Kedamono Damono 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: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 1-59816-823-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Kedamono Damono Vol. #01

By Matthew Alexander     March 22, 2007
Release Date: March 13, 2007


Kedamono Damono Vol.#01
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Haruka Fukushima
Translated by:Michelle Kobayashi
Adapted by:Jamie S. Rich

What They Say
Konatsu is the manager of the boys' basketball team, and has a crush on her senpai, who oversees the team - and is a real jerk. But as Konatsu confides in Haruki, their relationship begins to grow closer. The only problem? Haruki is a boy by day... and a really pervy girl by night!

The Review
Another gender-bending story about a boy who turns into a girl as soon as the sunsets, only this time his girlfriend knows about it and actually likes the girl form better. Yeah, yuri . . . sort of.

Packaging:
I am not a fan of Kedamono damono's front cover. Aside from the mediocre character design, when compared to the original release Tokyopop zoomed in on the three characters and changed the background color to a dark purple. Whereas the multiple background colors enjoyably played on the bright colors of the characters for the original release, the purple in Tokyopop's version makes the characters appear garish and unattractive. However, I do like Tokyopop's play on genders with the volume number placed inside a female symbol twisted until it is aligned like a male symbol. The print reproduction is solid from start to finish and there is a large extras section. Aside from a synopsis for volume two, there are thirteen pages of spoof comics the author did about her life and descriptions of the design process for Kedamono damono.

Artwork:
Although not great art, the art inside the book is noticeably better than the cover art. I have no idea why the cover art looks so bad. Fukushima's art style is fairly common in shojo, long fingers, limbs, and humongous eyes. The backgrounds are sparse and the author relies heavily on SD figures for comedic situations. The many instances of blank eyes actually bothered me more than the SD. Panel layout is nicely varied and there are a few full-page pictures, which are always a plus in my book.

Text/SFX:
The text is free of grammar errors and reads well for the most part. However, the dialogue was hard to follow at times when it is just one dialogue box after another. Honorifics are present but the SFX remain un-translated.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Sixteen-year-old Konatsu is the manager for the boys basketball team and she has a huge crush on her senpai Yamaguchi. Such a large crush in fact that she's ready to give it up to him and become a woman. No love triangle would be complete without a third member, enter Haruki. Konatsu and Haruki aren't exactly close but they have a somewhat familiar relationship. When Konatsu learns that Haruki turns into a girl at night there relationship gets a lot more familiar.

Konatsu is really confused about everything she has just learned, but agrees to go on a date with Yamaguchi. Turns out he's a bit of a playboy and when he aggressively puts the moves on Konatsu, she tries to refuse him. Girl Haruki enters the scene and rescues Konatsu. Konatsu is grateful of course, but things get weird when Haruki seduces Konatsu. The next morning Konatsu wakes to find boy Haruki sleeping beside her and she begins to think she may be in love with Haruki.

Thus begins a rather rocky relationship between Konatsu and Haruki. What I found interesting about this storyline is the double relationship Konatsu has with boy and girl Haruki. Boy Haruki is standoffish, whereas girl Haruki is really aggressive and tries to get Konatsu's clothes off at every opportunity. Understandably, this leads to a lot of confusion on Konatsu's part. The whole situation becomes even stranger when Konatsu learns that Haruki has an older sister and younger brother, both of whom change genders at night.

The rest of this volume follows the up and downs of dating a boy who changes into a girl at night. Boy Haruki is rather clueless when it comes to dating and girl Haruki just lets it all hang out. This story definitely has its funny moments, but the overall fast pace of the story makes it impossible for any real character development. The story also feels choppy and lacks any real flow.

Comments
Usually people complain about a particular story dragging in certain areas, but with Kedamono damono the story starts at full speed and never slows. This actually hurts the story telling because it feels rushed and a little forced as it jumps from scene to scene. The story synopsis of a girl with a pervy boy's personality sounded like a good idea, but this story just falls short. The speed of the story never gives the characters a chance to develop and leaves them feeling rather two-dimensional. Instead of thirteen pages of spoof comics about her life as a bonus section, I wish Fukushima had spent more time on writing a story with better flow.

Now I like girl on girl action as much as the next person, but using gender-switching themes to accomplish this can be difficult to pull off. Unfortunately, Kedamono damono fails in its attempt. With the couple of other recent manga releases playing off this same comedic device doing a better job (Kashimashi, Gacha Gacha Next Revolution, and even Tokyopop's Metamo Kiss), you might want to look to them for your gender bending humor. Not only are those titles better, but they also have better art to boot.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 8:37:15 PM

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