Land of the Blindfolded Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: CMX
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 206
  • ISBN: 1-4012-0524-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Land of the Blindfolded Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 16, 2005
Release Date: October 20, 2004


Land of the Blindfolded Vol.#01
© CMX


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tsukaba Sakura
Translated by:Sheldon Drzka
Adapted by:

What They Say
A high school girl has the power to see glimpses of the future. Now she must learn how to live in a world of people "blindfolded" to everything but the present.

IS KANADE'S SPECIAL ABILITY A GIFT - OR A CURSE?

Sometimes high school student Outsuka Kanade can see glimpses of a person's future. But when she glimpses an unfortunate incident coming, can she - should she - change it? New classmate Naitou Arou can see a person's past. Are these teen seers of the past and future made for each other? And who is right, Arou with his "hands-off" policy about meddling in people's lives or Kanade, whose more proactive stance has already had unhappy consequences?

The Review
Packaging:
CMX does a solid job with the presentation. The front cover features the original cover art framed in what appears to be an ellipse. The frame is full of the kanji for drama, which is also all over the back cover. The piece on the front is a great image of the two main characters - Outsuka Kanade and Naitou Arou. Arou has his arm around Kanade and her blindfold has come completely undone. Very appropriate for this story.

The opposite cover has a color version of the header page for the manga short After the Festival. I did not like this choice as I felt it was misleading to readers expecting this to come from the main story.

Inside, the printing is very clean. If there will be issues, I would imagine them coming from the paper quality and the tight binding. I liked how they kept the kanji logos on each of the original chapter and title headers. CMX did a great job with the extras. They kept both manga shorts - After the Festival and the Mistaken Man - and that is followed that up by an ato-gaki called "Sakura Mail" (which had an intro to the mangaka and to the characters in this GN).

Artwork:
I love Tsukaba's art. Her character designs are not very fancy, but tend to feel that she is very clean with her work. I like her sense of form and shape and her lines are strong (but not very thick). As this is set in a school setting, I have not seen to much variety in regards to costumes, but the uniforms look good and sharp.

Backgrounds are rather stale, but I won't lie I do not really expect them in shojo or shonen titles any more. The layout is great

Text/SFX:
The translation sounds great. CMX uses honorifics and proper name order, but best of all the dialogue flows well and maintains the individual personalities of the characters. This title tries to make sure its characters have distinct personalities and they all are expressed well. I did not notice any typos or grammatical errors either; which is a good sign for a new publisher.

The SFX are not so great. CMX seems to be inconsistent in regards to what they will translate and what they will not. What is worse is that they are not consistent with how they translate either - overlays or large subs. At least they overlaid all of the aside text, so it was not a total loss.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kanade has been blessed... She can she into the future of some of the people she touches. This has opened up a world that is unique to her; in a place she calls the land of the blindfolded. In this place, she is one of a few that can see outside of the present, aka the blindfold. In this world she can see the good and the bad and if she wishes she can try to change it. This choice gives her power outside of what her eyes can do for her in land of the blindfolded.

Kanade is cursed... While she can see into the future she has no control over who's she sees and what she will see in their future. That means she might witness something wonderful or horrible; she cannot choose. She has to live with these images alone. What she does with that knowledge is up to her, but is she capable of deciding the future as well as witnessing it?

Arou has always considered himself cursed. His blindfold always off. He can see into people's past by touching them or their items. His curse comes from the fact that he cannot change the past, all he can do is watch - good or bad and he can never choose which.

So what should these kids do? They are bound to get hurt if they keep on touching. They would then never get close to people. Keeping their distance would mean holding feelings back and living in isolation. The only real solution is openly touching. Accepting the good and the bad openly and evenly, for there is only so much that people can do. Living alone will not make things easier, unless easy means painful.

Comments
People always say you cannot change the past, but you can influence the future. Well in the Land of the Blindfolded Kanade cannot just see into the future but she believes she can change it. Her new friend has been hurt so much by his ability, seeing the past, which he feels she should just observe. The past like the future is full of positives and negatives, but there is nothing that can be done to what is done. The future can be changed, but there is no telling what changing the future will bring either. Seeing these two struggle with these concepts was great. There is doubt, fear and frustration exhibited by both characters, and when another seer is introduced his perspective introduces a twisted way at looking/using the future. This idea got my mind going, as I wondered about things like karma and relativity. Logic would say that the future that Kanade sees couldn't be changed, because in that future her experiencing the future is already factored. Logic does not apply to everything, and emotions have been known to change things, which is where Kanade gets her inspiration. What will the future bring? Interesting question.

I have to say this manga really has me torn. First, I love the concept. The idea of friends being able to see into opposite spectrums of time is fascinating. They struggle with how to deal with the talent and they have to decide on how to use it. The choices are not easy and as Tsukaba-sensei shows there various ways to go about living this way, but essentially what holds true is that no matter how far removed we are separated by very little in life. Now that I have said that, I would like to say this title is pretty sappy. At first, I expected more angst and more confusion. There is some of that, but the rest of the time is filled with "goody-goody" moments (as the mangaka's mother described it). Tsukaba tried to fix that with the addition of a new character with acceptable results, but I am still not sure if I could hang in with this series if it continues to be so smaltzy. As she noted, humans are not always nice, they can take advantage of others or their kindness s could end up hurting them. Both of those lessons are illustrated, but the execution is so "goody-goody" the meaning almost was lost. Still I love the cast, I love the idea and Tsukaba's art is really growing on me. Fun but a little too nice for my taste.

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