Jazz Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-56970-935-1
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Jazz Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     May 17, 2006
Release Date: December 01, 2005

Jazz Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Maeda Sakae/Takamure Tamotsu
Translated by:G. Genki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Naoki's illness haunts him like a curse until he meets the one person who gives him a vibrant life. Like a slow jazz refrain, thoughts of his beloved float through every waking moment. But can he make his caretaker's heart sing back? A wounded soul never full recovers... will Naoki suffer the painful blow of unrequited love?

Long after the last sad notes of freeform melody fade into the black of the club, the lingering refrain of Jazz will ensnare you. A loves truck tale that moves to its own dizzy beat, this is one story that promises a little something for every hopeful heart.

The Review
As usual, you will have a hard time finding many publishers that do better production work than DMP. JAZZ looks good inside and out.

The front cover uses the original Japanese art, featuring main characters Narusawa (blonde) and Naoki. The image is a little subuded and a little misleading considering the relationship these two share, but that works perfectly for this volume. The contrast of color with really made Narusawa in particular really jump off the page. DMP also uses the Japanese logo here so they really did very little to get this ready for the English market (I think that's a good thing). And knowing that this is on a dust jacket is worth $2 in my opinion.

Inside the print is very clean. Tone is clean. The alignment and cropping is very good in this tall A5 sized book. Takamure's art is rather delicate, so being able to see the line work clear was critical here. DMP made sure that was possible.

If there was anything that I found strange was the volume description. Man was that misleading. I thought I was reading an unrequited romance instead I got a seriously angsty story with tough tough love.

I have to say I really enjoyed Takamure's art . Main reason being is that the bishies are definitely beautiful men. Strongly built, a little rugged but still sensual, these guys have strong broad shoulders, big hands and built legs and since readers can see them in levels of undress quite a bit all this is easy to see in detail. Costumes do not have much detail, but there is a good reason since one character is a professional and always in uniform. And Takamure even draws women well. They tend to have a little more detail and look tiny compared to the guys, but that makes them stand out more. The line work is relatively thin but clean and really holds her sense of form. Facial expressions have a good amount of detail, especially with the eyes.

Backgrounds are not very consistent. When drawn in they can be detailed, but for the most part they look stale. The layout makes up for things as it sets a tone for this title that is dark and confusing from the start. I was uneasy from very early in this title, long before any of the strange stuff started going down and that prepared me for what was going to be a strange ride.

The translation for JAZZ was a little disappointing. As I have read a good number of DMP titles, I was expecting more of their standard level of quality in regards to honorifics and how voices came through. Unfortunately, they disappoint in both departments. First G. Genki does not use honorifics. Narusawa is called "Doctor Narasawa" or just "doc" by his kohai and his younger patients. It is also hard to tell what Narusawa thinks of Naoki, since you don't know if its Segawa-san or Segawa-kun; instead it is just Naoki (meaning there is a very intimate relationship, but that is not there). I could not distinguish personalities very well and the dialogue bubble direction was a little funky, also.

SFX might get some attention as DMP handled these in a unique way. They are all subbed using a small font as not to compromise Hoshino's great art. What makes this interesting is how readers can go for pages without seeing an SFX.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dr. Narusawa was well known in his hospital for his charm and his kindness. Call him up after midnight and because of his sense of duty, he'd show up with a smile (when other doctors curse at those situations). He takes pride on his patient -doctor relationships and therefore makes sure that what is discussed by with him stays private. He cares about his patients as individuals but at times he might make too much time for his patients that can jeopardize the ideals of his profession.

When an 18-year-old patient came into his office, all that Dr. Narusawa believed in changed. Everything started normally, however Narusawa could quickly see that there would be something different about this patient. Not only was he an 18-year-old who was still going to a pediatrician he was also completely under the control of his mother. He had no freedom but there was something in his eyes that wanted something and reminded Narusawa of his own past. Even though insignificant, Narusawa gave him a bit of freedom in his office. As if his patient's asthma was created by the pressure from his own mother from here on out young Naoki's life was changed forever.

But that would not be it for these two. Sickly Naoki would soon request that Narusawa become his personal physician. Then Naoki would turn to Narusawa for support and friendship. And before leaving for college Naoki wanted one more thing from Narusawa - Narusawa's body!

Narusawa had created a monster. He ended up crossing the line somewhere and he unleashed a part of Naoki that should been kept controlled. He wanted to give Naoki the right to his own decisions but now Narusawa has had his own rights abused by this young man... and he can no longer go back.

Narusawa could forget. Being an adult he should know he has his rights and he can protect himself if he wished to escape. However, the reason he cannot go back is because Naoki gives him the passion missing in his life. He gave Naoki a better life and now Naoki will in turn be the fire Narusawa has been longing.

Sometimes I wonder what people are reading when they type up synopsis or descriptions on the backs of books. Read what DMP says about this volume of Jazz and you might be lead to believe this manga is about unrequited love. You might think Naoki would be the character who has all these feelings running through his heart. But Naoki is nothing like that.

In Jazz I experienced the worst in romance - relationships that start with rape. Rich young man, Naoki, has been coddled so long he doesn't know what his limits are. He is given a little taste of freedom, given a chance to take control of his life, and he does exactly what his parents were doing to him. He became this obsessive controlling freak that could only get his way or else someone will pay the consequences. He drugged, abducted and forced himself on the first person that gave notice to him as an individual (outside of his family) and then began to take control of that person's life. Maeda-sensei has Naoki claim that he does this for love and because he needs his doctor's attention at all times, but there is no compassion and no mutual understanding here.

If Naoki is bad Narusawa is equally as frustrating. This character is a grown man, who seems to somehow be well aware of every situation he willingly walks into. Why he never follows his own advice, as a doctor of all things, is very strange. He gives up everything for an 18-year-old whom he knows is bringing him pain and trouble. He doesn't even love Naoki. I think the doc should get some treatment of his own.


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