters from the series.  We then transfer into separate stories presented outside of the 4 panel format.  In the first one, we see Atoli deciding to change her class and name in The World in order to get along with Haseo better, becoming a twin blade named Peaco.  To her surprise, things go incredibly well, and she even starts to get closer to Haseo… but she realizes that she really wants to hear things from him as Atoli, not under the guise of Peaco, and everything manages to turn out alright.
From there, we get a series of disjointed adventures starring Gaspard and Silabus, a number of 4 panels based on the side characters from the G.U. part of the series, and a short tale focused on Gabiman.  
In Summary:
The series of disjointed stories and gags contained here are all fairly enjoyable on their own, but it’s important to understand that to really get much out of this book, you need to have experienced a good bit of the series first, as a number of the jokes are obviously expect and require prior knowledge of the characters to be funny.  It’s also worth noting that, perhaps due to the variety of artists/authors involved, the humor actually manages a good bit of variety, from simply poking fun at MMOs and the disconnect between how things are in the real world and how the series portrays them, to all kinds of crazy character quirks, and even a bit of physical humor.  As long as you have a basic knowledge of the series, you’re likely to find something here to enjoy, and if you’re a fan of the series be sure to pick this up for some good laughs. 


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