Imperfect * Hero (aka: Okaten * Hero) Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-58899-235-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Imperfect * Hero (aka: Okaten * Hero) Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     March 06, 2005
Release Date: November 13, 2004

Imperfect * Hero (aka: Okaten * Hero) Vol.#01
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Nankin Gureko
Translated by:Kyle Edward Cook
Adapted by:

What They Say
Yuji Midorikawa is your typical high school student whose has a secret identity: He is Green in the high school battalion unit, Gakusei 5 (G5 for short). G5 is the special unit trained to fight and protect Earth against the invasion of the dreaded Galactic force Gurdark and its sexy queen Mayura. But Green has a problem. He really can t fight, and always ends up hiding behind his other team mates. What ensues is a witty and wild ride as our Imperfect Hero struggles to maintain his reputation as a guardian of earth while keeping up his grade point average in school!

The Review
After seeing some mockups, I surprised to see them go simple with the cover design. C1 uses the original cover art featuring the main characters of this series, Mayura and Midorikawa Yuji, each wearing their battle garb. In the middle of this is the logo done in bubble font. The font and stars used in the logo are concepts used in the Japanese version, and they are appropriate to help express the comical intergalactic romance aspect of this series.

Nankin's art is difficult to describe. I guess the best way to put it is fun. Characters tend to be caricatures - fat, pimply, big lipped character, long, thin character with medium-long hair, cute, petite, sparkly eyed character, alien with boom-boom body and horn - of manga stereotypes.

They are drawn with relatively thin lines, but are void of much detail. Instead the characters look cute and relatively simple, which is a staple of josei manga (Nankin has a background in that field). Costumes are not very fancy. They are also parodies of costumes from the Power Rangers and the like. They do not seem to be light or functional, but that is a part of the joke, I guess. Nankin also tends to use a lot of SD. The transitions are very good, but there are some characters that tend to be in SD practically all the time (i.e. the monsters of the week).

Backgrounds are interesting. Sometimes Nankin uses scanned photographs and then there are drawn in backgrounds. The ones she draws in are stale and completely lacking in creativity. I guess with all that is going on with the action and the crazy layout this is to be expected. Speaking of the layout, it is very active. It plays a big part in the pacing and direction of the manga. It is so active characters occasionally even interact with it.

By the way, I wanted to also mention there is a little bit of frontal nudity in this manga.

This is another example of how inconsistent ComicsOne has been with their proofreading and editing. While the manga itself is well done, the volume description blurb on the back cover is a mess. Punctuation, spacing and grammar are all thrown out the window and readers are expected to make purchasing decisions with these mistakes on the cover of all places. I just do not get it. The rest of the GN is practically error free. It even has done a better job than most C1 titles in regards to maintaining personalities in the translation.

SFX are translated with subs. I wish they could have used a smaller font in this series as Nankin's art is rather busy. These subs are taking up a bit of space in some of the more active panels.

Poor Yuji, he thought he would be living the simple life as a young super-hero. Little did he know that being a champion of justice is a lot of work and it does not excuse people from their duties as members of society. For Yuji that has meant balancing hours of studying and hours of alien fighting. Both aspects equally make up the majority of his responsibilities; unfortunately, he is having trouble with both right now.

Being an evil space villain is not the hi-life either. Queen Mayura of the Gurdark has been forced to take over Earth despite never having set foot in one of its communities. Recently she has faced humiliation at the hands of the Gakuen 5. That has brought plenty of frustration and much more work than she would want for herself at this point in her life. If she is going to be around this new planet, why shouldn't she take in the sights and sounds? She should at least try some of the local cuisine, before the invasion is complete.

Yuji and Mayura have always been team players. Yuji is the mandatory cog in a super-powered alien fighting battalion. In the Gakuen 5, he is the team scardy cat and super ping-pong player. He is the guy everyone looks to as the team weakness. Mayura is the inspiration and romantic hope of an army of faceless Gurdark warriors. She is their sunshine and their caretaker. Without her, there is no spirit and there are no meals in the Gurdark camp. They each understand their situation, and it is frustrating.

If they could live without so much responsibility they would. Maybe that is why they need each other? Consider how peaceful the world would be then...

I have to admit, I have never been much of a fan of battalion group shows. Not only are they clichés, these shows are timid at best in regards to action and violence, and they often end up being condescending. Each character has their role. There is always a pecking order to those things. To me it is like propaganda for kids. Nankin Gureko seems to get that, so instead of making this a, action title Imperfect Hero reads more like a situational comedy with a twist. Yuji and Mayura are parts of this propaganda machine. He has to dress up and stand up for justice. She has to cause havoc and raze cities. For the longest time neither realized how easy life would be if they did not play those parts. When these two meet and begin to dictate their own lives, they find so much freedom that they were missing. Their war was just a front that each dreaded going through. If they were the only players it would be over, but some need to continue this charade. Nankin tries to give her average super hero a chance to be average. She also has gone back to an old-favorite, the lovable alien princess/queen. Mayura might not be the most vicious of aliens. She is definitely not the most intelligent. She might be one of the sweeter ones. Maybe that is what aliens really are like. How would we know, if prejudices have oft portrayed them as bad life forms from other worlds? Nankin says get to know your alien enemies... they might not be as bad as you think.

If it were not for the funny angle on an old and tired genre, I would not have given this series a chance. There is only so much I can take and cliché after cliché crosses that line. Imperfect Hero takes something old and with a little parody type comedy makes it interesting. The story is not challenging, nor is it very original, however the humor and how lightly it takes itself is refreshing. To me it is a good example of a brain dead comedy, except there is a point here, as cliché as it may be. In the end, I found Nankin's sense of humor brilliant; subtle, well-timed and well thought out it is not for those looking for hard laughs, these are chuckles and they come rapidly. Many readers will not get it, but for those looking for a change of pace in their comedy, take a peak at this next time you see this at the bookstore. Imperfect as this story is, it does the job well.


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