Reborn! Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0671-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Reborn! Vol. #01

By Jarred Pine     October 17, 2006
Release Date: October 03, 2006

Reborn! Vol.#01
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Takashi Hashiguchi
Translated by:Noritaka Minami
Adapted by:Drew Williams

What They Say
When Reborn, a fedora-wearing, gun-toting toddler, arrives and says he's come to groom Tsuna for his future as boss of an Italian organized crime family, Tsuna is more than a little skeptical. But Reborn may have the "magic bullet" necessary to turn Tsuna's life around!

The Review
Reborn! is injected with plenty of that Shounen Jump whackiness and hyperactivity which readers have come to expect from this label. Your mileage may vary depending on how much sugar you have recently ingested.

Original cover art is used, with the logo as well being almost identical to the original. The colors on the cover are a little blurry and washed out however. Print reproduction is pretty standard for SJ releases, which is below par. A good amount of goofy extras are included at the back of the book.

The character artwork is undoubtedly energetic, but ultimately it feels quite static and bland. The toddler assassins Reborn and Lambo are worth some chuckles, but I also feel like they are obvious attempts at creating something that can be merchandised to death (not to mention grab female readership that is now so crucial to SJ). A lot of personality thrown into the artwork, just not a lot of substance.

SFX are translated with overlays, with some care taken to mimic the transparent text of the originals. The English script is surprisingly well done, making sure to include the appropriate puns like "Deathperation" and Reborn's "Ciao-su!" greeting. There are also a few translator notes to be found in the margins.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
You gotta hand it to Reborn! manga-ka Akira Amano for taking the unbelievably tired formula of a weak young teenage boy finding his confidence, and turning it into something unique; even if the appeal might wear off about as quickly as the sugar high the targeted 13 and under readers are on when they read this title. Reborn! is the story of a Japanese middle-school aged Tsuna's grooming from a bully's prey into the next boss of Italy's Vongola crime family. And as expected, the manga is injected with plenty of that Shounen Jump whackiness and hyperactivity which readers have come to expect from this label.

Sent by the Vongola family, assassin-for-hire Reborn is in charge of Tsuna's tutelage, executing his lessons with a bold and confident personality despite his toddler-like appearance. You see, Reborn looks like he is about 3 years old; a tiny body dressed in a 3-piece suit supports a giant fedora-sporting head, with a pacifier for a necklace. He has plenty weapons of choice, but his favorite is the "Deathperation" gun, which "kills" its target only to have it "reborn" for five minutes with new inspiration and vigor, bolstered by the victim's dying regrets. When Tsuna is shot in the head while thinking about his unrequited crush, he comes back to life sporting nothing but boxers and a strong resolve to ask her out. One just hopes he doesn't make a fool out of himself during those five minutes.

Completely idiosyncratic, Reborn is to this manga as Sergeant Keroro is to Sgt. Frog; and the comparisons don't just stop there. Check out the cow-outfitted toddler assassin, hilariously named Lambo, from the "small-time" Bovino family. I can imagine a whole clan of these toddler assassins and their adventures of tomfoolery. Obvious merchandising potential and female crossover appeal aside, the slapstick comedy actually does work about as equally as it does not. It is Reborn's quips and banter with the frightened cat Tsuna that delivers most of the humor in this volume.

The drawback with this hyperactive story is that overall it is quite obnoxious; and it already begins to wear thin as the volume progresses. While the concept may be creative, the storylines most certainly are not. You can probably guess the formula: boy has crush on girl, boy has rival, boy gains confidence, boy finds another rival, and so on. You can only binge on Pop Rocks and Pepsi for so long until you crash from the sugar high. The ideas, as clever as they are, are also splattered across the pages as one would expect for a manga clearly aimed at the 13-under crowd. Amano tries to keep things fresh by introducing new boosting guns that allow Tsuna to use more physical strengths, but it almost cheapens the experience.

Bordering on obnoxious, Reborn! is a clever twist on the whole middle-school weakling who becomes a man storyline. Ultimately the hyperactive appeal will most likely wear off, but perhaps the short attention spans of the targeted readers will eat this right on up. There's a good dose of idiosyncratic humor with a tinge of Sgt. Frog that makes the overall experience a positive one, but I just feel that the story will inevitably crumble under its overused formula and goofy antics; a crumbling that was already becoming apparent three-quarters of the way into the first volume.

An interesting side note, this book is rated "For Older Teen", presumably due to a couple bra/panty shots, bullets to the head, and abundance of firearms. However, the targeted age of this book is clearly much lower than that. It's just another example of the differences between cultures and what content is "okay" for the kids.


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