Hero Heel Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 180
  • ISBN: 1-56970-870-3
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: HERO・HEEL

Hero Heel Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     April 23, 2007
Release Date: November 08, 2006


Hero Heel Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Makoto Tateno
Translated by:Katherine Schilling
Adapted by:

What They Say
Minami is a young actor who has been cast as the main character of a superhero TV program. Although he takes the job half heartedly, thinking of it as a mere children's show, he's soon taken by the talent of his costar, Sawada. One day, Minami stumbles upon Sawada kissing a man! Deeply confused, he's unable to hide his growing attraction for him... A hero's love is always filled with trials!

The Review
What's love without rejection?

Packaging:
This title sports the usual packaging for this publisher, notable characteristics being the tall A5 size and glossy dust jacket. June uses the original cover art featuring Sawada and Minami in their superhero costumes. I find this to be an attractive cover image; the mix of cool hues and the shiny, metallic look of the costumes highlight Tateno's color work nicely. Inside the paper and print are of standard June quality. The author's postscript and several ads close up the book.

Artwork:
The art in this book is all about the acting. I'm not just talking about the costume details or TV sequences, though those are among the best parts of the art. There's perfection in the expression of emotions (or lack of them) that really impresses if you take the time to study it, especially when keeping in mind the differences in the characters' TV counterparts. Tateno goes to some lengths to make us believe a character is one way, only to betray their countenance a few panels later. Yet having said all that, the character art in general lacks range and is uneven, some angles particularly unkind. New characters introduced late in the book look suspiciously like Minami and Sawada, and Sawada's boy toys all look the same. As far as leading men go, Sawada is too often afflicted with the deadly chin syndrome, his long face made especially worse by small eyes. Really, the eye candy in this book is all Minami " unless of course you count the token pretty girl, Yuki.

SFX/Text:
SFX are translated as per the usual for June, using both overlay and subtitles in matching font styles. It's a good production job, with the translations rarely obtrusive and usually in keeping with the flow of the panel. The script reads well and it's easy to hear the characters' personalities in their lines. I did spot one mistake though: When Air speaks of the "once in a century war" it probably should have read millennium since she is a goddess that awakens only once every thousand years.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
Transdimensional Warriors Airguard is The Next Big Thing in kids' superhero shows, and Minami Masaki has somehow scored the leading role. Only, Minami is surprisingly smug for an actor who, after three years, hasn't landed a single major role. And right off the bat he's at odds with co-star Sawada Kazuomi, who naturally plays the show's super villain. Of course there are also the not-so-subtle hints that Sawada's past has something in common with Minami's current situation, and this seems to be fueling his own current bad attitude towards the younger actor.

Sounds like a mess of a production, doesn't it? Well, despite all his posturing, Minami soon finds out that this gig is harder than it looks and is going to take more than a half-hearted effort to get right " especially when Sawada plays his part with spectacular ease. When he learns Sawada starred in his own action show years ago, Minami realizes how badly he wants to be recognized by him. But what should have just been a good kick in the pants for the bratty actor becomes an obsession for approval, one made all the worse when he catches Sawada getting friendly with a number of other guys.

Flustered to the point of distraction by Sawada's rejection of his talents and not-so-secret trysts, Minami finally realizes that he's fallen in love. But what's a guy to do when the one he loves wants nothing to do with him? Oh, I won't spoil that here, but it certainly isn't kids' show material. But for someone like Minami who spends a lot of time being caught up in appearances and his own brand of righteous indignation, discovering how wrong they can be is a pretty big blow.

Comments
I liked this book for its juxtaposition of the themes of the TV show and the actions of the people who play the characters, because it's trying to ask us to determine what makes a hero and what a villain " and just who is which when the cameras stop rolling. Watching Minami and Sawada bristle at each other is entertaining in a train wreck sort of way, especially when you can see from a mile away how painful the results are going to be. This might turn some readers off, especially once Minami cranks up the pity party, but I can't help but like how Tateno manipulates the reader. We're supposed to wonder if Sawada's really as cold as all that or if he's just putting on a different kind of show, just like we're supposed to root for Minami's arrogant attitude to be smacked down " but in the end but we're made to feel dirty for both. Just like Minami, we get what we think we want, and it's just no good. But it's a sure fire way to make us come back, looking for redemption and acceptance.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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