Seven Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1569708495
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Seven Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     June 14, 2007
Release Date: January 13, 2007


Seven Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Momoko Tenzen
Translated by:Issei Shimizu
Adapted by:

What They Say
Nana (no name in Japanese) has no memory of his childhood before the age of twelve, when a store owner took him in and cruelly named him. The only clues to Nana's past life are the burn scars on his legs and his irrational fear of fire.

Enter Mitsuha, a vagabond writer, who crashes Nana's place at the insistence of a mutual friend. At first, Nana's loathes Mitsuha's existence - although he can't sleep alone, Nana doesn't like it when his new roomate climbs into bed with him, either - but eventually, he warms to Mitsuha's sincerity and kindness and finds happiness waking beside him. Can their budding relationship help Nana to come to terms with his unknown past? Are Mitsuha's feelings real, or is Nana simply a replacement for someone he lost long ago?

The Review
Packaging:
This is the usual DMP trim with the quality printing that one has come to expect from DMP. The cover is of Mitsuha and Nana with an inset of Nana on the back. There is a color picture of Nanao and Hiromu on the inside flap. There is an author afterword and single page advertisements for other June volumes.

Artwork:
The character designs are attractive and distinctive to one another. Figures are defined by line with minimal shading to define the features. This style makes the characters seems more fragile and is a nice graphic counterpart to the subject. Screen tone is used judiciously to define environment and provide visual contrast. The artwork here is very accomplished, but suffers from some poor choices in scene selection and an occasional lack of skill in execution. Of particular note is the panel where there is a close-up of fingers intertwined. This is a difficult pose to render convincingly. Even though the number of fingers is correct, something looks "wrong" and the reader is pulled out of the moment. This panel wasn't critical to the story and its inclusion was detrimental to the flow. Another panel that "popped" was the one with Katsuya resting his head on his hands. Again, the reader is pulled from the experience by art that was not convincing.

SFX/Text:
There are few sfx and they are left intact with a small translation unobtrusively placed. The translation read well and naturally with all characters maintaining a distinctive voice and credible personality.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Seven is a cleverly constructed three chapter volume in which the theme is how the past profoundly affects the present.

The first chapter introduces Mitsuha and Nana. They meet when Mitsuha visits an old friend and, in looking for a place to stay, is directed to the apartment of the friend's employee, Nana. (Nana can't refuse, his employer provides the place to him.) Mitsuha is a vagabond, his life and profession defined by the search for his brother, adopted out of their shared foster home over fifteen years ago. Mitsuha learns that Nana also lived at the same foster home until a fire destroyed much of the home and its records. At first, Mitsuha takes on the manner of a madman in questioning Nana, but it is immediately apparent to Mitsuha that Nana is not his brother. He is interested in Nana enough to pursue him, but Nana, habituated to rejection, initially spurns Mitsuha's advances. In good BL cliché style, Nana begins to warm to Mitsuha only to be disillusioned when he learns of Mitsuha's brother. As a result, Nana reverts to insecure behaviors he displayed in the past, which serve to drive Mitsuha away. After mutual recriminations, Nana, needing Mitsuha and well aware of how transitory his happiness might be, agrees to accompany Mitsuha on his travels.

In a seemingly unrelated story, "Within Plain View", Hiromu is going through some teen angst. He feels out of place and questions, as teens often do, whether he really does belong to his family. He has recently become uncomfortable around his older brother, who has just returned home from a protracted stay in a dorm and makes attempts to avoid him. There is a revelation that allows Hiromu and his brother, Nanao, to confront and resolve the issues that have kept them apart. The connection to the main story of Mitsuha and Nana is nicely revealed through some well-executed indirection.

The final story catches up with Mitsuha and Nana in a sweet final chapter. Mitsuha and Nana are traveling when Mitsuha realizes he must return to Hokkaido to renew his driver's license. Mitsuha points to an island, gives Nana a cell phone and tells Nana to wait for him there. How will Nana, always reluctant to be alone, cope with the separation after making a commitment to Mitsuha?


Comments:
I am certainly surprised by many of the DMP titles released of late. Seven is good story that manages to present honest and real emotion without a lot of over-the-top dramatics and cliché. I really like the way this story was constructed. The chapters are related but do not meet, much as Mitsuha and his brother do not. While the lack of closure with respect to Mitsuha's search could be considered a flaw by some, I think it makes for a more satisfying story. It keeps the focus on the couples, all of whom have been damaged in some way by past events, and how they try to find the happiness that the past has denied them.

As much as I would like to visit these characters again, especially Nanao and Hiromu, Seven has told the story it wanted to tell. We know Mitsuha will keep searching with Nana by his side, and Hiromu can perhaps convince Nanao to do what he would like to do. Another volume would cheapen the story.

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