Pretty Maniacs (aka: Pretty Maniizu) Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 163
  • ISBN: 1-59796-016-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Pretty Maniacs (aka: Pretty Maniizu) Vol. #02

By Jarred Pine     March 01, 2006
Release Date: August 12, 2005

Pretty Maniacs (aka: Pretty Maniizu) Vol.#02
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shinsuke Kurihashi
Translated by:Daniel Sullivan & Asaka Otomo
Adapted by:

What They Say
Shinano has the manga club up and running, but all her efforts could be in vain. Her high school is scheduled to merge with an all-boys school, and the results could spell disaster. With two manga clubs coming together, everyone will have to make sacrifices to finish the club’s fanzine in time for the school fair. Of course, the merger brings more than just changes to the manga club. Love is in the air, and Yura and Shinano are no exception. How will they ever cope with their new admirers? And what will Yura do when her secret is finally revealed?

The Review
After a long wait, Pretty Maniacs returns with a cheaper price tag that will hopefully grab the interest of Genshiken fans waiting for their next fix. Love live the maniacs!

The cover is the same as the original Japanese tankubon, featuring vibrant colors that look quite nice. The pink background can feel a little overwhelming, and it’s not even a very pleasing background image. The English logo leaves a bit to be desired, but does its best to mimic the Japanese text. The print reproduction continues to be sub-standard, but not as bad as some other releases we’ve seen recently from DrMaster. Extras include a 2 page “Special Edition” manga and a one page afterword from Kurihashi. Also included at the end of each chapter are a few words of free talk from Kurihashi.

Kurihashi’s style is one that is not very unique, but it has a lot of youthful energy to it that is quite appropriate for the story. There are a lot of super-deformed designs and exaggerated facial expressions to add to the overall energy without becoming a bother. There is not a lot of background art, with the designs being very standard looking when included.

SFX are translated, with either subs or overlays. The translation reads very smoothing, with some notes in the margins for cultural reference, and I like how Shinano’s quirky little phrases were handled. There is another money conversion issue here as US dollars are used in one bubble, only to be changed to yen in another. The kicker is that the conversion doesn’t seem to be correct (US$3000 vs Y30,000). The grades are also identified by “Freshman” or “Sophomore” rather than 1st or 2nd year.

Contents:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While everyone was reading the latest volume of Genshiken (Del Rey), DrMaster finally got the second volume of their “ode to otaku” manga, Pretty Maniacs, out on the shelves. It was a long five month wait, but young otaku Shinano returns with her abundance of enthusiasm and always flapping mouth, getting herself into all sorts of new trouble.

Shinano’s power as manga club president is now in jeopardy as her school is forced to merge Yamashiro High School, an all-boys’ school that already has an established manga club of their own. When the boys outnumber the girls, it will be up to Shinano to try and influence the upcoming vote for a new club president, but her outspoken and gregarious ways will cause her to lose her seat. The results come quickly, with a nice small surprise, but a lot of the possible tension and interesting dynamics are thrown out the window for more simple comedy that is good for a few chuckles.

After the club power struggle is resolved, it is time once again for the school festival and the manga club has ideas to put together a manga café, complete with maid costumes, as well as a couple of magazines for the patrons. The school’s President will be quite shocked when she finds out exactly who will be wearing the maid outfits. Then it is on to the P Hyoro anime voice actors event, where the actual voice actors will dress up as characters from the anime to put on a show. This inevitably stresses out the newbies as their picture perfect images of the anime characters are crushed when they see the voices behind the pretty drawings. The real shocker though comes when the theme song composer comes out to perform on the piano while the voice actors sing their lines. Has someone been secretly moonlighting without telling Shinano?

Throw in a couple stand-alone chapters, and that is pretty much the gist of this volume. It moves at a rapid pace, throwing in good jokes and funny moments with Shinano that are very light and easy going. There is also a high fleeting interest in most of the characters, as they are mostly there for punch lines of a joke, rather than well fleshed out characterizations.

While the comparison to Genshiken might be unfair, Pretty Maniacs is one of a small handful of titles available in English that look to explore the crazy lives of the otaku. “Maniacs” is much more youthful and cute, but it does not go quite as deep into the mind of the otaku and the character dynamics and relationships are not nearly as rich. The scenarios are pretty silly and light, even stereotypical at times, and are worth a couple good laughs. But after the volume has passed, I couldn’t help but feel a fleeting interest as I put it away on my shelf. I think most manga fans would be entertained by this book, but I wonder how many will actually remember it after a short period of time has passed.


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