Love Attack Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-4278-0294-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Love Attack

Love Attack Vol. #01

By Sakura Eries     January 17, 2008
Release Date: December 30, 2007

Love Attack Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shizuru Seino
Translated by:Adrienne Beck
Adapted by:

What They Say
Chiemi Yusa's high school record is far from perfect. She's already been suspended twice for fighting, and she's not even half-way through her first year! In danger of getting expelled for starting yet another brawl, her teacher approaches her with an unexpected offer: get her classmate Akifumi "Deranged Devil" Hirata, the nastiest fighter in the whole school, to clean up his act, and her record will officially be cleared.

Reluctantly she accepts, and immediately goes on the attack. But as she's waiting for him to retaliate, she discovers that he has more in store for her than just a fight!

The Review
The front cover features an illustration of Chiemi in a fighting stance. Wearing a black tank top and her left fist wrapped in bandages, she looks ready to knock someone out. She stands against a white background surrounded by blood splotches. The title logo, in bullet-ridden white lettering outlined with pink, is angled across the center and incorporates heart shapes in the design. The mangaka's name and the volume number are located to the lower left in the same lettering as the title logo. Along the right edge of the front cover is a bandage inspired design with the Tokyopop label in pink at the top.

The back cover has the same white and blood splotch background and bandage edge design as the front. An illustration of Chiemi and Hirata in their school uniforms is aligned to the right. Chiemi faces forward, throwing a punch with her left fist while Hirata faces away with his hands in his pockets. Aligned to the left is the title logo followed by the story summary in pink lettering against a light pink background. Rating and genre icons are run along the very bottom.

Binding and materials are satisfactory. The only extras included are splash illustrations, a teaser for Volume 2 of Love Attack, and ads for other Tokyopop titles.

The character designs most closely fall into the shojo category, and there are a number of stereotypical sparkly, large-eyed tender moment illustrations. However, this is a romantic comedy with uber-violent characters so facial features are more often than not distorted into extremely aggressive, often demon-like, expressions for fight scenes or otherwise exaggerated for comic effect. (Chiemi's face gets squished a lot.) Overall, the characters tend to look simple and flat. Hirata is always unmistakable with his darker skin tone and bandanna, but Chiemi isn't particularly distinct. There were places in the manga where you could easily mistake her for her male cousin, Mizuki.

Backgrounds and the use of tones for fights, embarrassing moments, and lovey-dovey scenes are satisfactory. Fight sequences, though numerous, tend to be short -- just a couple of panels to show that they're brawling before Seino switches to the roughed up aftermath. The point of the fights is more often to show how ridiculous the characters are and less about portraying brawls realistically or inspiring dread in the reader.

As with most recent Tokyopop titles, sound effects are not translated. Tokyopop has retained the honorifics in this translation, but there is no explanation of Japanese honorific terms provided. Seasoned manga readers can figure it out, but this is probably not the best choice as a first title for a new manga reader. Magazines, signs, and papers are translated with overlays. Tokyopop uses a decent variation of lettering styles, but the font size gets really really small in a number of places.

Regarding, the dialogue translation, they’ve tried to portray Chiemi and Hirata as rough, tough characters, but it doesn’t quite work for Chiemi. Not that I’m a proponent of foul language (I’m not), but it sounds strange for a teenage girl to refer to her family as “d_mn family” at one point in the story and then later say she’s in “deep doo-doo” later on in the story.

Chiemi Yusa’s in big trouble. She’s not even through her first semester in high school, and she’s about to be expelled for fighting at school. However, her teacher offers her an interesting proposition: if Chiemi can get her classmate Akifumi Hirata, a.k.a. Deranged Devil, to clean up his act, her record will be cleared. Chiemi has serious qualms about going up against the toughest male fighter at school, but she's desperate not to get kicked out of school. Finding Hirata, she deals him a stunning kick to the head along with an admonishment to shape up!

The next day, she’s regretting her actions, and when he comes after her in homeroom, she thinks she’s in store for payback in the worst way possible. But to everyone's shock, Hirata asks her out in front of the entire class and promptly whisks her away so they can get to know each other better!

As it turns out, Hirata’s nothing Chiemi thought he was. He’s certainly a tough fighter, but while he attracts trouble he doesn’t go looking for it. And the reason for his poor attendance at school is because of difficult family circumstances, not rebellion. As for his attraction to Chiemi, he’s impressed by her – not just because she can fight but because she doesn’t fight without good cause. Plus, he thinks she’s good looking. Chiemi's, who's had her share of being misunderstood, realizes that they have more in common than she realized, and after a few misunderstandings, Chiemi and Hirata end up as a couple!

Despite being dubbed the school’s “scariest couple," they aren't much different than any other pair of teens in their first relationship, It's really your typical high school romance as they hang out together, stumble through their first date, struggle with jealous feelings, and beat the snot out of the thugs that regularly come after them!

The cover design and the story summary might lead you to think that the manga’s heroine is either a hardened yankee or a yakuza babe. Quite the contrary, Chiemi is a character more along the lines of Tsukushi from Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango). She’s strong and rough around the edges certainly, but her fights are usually about defending others, and she actually does care about her school record. As such, this isn’t a story about brawling delinquents, but more of a violent parody of shojo fluff.

Although there is fighting, there's a lot more observation and talking than action in this title. Hirata's probably the most talkative "boyfriend" character I've seen in a while. He explains his entire history in two pages and readily expresses himself. He's definitely not the "strong but silent" type!

Love Attack is far from high level humor (Hirata's spittoon story had me gagging an entire afternoon). Most of the jokes come from setting the characters up in what would normally be an awkward or tender romantic moment and replacing the drippy angst with a battle aura. Seino is essentially poking fun at all of the trials and tribulations of teenage romance with characters whose first instinct is to scream and throw their fists. You have to suspend belief with certain parts of the story. After all, Chiemi's teacher's proposition would probably get a real teacher fired, and the thugs in Chapter 3 are just plain weird as they force their captives to cosplay. But the premise and the tone of the manga is so crazy that you just accept it.

This title is rated 13+ for some swearing, attempted sexual assault, and lots of violence.


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