Pretear Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0144-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Pretear Vol. #01

By Megan Lavey     June 11, 2004
Release Date: May 01, 2004

Pretear Vol.#01
© ADV Manga

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kaori Naruse
Translated by:Amy Forsyth
Adapted by:

What They Say
Himeno is a high school freshman who's having trouble adjusting to the lifestyle into which she has been reluctantly thrown. Her father Kaoru has been pulled into the grasp of Natsue, a woman who not only controls a vast amount of wealth, but also Himeno. Himeno's dad takes the side of Natsue rather than his own flesh and blood, and Natsue's two daughters aren't very fond of their new stepsister. Her new, despicable life changes, though, when she takes a shortcut to school and meets a young boy, who transports her to a fanasty world that lies on the brink of extinction. This world needs the help of the girl called "Pretear," and all their hope lies with Himeno.

The Review
For the most part, this is an attractive book that uses a lot of white space. The front features a large picture of Himeno holding a bouquet of tulips, with the seven Leafe Knights in chibi-formay surrounding her. The chibis really make the picture and I had to smile. What I don't care for is the logo, leading us to the logo check!

Pretear is written out in a wide font and filled with a violet/white gradient. "The New Legend of Snow White" is in a white oval with a pink border above it and the volume number is in a star beside it. While the logo does stand out, it winds up clashing with the muted colors in Himeno's clothing and really detracts from what is otherwise a beautiful cover.

The back is white with a picture of the Leafe Knights in battle mode with the summary of the book above it. It's simple, clean and nice.

It's your typical shoujo artwork, and there's not too much here that stands out. The battle scenes are beautifully draw, with smooth, flowing lines as Himeno merges with her knights and attacks. The characters themselves aren't that attractive, especially Himeno. While, in keeping with the Snow White theme, I didn't expect much from the stepsisters, I was surprised at how Himeno turned out. The short, choppy haircut really detracts from her. The knights, as typical bishounen are, are very pretty. Three pages of colored art at the beginning of the book provide the series prologue and are reproduced beautifully.

The translation of the story for me was good. It was a clean read for me. However, like with Chrono Crusade, what really threw me was the SFX. Like that book, the SFX is untranslated, with translations running alongside it. And again, there was a large amount of Japanese dialogue that remained. The translation is provided, but dialogue not contained within a word balloon is left untouched. Once again, I did not care for this, and I noticed that the same translator - Amy Forsyth - worked on both Pretear and Chrono Crusade, and I wonder if this is a standard that will run throughout the books that she translates. I would love to find out why ADV has adopted this practice in some of the serie. To me, it's a sloppy one. While I am okay with untranslated SFX, and having it subtitled is the best of both worlds, I do not like having the Japanese text itself remain. It is confusing to me, and I've taken two years of Japanese. Imagine what it is like for the casual reader picking it up off the shelf.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Himeno. Her father, Kaoru, a famous novelist, married a cosmetics company president named Natsue. Natsue has two daughters close to Himeno's age - Mayune and Mawata. Himeno doesn't mesh in with her new family, as Mayune hates her and Mawata treats her with indifference. Natsue tries, but that doesn't last very long.

On her way to school, Himeno tries to take a short cut and winds up encountering seven young men, who call themselves the Leafe Knights. They need Himeno to become the Pretear and defeat the one known as the Princess of Darkness from ending the world.

Himeno doesn't quite believe them and one of them, Hayate, certainly doesn't want her. So, she manages to leave and head back to school. When she goes home, she finds the knights waiting for her and a jealous Mayune takes the chance to tell Natsue several lies about Himeno. Himeno goes out with her friend, Yayoi, the next day, but an attack by the Princess of Darkness' seed leads Himeno to choose to become a full Pretear. She saves Yayoi and everyone else, but in the process, gets on her stepmother's bad side thanks to a little help from Mayune.

However, there is a possible ally in Mawata. But, the second attack that Himeno is involved in quickly erases that possible connection when Mawata sees Himeno with Sasame, a radio personality that she has a crush on and one of Himeno's knights. She immediately thinks that Himeno and Sasame are dating and shuns her stepsister. Feeling disheartened about this, Himeno goes to talk to Sasame and learns a secret about her predecessor as the Pretear.

This almost sounds like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, doesn't it? Then again, it is suppose to be a retelling of the Snow White story of sorts. To me, it feels more like Fushigi Yugi, but maybe that's because there's seven warriors of Suzaku who are helping Miaka to save their world in that story as well.

It's an interesting concept, but I found myself alternating between boredom and being very involved. The most involved I got was with how Himeno uses her new powers. That was intriguing. She merges with the knight whose element she wants to use. The first is Hayame, the knight of the wind. Merging with him is the equivalent of merging with Inuyasha. He takes the entire burden on himself, holds a grudge and loves physical attacks. Himeno is able to utilize the other knights better, as they actually like to work with her. It's a neat concept and it's fun to see how they work together to fight.

I did not care for Himeno much, or her family. I was starting to warm up to Mawata, but then she turned very sterotypical as well. The entire family is, really. I suppose the stereotype is needed here because of the type of story that's being told, but it makes me uncomfortable. Mayune looks and acts like Nanami from the anime version of Utena. At the end of the book though, they talk about the Princess of Darkness, and I immediately got a suspicion about who it is. But, knowing who the creator is, my guess is probably wrong.

This is an okay story to start out with, but I don't think it's something that you'll instantly fall in love with on the first go-around. The creator is Junichi Satou, and being familiar with some of his directing work (mainly from his directing of Sailormoon), I know that Pretear has more layers to it than what it appears on the surface. It has the potential to be something great, but you most likely won't find it on your first reading. I didn't. But, I am willing to read it again to find that potential and to dig up what I haven't missed the first time. And, I'm interested enough in what happens enough so that I do look forward to volume two.


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