Shiki Tsukai Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 0-3455-0145-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Shiki Tsukai

Shiki Tsukai Vol. #02

By Ben Leary     February 27, 2008
Release Date: December 01, 2007

Shiki Tsukai Vol.#02
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yuna Takanagi and To-Ru Zekuu
Translated by:Mayumi Kobayashi
Adapted by:Mayumi Kobayashi

What They Say
The Shiki Tsukai are "keepers of the seasons," magical warriors pledged to defend the planet's natural order against those who would destroy it. And Akira is destined to become the greatest Shiki Tsukai of all - that is, if he can survive the vicious attacks of his enemies! Good thing he has friends with equally fantastic powers - including Moe, a 12-year-old girl with the power to control ice and snow...

The Review
Among the more than 30 (!) supplementary pages in the back of this volume is an illuminating fact. The author tells us that he writes stories "as a hobby." Even if we take this as conventional modesty the admission is telling, along with the 30 pages of supplementals. What we have to deal with is an author who is amusing himself - probably successfully - but isn't making a piece of work that can face the audience. This is hardly a careless piece of writing; even a casual glance at the information in the back can tell you a great deal of effort went into the conception. But everything is facing the wrong direction. It's like watching a play where the actors are performing for the author off-stage.

That being said, this volume is slightly better reading than the first, if only because it seems like it has a better idea where it's going. It also moves a bit faster. But it is much the same. The things that were sporadically good about the first volume (mainly the fights) are sporadically better here, and the things that were consistently bad about it (confusion, information overload, general lack of taste) are consistently worse. The monsters are still the single best aspect. The fights they appear in can usually get me involved to a degree. But when the consequences of winning and losing a battle are as unclear as they are in this series, it's hard to say they actually add anything to the experience. Again we see an almost entire reliance on cliches - this also makes us think of the "hobby" reference. Come to think of it, we even saw maids briefly this time. All we're missing now is a giant robot and a vast international conspiracy. Oh, wait, there were hints of a conspiracy in the last chapter. I guess we know what to expect next time then.

None of this is all that good to begin with, but what really keeps hurting Shiki Tsukai is its continuing and worsening bad taste. That shift from 13+ to 16+ was a deserved one. As if the slutty teacher wasn't and isn't enough, we see the arrival of a character who, as the design notes gleefully point out, "wears low-rise jeans so you can see her bum when she squats." Nudity also breaks out of the transformation-scene confines it was in before. All of this is really the fault of the artist rather than the author, and is a real shame since the art might have helped the story get on its feet, or at least given us something to like while the plot sorts itself out. As it is, we just get one step forward and one step back.


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