Missile Happy Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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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: 208
  • ISBN: 978-1-59816-932-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Missile Happy

Missile Happy Vol. #01

By Sakura Eries     October 12, 2007
Release Date: October 30, 2007

Missile Happy Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Miki Kiritani
Translated by:Angela Liu
Adapted by:

What They Say
Mikako, our over-zealous heroine, has a sister-complex so strong she won't let just any man wed her sister. But when she goes on an undercover investigation to learn more about the latest bachelor, she ends up moving in with him!

The Review
The cover design for this shojo title is bright and colorful. The front cover features an illustration of our hapless heroine Mikako in her blue, white, and red school uniform rushing out of her apartment. To give it an additional girly touch, three flowers decorate the side of the illustration, which takes up the lower two thirds of the front cover. There are white specks dotting this color picture of Mikako, and I can't tell if the white dots are part of the illustration or if they are a printing mishap. About Mikako is the playful blue and orange title logo, which incorporates heart shapes and a tiny, flying pink missile. The cover background is made up of a collage of red, pink, blue, yellow, and orange shapes. The mangaka's name is located to the lower left in white font, and the volume number is located to the right.

The back cover has a multi-color collage design that incorporates black-and-white drawings of various characters from the manga. However, it looks as if the illustrations were enlarged for the purpose of the cover as they have a grainy quality to them. In the center against a red panel is a very brief story summary in white font. Rating and genre icons are in red and to the bottom left.

Binding and materials are satisfactory, but the printing is dark and muddy in areas. This volume contains several extras including the 32-page one-shot manga "Sentimental Spillover" by Kiritani, embedded author's notes, chapter notes, and an author's afterword.

The artwork isn’t particularly impressive. There is an inconsistency to Kiritani's illustrations. Character designs are average shojo with large eyes, skinny bodies and boys with pretty faces. In some places, her drawings are well done, but in others, they look only partially done, as if she was doing a rush job to meet a deadline. Her backgrounds also tend to lack detail. Overall, her style is more rough than refined. She also has a tendency to overcrowd panels in her pages, which interferes with story pacing. The tones and overlapping images she uses in backgrounds only serves to add to the cluttered feel of her pages, and on many pages, less would definitely have been more.

A couple of sound effects are translated by side text; however, the vast majority of sound effects are not translated. Signs, books, and ID cards are translated with overlays. Dialogue translation is satisfactory, but translation of the post-manga author's notes is awkward in places. Tokyopop uses a decent variation of lettering styles, but the font size gets really really small in a number of places.

Tokyopop has retained the honorifics in this translation, but there is no explanation of Japanese honorific terms provided. However, the English terms "brother" and "sister" are used instead of the Japanese terms. A few Japanese cultural references are explained in footnotes, but Tokyopop could have done a more complete job with their cultural notes. There is a humorous scene where Mikako puts on a yukata with the folds reversed. A definition for yukata is included, but Tokyopop fails to mention that yukata folds are only arranged the reversed way for a dead person. As such, most non-Japanese readers would fail to appreciate the full extent of Mikako's embarrassment.

15-year-old Mikako Saeki and her 23-year-old sister Megumi were orphaned 12 years ago. Because Mikako lost her parents at such an early age, she's become extremely attached to Megumi and has developed somewhat of a sister complex. So when Megumi agrees to their uncle's suggestion of a marriage meeting, Mikako is horrified that her sister would even consider wedding a strange man. Determined to find a way to prevent the marriage, Mikako decides to thoroughly investigate Megumi's prospective marriage partner to find some dirt on him that will cause her sister to reject him.

And Mikako decides that the fastest, most effective way to investigate this man is to live with him!

Megumi leaves for a three-week business trip, and Mikako takes that opportunity to investigate the prospective marriage partner, Rou Kitajima. She shows up on his doorstep with the claim that the rental agency double-leased his apartment to both of them and demands that he allow her to live with him for three weeks.

And interestingly enough, he agrees.

Mikako quickly learns that Rou is unlike anything she imagined. For starters, he's only a 17-year-old high school student! Also, while he comes from a rich family, he works part-time and scrimps to get by. He's aspiring to become a doctor by his own efforts in defiance of his father who wants him to take over the family cosmetic business. Rou also has no intention of meeting with any prospective marriage partners -- his father just keeps sending him women's profiles in an effort to entice him home. The longer Mikako lives with him, the more she finds herself admiring him and drawn to him.

When Megumi finally returns to Japan, Mikako voices no objection to her marriage meeting with Rou and in fact encourages Megumi to meet with him. However, Megumi is instantly aware of Mikako's mixed feelings about the situation. So being the good big sister she is, she manipulates the marriage meeting to get Mikako and Rou to confess their feelings for one another.

In an interesting twist, Megumi unexpectedly falls in love with Rou's older brother Sei at the marriage meeting. Sei and Megumi decide to live together so Megumi kicks Mikako out of the apartment and tells her to go back and live with Rou.

Sounds like a happy ending? Well, not really. Mikako has a lot of insecurities about the depth of Rou's feelings for her. And living together chastely (as enforced by big sister Megumi) is really really hard for a healthy 17-year-old male. Not to mention, Rou's father has not given up on trying to convince his son to come back. Who knows what he will do to get him to take over the family business!

With a title like Missile Happy, I originally thought this manga was a science fiction story. It's not. It is most definitely a silly, fluffy comedy romance about a couple that meets under very unusual circumstances. After the bizarreness in the first chapter that establishes their dating relationship, the stories turn into more standard, hackneyed shojo plots, centering around the female character's insecurities about the relationship and how her boyfriend continuously reassures her of his devotion.

Overall, the story is more exasperating than entertaining, mainly because of main character Mikako. First of all, she's just stupid. Granted, this is shojo fantasy, but what 15-year-old girl in her right mind would try to force a strange man to live with her and not think that there's something weird about him if he agrees? Second of all, she has a really disagreeable attitude. She goes into her investigation already assuming that there is something wrong with Rou. And while she is making him out to be the bad guy, she's the one who is lying about her identity and her reason for moving in, plus she's imposing on his space. Finally, she's inconsistent. When Mikako first learns about the prospective marriage meeting, her sister complex kicks into high gear, instigating the whole Rou investigation. However, when Sei moves in (he's not just dating, he's moving in!) with Megumi, Mikako just lets herself be kicked out. What happened to the sister-complex fighting spirit?!

Big sister Megumi is not much better. She knows that Mikako and Rou are in love and essentially forces them to live together, but anytime Rou looks at Mikako with any hint of desire, she's ready to kill the boy.

The humor of the story is supposed to stem for the wackiness of the characters and the situations they get into. However, I tired of the hijinks of irrational, ultraviolent women very quickly. The romance aspect of the story isn't much better, primarily because it's never really clear why Rou is in love with Mikako. He is the stereotypical perfect boyfriend. He's smart, hard-working, ever considerate of his girlfriend's needs, handsome, ambitious, and a rebel with a cause. Despite her initial prejudice against him, Mikako herself enumerates his good points. A boy like that can do a lot better than a lying, violent, selfish girl with no appeal other than she's a good cook.

This title is rated 13+ for some swearing, sexual innuendo, and some violence.


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