Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. #02 -

Manga Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translation Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Released By: Yen Press
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 195
  • ISBN: 978-0759528604
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. #02

Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. #02 Manga Review

By Thomas Zoth     August 02, 2010
Release Date: October 31, 2009

Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. #02
© Yen Press
What They Say
When Alex's sister, Sarah, vanishes and all memory and evidence of her existence is erased, Alex is determined to get to the bottom of her sister's disappearance. What better place to start her investigations than the Nightschool itself? But when she discovers that sneaking into the Nightschool isn't as simple as it might seem, Alex enrolls as a student. But is she prepared for what she might find?

The Review!
Just because you're a millennia old master of arcane arts and sciences, it doesn't necessarily mean you're organized.

Contents(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):

In the last class, we finished off with the disappearance of older sister and night keeper Sarah Treveney. Sarah's likeness disappeared from photos and peoples' memories, and she appeared to be erased from history. Younger sister and Weirn in training Alex wastes no time and heads up to the school to find out what happened. Unfortunately, she's quickly apprehended and thrown out before she can snoop around. She runs into the young vampire she'd previously been spying on in the graveyard, who offers to sell her a counterfeit night pass. The pass, which dispels the glamour that makes the school appear silent and unoccupied, would allow her to explore the school grounds at her leisure. Alas, she runs into the student council, whose leaders don't recognize her, and her pass is torn up. Alex is left with no choice but to enroll in the school itself.

Meanwhile, hunter badass Daemon speaks to powerful but absent-minded teacher Mr. Roi in an attempt to track down the silver-haired girl who incapacitated several of his hunters. Of course we know that this girl is Alex, and the inevitable meeting between Daemon and Alex can be expected to be exciting indeed, but the inevitable confrontation does not occur in this volume. Roi has to check his notes to find out which of the countless demons he dispatched over the past thousand years might be responsible, so Daemon is left to do some negotiating with the werewolves who were deprived of a seer by Daemon himself in the first volume.

With the disappearance of Sarah, Nightschool basically has two stories going on. One is the amusing, fun, Harry-Potterish story of Alex in the magical Nightschool, and the other is the more serious and cliched vampire hunter story. When the two inevitably collide, the story should get the right mix of humor and drama, but as of now the story is still a bit schizophrenic. The same might be said of mangaka Chmakova's talents. I continue to be impressed by her dialogue, as it's extremely witty, and it really gets across how banal the fantasy world seems to the more cynical characters. Sure, the school might seem wondrous for the first few months, but it's still school for the students and work for the teachers. There's only so many times the layout can change on you before you just get sick of it all. Even more impressive are the layouts: It's clear Chmakova has studied her Tezuka, and the way she lays out her panels on individual pages, on two page spreads, and even the clever effects she creates for the viewer when pages are turned are a delight to see.

Less impressive, however are some of the character designs. There are two young African American girls with similar hairstyles that are very hard to tell apart. The cast, especially for the hunters, seems a little too large, and not all of the characters really have unique personalities, even at this point. And as the two stories have yet to merge, I'm still not exactly sure where Chmakova is taking the overall story. In spite of these weaknesses, in the second volume Chmakova works primarily with her strengths, making it an improvement over the first.

In Summary:
While I still don't know where it's heading, Nightschool is still a fun read. The dialogue and page layouts are top-notch, even if the larger story is still a little muddled and directionless. While I still have to say Nightschool is still more potential than solid product as of the second volume, Chmakova's talents cannot be denied. It's a step up from the first volume in terms of artistry, and I'm eagerly looking forward to more.

Writer/Artist: Svetlana Chmakova

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