Imadoki! Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 194
  • ISBN: 1-59116-330-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Imadoki! Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     December 28, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004

Imadoki! Vol.#01
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuu Watase
Translated by:JN Productions
Adapted by:

What They Say
For Tanpopo Yamazaki, life at elite Meio Academy seems way out of her league. The daughters of wealthy families snub her, other students make light of the fact that she actually tested into Meio instead of relying on family connections, and the cute boy she saw tending a dandelion the day before won't even acknowledge her existence. Hoping to make friends and have some fun, Tanpopo starts up a gardening committee, but will this help her survive in a school where superficiality and nepotism reign supreme?

IMADOKI! (NOWADAYS) follows the trials and tribulations of a budding horticulturist as she makes her way down the winding road to friendship. From Yu Watase, one of Japan's most beloved shojo artists, IMADOKI! packs comedic charm and heartfelt antics into an adorable bouquet of whimsical fantasy.

The Review
Typical of Viz's Shojo imprint work, IMADOKI is another good-looking presentation. The cover used features the two main characters of this series. Originally used for Shogakukan’s Flower Comics release in 2000, Watase-sensei has a portrait of the male lead’s face framed by the title the main character (Yamazaki Tanpopo) and the title information for this volume. The image is full of blue in shades of pink, and Viz does a great job of incorporating those colors into the logo and frame. The opposite cover is a powder blue background covered with stars framing a very long volume description.

Inside Viz shows off some nice printing - inks look sharp and the screen tone is clean. The magazine color plates are a tad dark, but these often look weird when done in B/W (mind you these were only in color in Shojo Comic magazine). Viz kept and translated all of the mangaka notes and added a blurb on Watase-sensei at the end of the GN.

Watase's art is great, and at this point in her career, her art is at its best. She uses a mix of strong thick lines with very good tone usage to create characters that are drawn to scale who look cute, with individual personality and style. I was disappointed with how the male lead’s designs seems to have been recycled from her previous works (he basically is Kyo from Alice 19th with his hair parted down the middle).

Backgrounds are stale. They do not have much personality; even when drawn with detail they feel flat. Her layout is very complex. It often aids readers get a feel for the mindset of her characters with manpu and panel placement. At times, it may seem a little hyper, but once readers get accustomed to Watase’s pacing, the layout starts to feel more fluid.

SFX are all translated and overlaid. It is done rather tastefully so SFX look nice and sound good.

As is the case with most (if not all of) Viz's shojo titles, IMADOKI has a solid translation. This is the second title I have read translated by JN Productions, and I have to say they do good work. Did not notice any issues with spelling or grammar, either, which is typical Viz work. If I was disappointed with anything, it was the lack of honorifics. Viz is really inconsistent with this; wish they could make a stand either way.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
New town, new school and hopefully new friends are what Yamazaki Tanpopo hoped for in the future. While test scores and an apartment were able to make two of those wishes come true the last one seems to be an uphill battle from the start. Cheerful and always positive Tanpopo never thought making friends would be a problem. What she did not know was that her new high school, the prestigious Meio Academy, was a beacon for society's elite and apparently socially inept. Making friends there would be almost impossible unless you are the heir to a major conglomerate or maybe a young prince of an island nation. For someone like Tanpopo, who studied to be one of the few who test into this school, making a friend should be impossible.

If her new classmates had their way, her surviving for one month at Meio should be just as hard. There is some obvious class warfare going on in the halls of Meio High, and all eyes are pointed at Tanpopo. She is the newcomer, the outsider and until now, the lone lower tax bracket representative within student body of millionaires. According to her classmates, there is no room for the under-privileged, so unless she wins the lottery Tanpopo is in for some bullying.

What her classmates did not realize is how Tanpopo has fought to get this far already. A little bullying will not stop her from getting what she thinks she deserves. She is gonna make friends and her first one will be the biggest name at this school. The one no one else could befriend, no matter how much money or power they have. Friendship will blossom in this cold school, because of Tanpopo and her newly formed gardening club. She just needs to constantly maintain it.

I do not think I can remember reading a Watase title that did not have a fantasy element to it. Alice 19th, Ayashi no Ceres and Fushigi Yuugi each had different takes on the fantasy genre but in the end each had characters coming to terms with their own inner strength. IMADOKI steps away from fantasy and places this cast in a classroom setting, where sometimes some people tend to live in their own personal fantasy worlds. Main character Yamazaki Tanpopo is a very strong character from the very start. She knows what she wants and has gotten to where she is now because of her talents. She is not willing to give up without a fight and does not stand for letting others get in the way of her goals. She has much more to overcome in this story, but the way that Watase-sensei has her set up I have no doubt she is capable of accomplishing her goals.

The change is refreshing. While I am not in favor of the situation she has been placed in (her school seems extremely unrealistic), the adversity was able to keep me entertained through well-timed humor and simple honest drama. Watase is able to show off how she can write without having to rely on action or a comedic relief character. She was able to create a good cast of characters with their own flaws and strong personalities, who through this first volume have shown some growth in their individual ways. And how they each go about their development - greedier, kinder or more aggressive - helped me relate to this cast even more. I was able to believe that despite the cuteness Watase does not ignore how people could be vengeful or unconditionally kind. I wonder if they can actually be as nice as Tanpopo is, though (she almost rivals Fruits Baskets' Honda Tohru in the nice-ness meter).

In the end, I have to say: Watase is just a pro at what she does. She knows how to draw bishies. She knows about jealousy and vengence. She knows that some people are suckers for cute mascot characters (I admit it!!!). So finding something wrong with a charming title like IMADOKI is nearly impossible. And Watase had me feeling so good when I read this title, I really did not want to find anything wrong. Watase appears to have done it again.



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