Kids Joker Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0162-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Kids Joker Vol. #01

By Jarred Pine     April 04, 2005
Release Date: March 07, 2005

Kids Joker Vol.#01
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Maki Fujita
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
Adapted by:

What They Say
Hotaru spends her school days dreaming of becoming a police officer and defending well-mannered citizens from the villains of her community. Her opportunity to protect and serve presents itself much sooner than she expected, but when she attempts to protect a classmate, she’ll need more than just a helping hand. Yui, a secret agent who defends the innocent, comes to the rescue, but he might need a little rescuing himself! Hotaru’s new goal is to infiltrate Yui’s secret agency, but she won’t get inside without collecting a few bumps and bruises along the way!

The Review
Since this an uncorrected galley proof, there will be no packaging grade.

The artwork is pretty standard shoujo material, although I found it a little bit on the sloppy side. The character designs feature mostly thin line work with darker lines around the eyes. There were many instances where the characters were disproportioned or off model and many times the faces were left completely blank. Another problem was that a few of the characters looked too similar and I had trouble distinguishing between them, like Moriguchi and Kumiko in the first chapter.

The background art is minimal and simple. There’s a lot of white space and a lot of close-ups in order to fill in the empty space. The few action scenes feature average artwork and are not very clean. The panel work was a little too busy, as a few times I had troubles deciding how to read the page.

The SFX are subbed next to the originals. I like this method, but there were a few times where the subs were a bit too big as they were trying to mimic the originals. This left some panels feeling a bit cluttered. The translation is done very well and flows along with the story. There are no honorifics used.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Hotaru is a reckless high school girl with a dream of becoming a police officer. She beats up perverts and comes to the aid of those in trouble. One day while coming to the aid of a new transfer student, Hotaru has a run-in with a mysterious man who seems to be the transfer student’s bodyguard. It turns out this man is Yui, a secret agent who was on the job, and Hotaru suddenly becomes interested in his line of work and constantly bugs Yui to become his partner and help out with his cases.

Hotaru is the center of this manga and I found myself really enjoying her confrontational yet driven personality. She’s a little hot-headed and quick to fight, but she is a strong character that has strong convictions and loves protecting others when they are in trouble. She has a dream and will do whatever it takes to make that dream a reality. There also seems to be a dark past as she is constantly using some unknown motivation to push herself to become tougher and have no regrets. I think it is a good thing that the story revolves completely around her, since that is where most of my enjoyment came from. Yui is a little bland, but it is interesting watching him in action. If this becomes a buddy-cop type of story, I could see this combination providing a good amount of laughs and action.

The first two chapters are setup for Hotaru and Yui, as they both participate in a couple of cases, even if Hotaru was told not to get involved. Yui constantly antagonizes Hotaru, to which she usually responds violently. The two end up solving the cases and Hotaru realizes that it takes a lot more to become a police officer and that she must keep getting stronger. The cases are only mildly interesting, as the pace is really much too quick with no real character development with the exception of Hotaru.

The last two chapters are the beginning of a longer storyline as Hotaru and Yui find themselves in the middle of gang warfare as they are setup by a young punk wanting revenge for getting his butt kicked by Hotaru. While the pace is a little better and there is more time for character development, the impact of the cliffhanger ending doesn’t have as much of an impact as I think it should. I feel for Hotaru, but I really don’t feel any connection with all the other characters from the secret agency. They are glanced over too briskly.

While I like the strong female lead and buddy-cop storyline possibilities, Fujita seems to have a lot of problems with pacing. With the exception of Hotaru, the rest of the characters come off flat as there isn’t any time given to developing them. This is a slight problem as the last half of the volume features a storyline that could have had more of an impact if the proper development was accomplished.

Much of the enjoyment of this volume hinges on whether or not the reader will like Hotaru. She is a bit violent and quick to anger, but her over-the-top reactions and frustrated moments offer some humor, making her character stand out. There are hints to a darker past in Hotaru’s life that would explain why she pushes herself so hard, which gives her more dimensions than the rest of the cast. I hope Fujita’s storytelling tightens up in later volumes, as I really want to find out more about Hotaru and whether or not she will achieve her dream.


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