Mania Grade: A-
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: TOKYOPOP
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 144
- ISBN: 1-59816-178-4
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Someday\'s Dreamers Vol. #01
By Robert Harris
June 09, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006
Someday\'s Dreamers Vol.#01
Writer/Artist:Writer: Norie Yamada / Artist: Kumichi Yoshizuki
Translated by:Jeremiah Bourque
Adapted by:What They Say
Yume innocently uses her magic to help the people she encounters--soccer players, the wrongly incarcerated, or two young lovers wanting to see the moon on a cloudy night. And you can bet that Yume's magic leads to new adventures--and a few mishaps!The Review
Packaging: Wow. I mean I just...wow. This has to be by far
the nicest cover for a manga that I've ever seen. The front image is a beautifully drawn and colored scene with Yume walking along a country road that extends far back into the distance, with the wind gently blowing her clothes and hair. It's really amazing how far back the road goes, and all the detail you can see along it. On the left side appears to be a large river, and far in the back on the horizon is a city, I assume Tokyo. There's a slight white border at the top, which the title sits across in white outlined in dark blue, but where it crosses over onto the image it progressively gets lighter, which is a very nice effect. The writer and artist are listed vertically on the left of the front cover over the water, and the color surrounding the white letters goes from blue to green as they travel from the city in the horizon to the water. On the back is an equally excellent picture of Yume looking out a window with a few birds and butterflies flitting around her. The image has soft edges, so it fades into the white of the rest of the back cover, and uses a lot of pastels and other light colors. Also on the back, in blue, is quote from Amazon.com instead of a summary of the volume. It seems like the summary for the volume wouldn't have fit with the image they chose, and I can't fault them for ditching it since the picture is so excellent. Aside from that there is the usual Tokyopop release features, so the spine has the name of the manga, a small portrait of Yume's face from the cover, the writer and artists' names, and the volume number. Finally, the Tokyopop logo is on each side of the spine in a blue/purple color.
, the cover is enough reason to buy the manga by itself. You could just let it sit there looking pretty. There is also a series of character sketches and notes for all the characters in the manga (and even some that only made it into the anime), along with a one-page preview of the next volume.
Artwork: This is where the outer presentation becomes something of a double-edged sword. To put it bluntly, the artwork in the manga does not
live up to the standard of the cover. Taken on its own merits though, which it should be, it's very nice. It's also very unique, which is certainly a good thing. Character designs are pleasantly rounded, and have a nice amount of detail (especially the hair). The characters themselves are attractive and distinctive. You may notice a similarity to faces, but that's more a product of the artist's style and not lack of originality. The shading is phenomenal, and there are shadows everywhere, with varying degrees based on the amount of light available. The large amount of white puts added emphasis on these shadows, and everything looks very clean. The lines are thin but elegant, and manage to make everything appear delicate without being fragile.
Text/SFX: Like so many Tokyopop releases, the translation is perfectly fine but nothing really spectacular (honestly, I've begun to wonder what it would take for a translation to really stand out as excellent). Fonts are fitting to the situations and sentences flow well without being ambiguous or awkward. Yume tends to stutter very often, and I really like the way they handled that. Sound effects are by and large untranslated (I noticed one instance that they were) as is typical of Tokyopop.
Contents: The story of Someday's Dreamer
is about as simple as it gets. Magic users and normal humans live in relative harmony, and magic has become a commidty like anything else; you pay for what you get. Yume Kikuchi is a magic user from the country who has decided to follow her parents' footsteps and train as a magic user to help people make their dreams come true. At the beginning of the book she is traveling to Tokyo to train under Masami Oyamada, a bar owner in Tokyo who's also a licensed magic user.
Throughout the volume Yume helps people, both customers and strangers, through the use of her magic. From a former soccer player who's had his foot amputated, to a cabaret girl in love with the fall man for a corrupt company, and even a teacher forced to retire before his prime, Yume stumbles along the way but always manages to help. These situations really provide some great characterization for Yume and even the people she helps (although they are one-shot characters, all feel well-rounded and alive).
In the final chapter, Yume helps an old woman relive her past days before she heads off to a retirement home. After playing the role of her daughter, who died in a car accident decades ago while abroad, she develops an attachment to the woman. Returning after the job is over, she is horrified to see the building in flames with the woman still inside. Refusing to accept Masami's insistence that this is what she wanted, she breaks down while protesting that this is not what she wanted to use magic for.CommentsSomeday's Dreamers
is perhaps the best example I can imagine for a manga with a deceptively simple story that packs a real emotional punch. This allows each chapter to deliver the kind of impact that would be impossible with a strong, overarching narrative. That's really what this manga is all about: emotion. And I don't mean the weepy, overblown emotional screw job that most manga and anime tries to pull these days. The stories come across as very heartfelt and the emotional components are strong but subtle.
Perhaps the most unique and surprising aspect of it, however, is that the emotion it elicits isn't anger, or sadness, or pity, but joy. Joy! In modern manga! Can you believe it? I've seen the whole gamut of emotions that manga tries to instill in its readers, but I've never quite seen one try so hard to make its readers happy. And the best part is that it works. While reading Someday's Dreamers I couldn't help but feel...positive. Upbeat. It puts a big smile on your face.
Not because you're laughing at jokes or the perfect irony of the situation but because this story is about good things happening to good people. Each story is about someone who is a good, caring person having some tragedy befall them, and then Yume shows up and with magic turns everything around. She doesn't fix the situation, which would be no fun, but manages to spin events around so you're convinced that everything's going to work out ok. For instance, the first person Yume meets in Tokyo helps her out and expects nothing in return. Later on Yume discovers that he was once a rising soccer star in high school, until his foot was amputated, rendering him unable to play. Through magic, Yume gives him the ability to control his prosthetic foot just like his real one, and in doing so gives him his dream back.
The rest of the stories follow similar patterns. Many of the conclusions are very touching, and even had this bitter sea dog let loose a sniffle or two. Intertwined throughout the chapters are hints of the story behind Yume and her reason for pursuing magic. I don't want to give you the impression there's no story besides, "Yume goes out and does magic and then goes out and does some more magic the end." There is a fair amount of character development between Masami, Yume, and Melinda, the DJ for the bar. It seems apparent that the second volume is going to focus more on the main characters, as at the end of this volume there is a marked change in tone and it ends on a much more somber note.
Yes, not everything is puppies and rose petals. Even before the death of the old woman, the volume is peppered with hints that things in the world may not be as happy as they appear. From interactions with several characters we learn that magic users aren't entirely accepted in society, and many people seem to feel they are sneaky and underhanded. Flashbacks to Yume's past show that she was often bullied because of her magical abilities, and accused of cheating in school to obtain her excellent grades.
On the whole, the occasional points of sadness and despair help to bring out the positive, upbeat aspects of the manga more clearly. We can certainly sympathize with the people who think magic isn't to be trusted, but after seeing all the good Yume does with it there isn't a shadow of a doubt in our minds that magic is a truly wonderful thing.
I did not look forward to reviewing this manga. I had heard the anime was boring and slow moving, and if there's one thing I hate it's a glacial pace in my manga. If there're two things I hate, it's a glacial pace and lots of emotions. But Someday's Dreamer managed to one-up me. It's so uplifting, cheerful, and honestly fun to read that I couldn't hold out. So go out and get it already! If you must know, there are only two negative things I can say about this series. One, it's about forty pages shorter than most other manga, and that's a major bummer. It's very well paced but I want more! Two, there are only two volumes, so it will be over all too quickly.