Love Master A Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Go! Comi
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-933617-60-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Love Master A

Love Master A Vol. #01

By Sakura Eries     March 28, 2008
Release Date: November 27, 2007


Love Master A Vol.#01
© Go! Comi


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kyoko Hashimoto
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:

What They Say
Determined to start a new life away from all the rumors and nicknames, Aria transfers to a new school - only to find that thanks to the nosy boys of the student council, her reputation has preceded her! Ironically nicknamed "The Love Master" due to her bad luck with romance, Aria nevertheless decides to turn over a new leaf: helping other couples overcome their problems, whether they like it or not!

The Review
Packaging:
Hearts abound in the front cover illustration, featuring Aria and her not exactly love interest Jin. Jin, exuding his characteristic confidence, has his left fist thrust forward and his right arm wrapped around a flustered looking Aria. Both are in casual street clothes with hearts tastefully incorporated into the designs. Aria has on a reddish tank top overlain by a sleeveless frilly white top, while Jin wears a dark red hooded sweatshirt with a denim vest over it. Behind them is a background of pinkish polkadots on white. The title logo, which is placed at the top, is a combination of the words "Love Master" in bold block capitals colored in pink followed by a script "A" decorated with sparkles. Just below the title to the left is the author's name in plain black text.

The title logo is repeated at the top of the back cover as is the background of pinkish polkadots. An illustration of the student council members wearing various white tops and holding hearts takes up the lower half of the back cover. Just above the Love Master A crew is a short story synopsis. At the bottom are age and publisher icons and the ISBN code.

This title also includes a one-page thank you from the author, translator notes, and ads for other Go! Comi titles. The materials are satisfactory, but the pages are too closely bound in some places. The quality of the printing is inconsistent. Generally, it's satisfactory, but in places, the drawings are overly dark while in other places some of the finer screentones and shadings are so faint you can barely see them. Also, the splash page illustrations have a muddy look.

Artwork:
Hashimoto has a clean art style. Love Master is a comedy so she uses a lot of exaggerated expressions for effect but doesn't use chibis. The student council is set up to be sort of a reverse harem, so all the boys (and the cross-dressing Mizuki) are very pretty in their handsomeness with Aria as the cute not-quite-normal girl in the group. Hashimoto incorporates a lot of details into characters' almost overly complicated uniforms and other clothes. However, backgrounds, especially in the "lost in the forest" chapter, tend to be simplistic, and the layout tends to be a bit cluttered. Particularly in the first two chapters, Hashimoto tries to squeeze a lot of panels into her pages, especially in the action/chase sequences.

Text/Translation:
Go! Comi keeps some of the original Japanese sound effects with translations placed beside them, and in other places, the Japanese is replaced with English overlays. They've done a thorough job translating the sound effects; the lettering styles are easy to read and match that of the originals. Papers and most signs are translated with overlays.

The translation maintains Japanese honorifics. They also translate interjections, mumblings, and grumblings literally from the Japanese, which can be a little confusing for those that are unfamiliar with the sound of the Japanese language (i.e., "fu, fu, fu, fu" as an indicator of anger). I caught a couple of grammar glitches in the dialogue, including a typo on Aria's last name. The Translator's Notes does a decent job of explaining cultural references; however, I was surprised that the term "bishie" was used but no translation was offered for it. One of the characteristics of Jin is that he's an idiot and therefore often misuses or misinterprets phrases. The translators have attempted to transpose these puns into English with partial success.

Content:
Aria Sakurai is a high school freshman with an unusual reputation. Since elementary school, she has been seeking love, but all of her confessions have been rejected. Fifty rejections later, Aria is a social outcast with the ironic nickname "The Love Master." Because she's unable to have any semblance of an ordinary high school social life, Aria decides to renounce love and transfer to a new school in hopes making a fresh start as a normal high school student.

Unfortunately, Aria's plans are dashed the very first day of school. No sooner has she introduced herself to her new classmates than Jin, the school's handsome Student Council Health and Safety Coordinator bursts into her homeroom. Proclaiming Aria to be the Student Council President, he promptly whisks her off to the Student Council room!

Apparently, the principal at Tonohashi High selects the Student Council members the moment the students enter, and Aria finds herself abruptly thrown into the student council comprised of the stoic, sword toting Chikayasu, the cross-dressing misogynist Mizuki, the self-absorbed techie Kurusu, and the energetic airhead Jin.

If dealing with the quirky members of the student council isn't enough, Aria is horrified to discover that her reputation as the Love Master has preceded her to her new high school! However, there's a twist: her new classmates think that Aria attracted boys in droves instead of repelling them! As a result, she finds herself approached by one and all about love problems. While Aria has given up on love for herself, she's still a diehard romantic and throws herself wholeheartedly into helping others with romance even as she tackles her duties as head of the Student Council. But as love flourishes around her, will she be able to hold to her vow, especially with gorgeous Jin coming time and again to her aid?

Comments
This is a very shallow romantic comedy with a cast of characters with extreme personalities. That particular theme is not uncommon in shojo manga, and Love Master isn't very successful in making it fresh or interesting. Hashimoto does give her characters unique quirks and put them into bizarre situations. However, their personalities are ultimately their quirks, and as such, they're not particularly compelling or endearing. Mizuki is the exception; there are hints of more than meets the eye to the cross-dressing member of the student council, but Hashimoto doesn't expand on it at all.

The main character Aria is to be a mass of contradictions. Some of the humor stems from those contradictions (one of the main jokes is that Aria remains gung ho about romance despite having been burned repeatedly), but after a certain point, her character doesn't seem to jibe with her supposed dilemma. Because of the repeated refusals to her enthusiastic confessions, Aria is a social pariah of such magnitude that she's been starving for friendship for the past eight years by the time she makes her transfer to Tonohashi. One would think that she'd lack social skills never having had a single friend. However, she simply comes off as eager and enthusiastic about others. In addition, Kurusu's analysis is that Aria is "the best at adapting to her surroundings and proving herself useful... highly skilled, aesthetically pleasing." If that analysis were correct, couldn't she be able to redeem herself socially without having to take the extreme measure of transferring schools?

Rated teen for attempted sexual assault.

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