Mania Grade: B
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Released By: Yen Press
- MSRP: 10.99
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 978-0-7595-2851-9
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Kieli
Kieli Vol. #01
By Danielle Van Gorder
May 13, 2008
Release Date: April 22, 2008
© Yen Press
Writer/Artist:Yukako Kabei / Shiori Teshirogi
Translated by:Alethea and Athena Nibley
Adapted by:Alethea and Athena NibleyWhat They Say
Kieli sees ghosts. It's an odd ability for a 14-year-old girl, and it makes her a bit of an outcast at her boarding school. Her only friend, in fact, is the semi-departed spirit of a girl who used to inhabit her room. That is, until the two encounter a young man who appears to share Kieli's "gift."
It doesn't take long to discover, though, that Harvey is an altogether different sort of creature - one of the infamous Undying, the reanimated corpse of a dead soldier. Could it be that in this cursed fellow Kieli has finally found a kindred spirit? Throwing in her lot with this strange, soulless man and his possessed radio, she means to find out!The Review
This ain't your parent's invisible rabbit.Packaging
Yen Press doesn't do much in the way of packaging to stand out from the crowd - no slipcovers, color pages, or anything special like that - but what they do, they do very well. The paper quality here is first rate and a bright white, and the print quality is excellent - lines are very crisp, blacks are dark, and the screentone reproduction is just about as good as you'd find in a Japanese release.Art
I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I love the art in this. It might be the contrast between the unabashedly cute characters like Kieli and Becca, and the edgier Harvey, something that might have been grating but instead worked out really well. Teshirogi is very good at creating interesting, dynamic page layouts that take advantage of a number of unusual poses from different angles. The action scenes were a little cluttered, but that's my only real complaint. Text/SFX:
Yen subtitles all sound effects on the page, but instead of using the English equivalents, they use the direct Japanese translation with the English version in parenthesis for the first occurrence of the effect on each page. It's an interesting decision that not everybody is going to like - it does clutter up effect-heavy pages - but I personally thought it was rather fun.
The adaptation itself felt very natural for the most part, with each character having a fairly distinct voice of their own, but a few parts felt slightly stilted, especially in some of the exposition. Overall, though, my complaints are only minor ones, and nothing distracted me from the story itself.Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Eighty years ago, there was a terrible war that left the planet depleted of resources. Immortal soldiers called the Undying, created during the course of the war, were first hailed as heroes, and then as the people started to fear the Undying, hunted down like beasts by church soldiers.
Kieli is an orphan who lives at the Easterbury Boarding School, run by the church. Her only friend is her roommate Becca - who's unfortunately dead. Kieli can see and interact with ghosts and the spirits of the dead, even if nobody else can. One day by chance she crosses paths with Harvey, a strange man with copper-colored hair who shares her strange talent. He refuses to play along with Becca's game, and ends up in a dangerous situation as a result. That's when Kieli discovers that there's more to this man that just his ability to see ghosts - he's actually one of the legendary (and terrifying) Undying.
He's on a journey with the Corporal, a haunted radio, and since he happens to be traveling in the same direction that Kieli plans on going, she tags along with him for a train ride that turns out to be more eventful than they had anticipated. Kieli's insistence on paying attention to ghosts drives Harvey insane - he believes that the only way to deal with them is to ignore them. But, gradually, Kieli's bright attitude grows on him, and he starts to enjoy their journey together.Comments
After only one volume, I have no idea where this series is going. It feels almost like a slice of life type of story, but there are definite hints of a larger story in the works. Kieli is the character who's going to appeal to most readers - and it's easy to see why, with her bright cheerfulness even in the face of adversity, and her casual acceptance of things that would leave most normal people in shock. Still, I thought Harvey, who never spends more than five years associating with any one person to protect himself, to be the more interesting of the pair. And the Corporal is an enigma at this point - he definitely has a bit of a darker side to him, but again it's hard to say what role he'll play in the story to come.
There's a lot going on in the background of this one volume - the war-torn past of the planet, the hinted at power of the church, the fact that there are still Undying in the world even though the church insists they're all dead - it all seems like it could build up to something big, or it may just continue on the slow, meandering path the story is on now. I'm definitely interested enough to check out the next volume.