Haunted House Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-59816-321-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Haunted House Vol. #01

By Jarred Pine     October 31, 2006
Release Date: October 10, 2006

Haunted House Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Mitsukazu Mihara
Translated by:Haruko Furukawa
Adapted by:Christy Lejiwski & Tim Beedle

What They Say
Meet Sabato Obiga, a hapless young teen trying to find himself in the world, which is made all but impossible by his frighteningly flamboyant family. Scaring away every girl he brings home, Sabato's family seems to revel in his misery--but could there be more to their torment than meets the eye? Rest assured, Mihara-sensei keeps you guessing--and giggling--every step of the way!

The Review
A fun, light read that fits right in during this Halloween season; the problem being once youre done you probably wont pull it back off your shelf until next fall comes around.

The cover is definitely a little goofy, but this is a goofy manga so I supposed it fits; although the logo is terribly uninspired. The print reproduction is decent. There arent a lot of varying tones, but what is there is a little muddy. The coloring also leans a bit to the dark side, no pun intended. The book is rated OT, but outside of a couple crass jokes, potential dark humor, and a few curse words injected into the script by TOKYOPOP, theres nothing really here that I would think make it inappropriate for teen readers.

Artwork features Mitsukazu Miharas trademarked gothic style, but its done in a much more comedic fashion and you can tell that this is definitely a break in the action so to speak. Its not quite as sharp and well-detailed as her other titles, with the gothic artwork really there just to get a few laughs from the Obiga family.

The first three SFX are translated with overlays, but then it seems that deadline crunch hit and translation was completely abandoned. Sloppy! Aside from that, the English script is a lot of fun. Not being familiar with the Japanese script, I cant tell if the Western references were switched in; but they do fit right in with the jokes being delivered. There is a small spattering of foul language.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Theyre creepy and theyre cooky, mysterious and spooky. Theyre all together ooky, but sorry, they arent the Addams Family. This is the Obiga Family who surround themselves with everything gothic and macabre. However, if you were to take the word of their youngest son, Sabato, this family is definitely not ooky. If Sabato had his way, hed be living miles away from home where he can live a normal life away from the constant sibling teasing and abnormal behaviors.

Haunted House is what I would call a vacation manga for famed gothic manga-ka Mitsukazu Mihara. After doing plenty of darker, more emotional manga with, its time to just kick back and have a little bit of Addams Family inspired fun. For the most part, each chapter involves Sabato finding a new girlfriend only to have her run away in fear after meeting the rest of the Obiga clan. They wear outlandish gothic attire, obsess over the occult, and tease Sabato to the point of insanity. Their home features red-dyed water in the bathtub, bloody skeletons as well decorations, voodoo dolls as toys, and instead of hanging up normal family photos, the mother prefers funeral alters with white chrysanthemums. How can anyone bring home a girlfriend with a family like this?!

Mihara keeps the humor snappy and cleverly delivered, as well as mixing up the chapters a bit to avoid falling into the same pattern. I think every teenager at some point wants to run away from their embarrassing family, and Mihara takes this and puts a fun twist on it all. Most of the jokes are worth a couple chuckles, with even a good handful well-timed panels that had me howling out loud with laughter (check out the hospital story).

Haunted House isnt going to be a book on anyones Top XX list, but for the couple hours of reading it provides it will definitely entertain. Mihara takes a familiar issue of family growing pains and adds her own gothic flavor by creating a family that would fit in right with the Addams. Most kids probably dont have parents like the Obigas, but I guarantee at times you felt like you did. A fun, light read that fits right in during this Halloween; the problem being once youre done you probably wont pull it back off your shelf until next fall comes around.


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