Kingdom Hearts II Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-4278-0058-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Kingdom Hearts II

Kingdom Hearts II Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     July 25, 2007
Release Date: July 30, 2007

Kingdom Hearts II Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shiro Amano
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
In the quiet little hamlet of Twilight Town, there lives a boy named Roxas. He and his friends Hayner, Pence, and Olette are trying to enjoy their final days of summer vacation when strange things begin to happen. First the group is falsely accused of stealing photos from all over town. Then they are attacked by bizarre, white creatures. But the oddest occurrences are the recurring dreams Roxas has of a boy named Sora, and the presence of a girl named Namine, who has a mysterious secret to share with Roxas.

The Review
Kingdom Hearts II begins in Twilight Town where a boy named Roxas is spending his summer goofing off with friends. There are the usual activities - eating popsicles, griping about homework, scuffles with rival gangs - but he's also been having peculiar dreams of far-off lands and a boy named Sora. And that's to say nothing of the weird phantoms and cloaked figures that he's been running into all over town lately! Then things really start to get interesting when he meets a young girl named Namine who lives in the town's old haunted mansion. If the only friends he's ever known are here in Twilight Town, how can he talk to a girl named Kairi in his mind and who's this Axel guy from Organization XIII? And what could possibly explain the keyblade that keeps popping up in his hands? The mysterious figures all seem to have their own agendas, but Roxas is more interested in what Namine can tell him about his connection to this boy named Sora.

Thus the third installment of the Kingdom Hearts manga franchise opens like its video game counterpart: with new characters, mysterious beginnings and vague connections that don't quite make sense (yet). Newcomers would likely be at a loss to understand the events in this volume, but frankly, anyone actually picking this series up already knows what to expect.

Shiro Amano's artwork remains cute, comical, and serviceable while remaining reasonably true to the source material. Changes to the story exist to move things along and didn't bother me as a fan in the slightest - actually I found them to be especially helpful here, given the decidedly confusing start to the game. Again the increased page count helps relieve crowded panels and action sequences, but we're afforded fewer sight gags and more mysterious beings. Though the slapstick silliness tones down as the book moves steadily towards a more somber end, there are still plenty of humorous nods to the fans. (Personally, I adored the Velcro-sticky orbs in the Struggle match.)

Reproduction quality is along TOKYOPOP's usual standards, those being satisfactory but not fantastic. The script works; dialogue is easy to read and alternates well between the entertaining and suitably mysterious. SFX, however, continue to be marginally translated, usually only those already in bubbles. The SFX are a little less frequently integrated into the artwork, and so a slight grading dip reflects the failure to make better use of the opportunity to translate them.


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