Satifsaction Guaranteed (aka: Yorozuya Tokaido Honpo) Vol. #01 -

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Mania Grade: C+

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Satifsaction Guaranteed (aka: Yorozuya Tokaido Honpo) Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     August 09, 2007
Release Date: July 31, 2006

Satifsaction Guaranteed (aka: Yorozuya Tokaido Honpo) Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ryo Saenagi
Translated by:Monica Seya/Matt Yamashita
Adapted by:Monica Seya/Matt Yamashita

What They Say
Shima is a jack-of-all-trades who can solve any problem that's presented to him. When he's approached by Kaori, a super-hot teenage model who's being followed by a mysterious figure known as "The Snowman," the two team up to catch the stone-cold stalker in the act. One thing's for sure: When you hire this hot duo, your satisfaction is guaranteed!

The Review
Comparisons to "Get Backers" will be inevitable and this series has potential to be an entertaining buddy romp. However, those types looking for BL with every two guys on a book cover will be disappointed.

Tokyopop has chosen to use front cover art of Shima and Kaori of unknown origin and has relegated the Hana to Yume tankobon cover to the back cover of the book. Where Hana to Yume chose to enhance Saenagi's charming color art through its standard simple volume design, Tokyopop has chosen to give us vulgar display. The action pose of the Hane to Yume cover is replaced by Shima and Kaori as two hot guys, and the simple background replaced with a visual mess of a grayed blow-up of the cover art with some puzzle pieces to let the potential reader know this is a mystery series, all with mustard as the key color! The title design deserves special consideration. I don't mind "Guaranteed" depicted as a stamp imprint, but the thumbprint for the "O" in "Satisfaction" is visually corny. This kind of stuff might get one an "A" in design class, but it gets a real word "F". The internal print quality isn't bad for a title with the amount and varied types of tone that this work has.

This is Ryo Saenagi's first published work, and the artwork lacks the polish and confidence of her later work, the wonderful but cancelled series, Sequence. Saenagi's style is a very comfortable blending of shoujo sensibility and shounen energy, very appropriate for this series about a do-it-all agency run by two cute guys. The drawing is energetic, but not terribly clean at this stage. There is quite a bit of well-depicted background art, and the panel arrangement makes for a dynamic page. One can see the beginning of Saenagi's physical archetypes in this work - the short, cute, excitable guy and the tall, cool, handsome guy. Unfortunately, at this point in the work, all the characters are based on these two types, be they male or female. Accessorizing makes all the difference here.

The text reads well and, while the characters may look a bit alike, they have individual voices. There is little offensive localization, a problem that will crop up in later volumes, unfortunately. Sfx are not translated.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shima Yoshitsune is an orphaned eighteen-year-old who runs Anything Incorporated, which has been hired by top model, high school student, Sugura Kaori, to find the person who is stalking him. This is the beginning of Shima's personal and professional relationship with Kaori, who eventually joins Shima in the Anything agency. The series is primarily short whodunits, sometimes not terribly clever or well-crafted. But the real point of the stories is to provide a backdrop for the evolving friendship between the Shima and Kaori, two flawed individuals who come to depend on each other for support. And friendship is the keyword here. This is not BL, this is not shounen-ai. Saenagi may enjoy cross-dressing Shima and making the odd comment, but it's all a wink and a nudge.

Saenagi, much like a first time traveler, brings entirely too much baggage on this trip. Something to roll out when things get a bit dull? We expect heroes to have flaws - Shima is very afraid of fire, a result of the fire that killed his parents after they saved him in a house fire. And Kaori's problem is a bit over the top, he has an additional personality, Kyo, who takes over when Kaori models. But the real drag on the series is an unnecessary character called APP, All Purpose Person, a bishonen who takes on different personality when he puts on a long wig. He is placed in the role of a detective/crime fighter as a not-so-serious rival to Shima. The arrival of APP in any chapter signals a change in tone to an unfunny superhero cartoon and very much a distraction.

In spite of the weak stories in this volume, there's enough entertainment in the interaction of Shima and Kaouri to make this series worth a read.

Persistence will pay off for readers of this series. Every volume shows improvements in art and story with volume 4 displaying much of the style that is typical of Saenagi's later works, which readers should get a chance to see when Tokyopop releases volume 1 of Psychic Power Nanaki late in 2007.


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jnager 3/13/2012 5:00:05 PM

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