Rebound (Harlem Beat vol. 12+) Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59182-222-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Rebound (Harlem Beat vol. 12+) Vol. #04

By Jarred Pine     July 05, 2005
Release Date: October 01, 2003


Rebound (Harlem Beat vol. 12+) Vol.#04
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuriko Nishiyama
Translated by:Shirley Kubo
Adapted by:

What They Say
It's finally here: the big game against Nango Daitsukuba High School in Ibaraki ... the team that knocked Johnan out of the tournament in the first round last year. Johnan has already beaten Kyan Marine Industry High School in the first round and are coming into the second round with a little more confidence. They know that if they lose tonight, they're on the first plane back to Tokyo, but what could possibly shake this stalwart team? Well, Sawamura's long-lost father sets Johnan's starting guard a little on edge. And has Nate discovered girls?

The Review
Packaging:
The cover artwork is an original by Tokyopop, which is just a few pieces of art from inside mixed together in a collage. It definitely advertises the sport, but it looks really cheap and uninspired, which is too bad since the original Harlem Beat release carried over the original Japanese covers. The English logo is across the top in blue letters and a highly stylized font that looks like graffiti artwork. The Tokyopop stripe is long the right side, but does not have the basketball texture like before.

The chapter headers are present with Nishiyama’s artwork and funny commentary, but the Harlem Beat logo has been replaced by the new Rebound version. The print job looks good with crisp tones and no fading.

Art:
Nishiyama’s character designs are really nice to look at, as everyone looks good regardless of sex, but I am not a big fan of her super-deformed designs. They almost look like little marshmallow men, ultimately feeling a bit distracting.

The basketball action is portrayed quite nicely, with nice effects to get across the intensity and energy of the game. The panels came sometimes feel a bit chaotic, with too many deformed designs and an overuse of SFX. The background art is sparse, but seems to increase as the story progress.

Text/SFX:
The same name changes here have been carried over from Harlem Beat: Naruse is Nate, Kohsuke is Kyle, Sakurai is Shurman, etc. It’s unfortunate, but Tokyopop had to keep it consistent. All new characters that are introduced retain their Japanese names.

There is a bit of the street ball slang, but it never really becomes a distraction, more of a minor annoyance. SFX are untouched and are not translated. There were even a couple instances of panel text or signs that were not translated. The dialogue has an okay flow to it, although at times I felt it was a bit choppy. No problems with the basketball terminology, but it is kept pretty light.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
As Johnan prepares for their match-up against Tsukuba, they are left with trying to deal with a major blow to their game plan. Sawamura has run off to reconcile with his father, who is now once again running away from his problems. While Kyle runs out to search for Sawamura, Johnan gets ready to take the court and get their revenge for Imagawa. Tsukuba’s full-court press gives Johnan all they can handle, creating too many turnovers leading to easy baskets. It is up to Shurman to step up as leader and captain in order to calm down his teammates. As Shurman starts to take control and beats the press, Tsukuba turns up the intensity and the battle back and forth gets the crowd excited. With Johnan looking like they are losing control, Nate is substituted in with the condition that he only shoots lay-ups. Soon everyone realizes one of Nate’s strengths as he takes over the game with his Miracle J!

Since I started Rebound without reading the previous Harlem Beat releases, I have had a hard time clicking with the characters. Things seem to be getting right on track here as I am now starting to understand all their personalities and relationships better. The scene with Sawamura was very touching. He didn’t try to blame his dad or yell at him, but instead he wanted to tell him that everything is okay, that his dad could stop running and worrying about his pride. I was definitely looking for some more off the court drama to flush out a character or two, so I am happy to see this little subplot wrap up.

The basketball game so far is a lot of fun to see unravel. Before the match starts there is some time spent with the Tsukuba players, learning their personalities and team dynamics. They are a team that has been built to win, but they lack the passion. Keigo, the starting point guard and brother of the coach, is a character who seems to have lost all the love for the game and it is now painful for him to play. He is caught underneath his brother’s dominate fist and constantly trying to prove his worth to those who thought he got the starting job due to his brother. This all adds some nice subplots and rivalry drama to the game that makes it that much more enjoyable.

Comments
After getting over some of the growing pains with starting in the middle of the Harlem Beat story, I am finally beginning to feel like I am clicking with the story and characters. This volume does a nice job of presenting both a serious off the court drama along with intense basketball action. Johnan’s opponents, Tsukuba, are flushed out nicely before the game begins which adds to the rivalry and character drama in the game. Tsukuba is a team that is so focused on winning that they have forgotten about the passion for the game, and it will be interesting to see if they develop and start to remember why they picked up a basketball in the first place. The game hasn’t hit halftime yet, so there should be plenty more basketball in the following volume.

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