Mania Grade: A
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 1591826284
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
PitaTen Vol. #02
By Mike Dungan
December 13, 2004
Release Date: March 01, 2004
Translated by:Nan Rymer
Adapted by:What They Say
Angelic Antics, a Rowdy Rivalry and Crossdressing Cuteness... When your next-door neighbors are a hyperactive angel and her enigmatic friend, life can be filled with drama - just ask Kotarou. Mayhem magnifies when Kotarou's best friend, Takashi, sprains his ankle right before the elementary school's new play is set to debut! And now Kotarou must take on the lead role as the Moon Princess Kaguya! Will Kotarou get stage fright, or just frighten everyone on stage? Send in the clowns - we'll have tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kotarou is a sixth-grader who lives mostly by himself, since his mother died and his father is always gone on business. Into this lonely existance comes Misha, a hyper-energetic young girl who claims to be an angel here to relieve his loneliness. Shia is a mysterious but very polite young woman who has begun hanging around Kotarou and Misha. Every time she comes near either of them, they get terrible headaches. Despite her friendliness, Kotarou isn't sure he trusts her, but Misha has decided to let Shia live with her. The headaches seem to have disappeared, so Misha decides to throw a welcoming party for Shia and invites everyone. The party goes about as well as can be expected when Misha's involved. Afterwards, we see a side of Shia that seems almost maternal, as she cares for the exhausted Misha and Kotarou.
A new character is introduced in the form of Hiroshi Mitarai. He's from a very wealthy family and is accustomed to being the best at everything. He has a bowl haircut and an ego as big as the Japan Sea. Unfortunately for him, his family name sounds like the Japanese word for toilet, and he's immediately nicknamed "Poops". He quickly makes Ten-chan his rival, since Ten-chan gets top scores in everything. He also falls for Misha, sensing her angelic personality. In the meantime, Kotarou helps Shia find a job, working in a cafe as a waitress. When Mitarai meets the quiet, polite and helpful Shia at the cafe, he quickly senses the same evil aura that concerned Kotarou and slaps a talisman on her forehead. He's trained in Japanese mysticism, and he knows something is not right with her.
The rivalry between Mitarai and Ten-chan leads to the two of them both competing to be the lead in the school's upcoming play. Unfortunately, it's the famous fable of the Moon Princess Kaguya, and Ten-chan is chosen overwhelmingly. Just before the play goes on, he twists his ankle and forces Kotarou to take the role instead of allowing Mitarai to assume the lead. Kotarou could care less about thier silly rivalry, but they both manage to make him angry enough to not just take the role but take it seriously. The play meets with some unexpected complications though, but due to a hilarious series of coincidences and some help behind the scenes, Kotarou comes through in the end.
Next up, we meet another new character, Kaoru Mitarai. She's Mitarai's one-year-younger sister. When Ten-chan comes to her aid, she immediately falls for him, not knowing he is her beloved older brother's bitter rival. Unfortunately, she is confused about who is who and thinks Kotarou is Ten-chan and vice versa. She keeps attacking Kotarou, to defend the honor of her brother, thinking he's Ten-chan.
An event takes place that strikes close to home for Kotarou, and it affects him greatly. It also affects Misha, who is uncharacteristically depressed. Kotarou turns to Shia for support in a beautiful little scene. At the end of it, though, Shia does something unexpected that only adds to the mystery surrounding her.
The next day, everything seems back to normal, and Kaoru makes amends for the way she's been treating both Ten-chan and Kotarou. At school, everything goes uncharacteristically right for Kotarou. He scores 100 on a pop quiz, scores the winning basket at the buzzer with a half-court shot, plays the recorder beautifully in music class and solves the most complicated of math questions. Meanwhile, it turns out Kaoru is a great cook and she's willing to teach Koboshi and Misha how to cook a delicious apple pie, which leads to many misunderstandings and a nice moment for Koboshi. The volume ends on a cliff-hanger surrounding our main trio of Kotarou, Misha and Shia.Comments
Pita-Ten is a very enjoyable story about a young boy and his hyperactive angel. The mystery surrounding Shia makes her one of the most interesting characters in the story. The introduction of Mitarai and his sister just adds to the fun. Koge-Donbo is best known for creating Di Gi Charat, as well as character designs for A Little Snow Fairy Sugar. Her art in Pita-Ten is gorgeous. Scenes of beautiful tenderness alternate with great gags and hilarious moments. Her writing is impressive as well, with tightly paced stories and heart-breaking scenes.
Tokyopop's art reproduction is good, though it can look a bit muddy in places. The dialogue is well-written. Misha's bizarre manner-wanner of talky-walkies had to be a nightmare for Adam Arnold, su! But he manages to make it sound right and still find the honesty of her emotions at the heart of it all. There is a page of character profiles and a story summary at the front of the book, which is welcome. The front cover is a stunning image of Shia in a beautiful dress holding her staff. The primary colors are just white, black and grey, with a touch of greyish-purple, but it's an arresting cover, one of the best I've seen. The logo does a nice job of emulating the Japanese logo. The back cover is white with a cute image of Misha and Shia in matching jammies.
Pita-Ten is a title I always look for when I'm at the store. New volumes can never seem to get here soon enough. The stories are funny and heartwarming, with a touch of mystery and drama. I find myself lingering over the art, taking my time to fully enjoy it. I recommend it.