Mania Grade: A-
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Text/Translatin Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 1591826276
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
PitaTen Vol. #01
By Mike Dungan
November 18, 2004
Release Date: January 01, 2004
Translated by:Nan Rymer
Adapted by:What They Say
A Lonely Lad, an Adorable Angel, and Hyperactive Hijinks... It's a hard life for Kotarou. His father is always away on business, and his mother recently passed away. He spends a lot of time alone... and he hates it. Maybe he can make good use of his solitude - his middle school exams are looming ahead, and he needs to buckle down and study hard. But his concentration - along with his loneliness - is shattered when a zany girl named Misha unexpectedly moves in next door to him. Soon, Misha starts cropping up everywhere Koratou goes! Although she seems to have a stalker's mentality, Misha claims she's an angel. Her mission: To make sure Koratou is happy and safe. That's a tall order, since misha seems to know almost nothing about life on Earth!The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Okay, so imagine you're a 6th-grade boy who basically lives alone. Mom just died and dad is always away on business. It's a pretty lonely life. Now imagine a very pretty older girl shows up outside your door one morning, dressed in a bizarre pseudo-Victorian maid's outfit with about 20 pounds of accessories in her hair, including two bunnies, and she blares out "Please go out with me!" If you're Kotarou Higuchi, you run the other way.
Once at school, we meet his friends. There's sweet, adorable Koboshi Uematsu, who likes Kotarou. Then there's Takashi Ayanokoji, whom every one calls Ten-chan. He's athletic, smart, handsome and very personable. Kotarou runs into the strange girl at school. Her name is Misha, and she's attending the middle school next door. Everywhere he goes, he runs into her. She's outside his third-floor classroom window. She's outside his balcony door at home. She's waiting for him after class. She's his next door neighbor, and she won't leave him alone. She claims she's an angel, and she's come to relieve his loneliness. What she's really doing is interfering with his studying for his middle school exams. Koboshi doesn't care for her hanging all over Kotarou, and Ten-chan just thinks it's all rather funny. The fact that she actually is an angel doesn't really register with Kotarou, despite seeing her wings.
On a Halloween outing, the festivities are interrupted by the appearance of a very beautiful girl in black clothing. She's very sweet and demure, dressed rather ornately, and holding a tall staff. Kotarou and Misha suffer terrible headaches when she appears, bad enough that Misha collapses. Kotarou protects Misha and the girl leaves without a word. The next day, she appears at school, and introduces herself to Kotarou. Her name is Shia, and she's trying to make friends with him. But the headaches return. Kotarou grabs the incapacitated Misha and takes her to the infirmary. The time together gives them an opportunity to really talk for the first time.
Next, Misha wins a trip for four to a hot springs, so she, Kotarou, Koboshi and Ten-chan head for the mountains. While there, Misha and Koboshi get a chance to talk for once, and it's a wonderful little conversation. Later, when Kotarou goes out to buy some drinks, he runs into Shia again. The headaches return, but he's able to talk to her. There is something she wants, but she's reluctant to ask.Comments
Koge-Donbo is best known as the creator Di Gi Charat, as well as the character designer for the anime "A Little Snow Fairy Sugar". Pita-Ten is her take on a shonen manga, and it works beautifully. Misha is a bundle of insane cuteness and cheeriness. She punctuates the end of nearly every sentence with "su!" and her speech is very cutesy-wutesy. At first, Pita-Ten seemed more like a marketing exercise, but when Shia arrives, it starts to feel more like a real story. Shia is clearly a danger to Kotarou and especially Misha, but at the same time, she doesn't act dangerous and in fact looks like she wants to be friends. The mystery of who she is and what she is to Kotarou gives the story the kick it needs to grab teh reader's interest.
Koge-Donbo's artwork is cute yet beautiful. She has a sometimes busy look that never overwhelms the reader. She uses screentones sparingly, prefering to use strong constrast to bring out depth. Occassionally, she provide a panel of stunning art, highlighting a character's beauty. She also puts in funny little four-panel gag strips at the end of each chapter for a little fun.
Adam Arnold, who had the unenviable task of creating the English adaptation, including Misha's bizarre speech patterns, did an admirable job. Some people may find her wuvable speechy-weechy way of talking way too annoying su! But from what I can tell, that's pretty much how she sounds in Japanese. The art reproduction is about on par for Tokyopop. It could be better, but it could have been worse. Very occassionally, a sound effect will get translated, but not nearly enough. The cover is a beautiful image of Misha in her black and white dress, her wings on display behind her. The image is surrounded by a soft pastel pink glow, all of it on a white background. The logo is in English, but does a good job of emulating the Japanese logo. The overall effect is stunning, one of the more beautiful covers in my collection. The back cover is white with a comic image of Misha trying to fly, though the word balloon next to her is untranslated. Knowing her, though, it's probably gibberish.
Halfway through this book, I was thinking "cute, but not special". And then Shia arrived. At that point, the book became fascinating and I couldn't wait for more. Each release is now eagerly anticipated, and I strongly recommend it.