Night of the Beasts Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Go! Comi
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-933617-14-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Night of the Beasts Vol. #01

By Jarred Pine     November 14, 2006
Release Date: October 01, 2006


Night of the Beasts Vol.#01
© Go! Comi


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Chika Shiomi
Translated by:Kathy Schilling
Adapted by:Jake Forbes

What They Say
High school tough girl Aria is notorious for taking on her school's worst bullies. But punching out jerks is nothing compared to what happens when she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the demonically possessed Sakura, a guy who would as readily rip apart his own parents as seek her healing embrace. Sakura says Aria has the power to save him, but will she be able " or even willing to?


The Review
Chika Shiomi crafts an intriguing supernatural mystery with nice horror elements, but keeps true to the shoujo roots by providing a slowly budding relationship in the middle of it all.

Packaging:
A very bright and vibrant cover immediately grabs the eye's attention, with a nicely done logo that blends in with the cover. Print reproduction is very sharp and very clean. Well done! There are a couple sidebar free-talks included, as well a two-page preview of the second volume and a short creator bio.

Art:
Artwork really excels during the action and suspense sequences, employing techniques that would be found in a good thriller title to do a nice job at keeping that anticipation level high. When there's not a lot of action going on, the artwork is good but not at the same level. Characters' necks begin to grow, elongating the already lanky shoujo designs. Backgrounds are also a little sparse, but the clever panel compositions make up for it.

Text/SFX:
SFX are translated, using a variety of techniques from subs to overlays. This is really how SFX translation should be done. Pick what works best for each bit of text, rather than apply a general solution for all. I just have to applaud the care and effort put forth there. The English script is solid; a very enjoyable read that is true to its characters, especially giving Aria that right attitude. Honorifics are used, along with a guide at the front of the book.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When it comes to shoujo heroines, I definitely prefer the ones who take the world by their hands and feel empowered; rather than the wimpy, more frightened ones self-sacrificing themselves for the good of a man. While I see appeal in watching the kitten develop into lion, so to speak, there's something much more interesting about a girl trying to be herself without kowtowing to the pressures of society; getting to know her as her environment slowly chips away at the rough exterior. Yes, I'm a Nana Osaki kind of guy.

So you can imagine by immediately piqued interest when 8 pages into the volume when we are introduced to outlandishly dressed, 17-year-old Aria cracking the skulls of two boys who were picking on a couple girls. She has a strong distaste for men, especially the tomcat types, most likely as a result of her late-mother's past; and she takes out the frustrations of her life out on the young boys, becoming quite the idol in the eyes of the girls at school. My heart goes pitter, patter.

Aria's life gets even more turned upside-down after she runs into a mysterious stranger, named Sakura, with a dark secret--he lives with a 600-year-old demon inside of him that threatens to take over his soul and take the lives of thousands of innocent people. However, their meeting isn't by chance. It seems that due to Aria sharing an ancient bloodline with Sakura, she is able to quell the beast inside of him. As one who protects others, Aria will now not only protect everyone from the beast within Sakura, but also Sakura himself from the mysterious men who are trying to have him killed.

What Chika Shiomi does quite well in this first volume is crafting a story that appeals to a good cross-section of readers: shoujo, shounen, seinen, whatever. The main storyline features a good amount of suspense as Aria tries to uncover what is behind all these supernatural happenings, illustrated with a definite horror/thriller style that makes for an engaging read.

For those who like shoujo relationships, Chika Shiomi doesn't leave you hanging. For Aria, Sakura is the first man in which she doesn't think is "lame", well at first maybe she did. She understands the pain he is going through, quite possible because of her own tragic past. Her need to protect may draw her to him initially, but slowly Sakura begins to chip away at that stone exterior of Aria's. This first volume is probably more weighted to the supernatural mystery side of things, but you can see the potential for Aria and Sakura's developing relationship.

Comments
Night of the Beasts has a lot going in its favor with this first volume. It is quite clear why Go!Comi picked up this title--good crossover audience appeal. Chika Shiomi crafts an intriguing supernatural mystery with nice horror elements, but keeps true to the shoujo roots by providing a slowly budding relationship in the middle of it all. Therefore, it's not all angst and melodrama as well as not all blood and guts horror. It's a happy medium that I believe many manga readers will enjoy; and another solid entry into the growing Go!Comi library.

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