Tenshi Ja Nai!! Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Go! Comi
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 0-9768957-5-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Tenshi Ja Nai!! Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 09, 2006
Release Date: February 01, 2006

Tenshi Ja Nai!! Vol.#02
© Go! Comi

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shigematsu Takako
Translated by:N/A
Adapted by:

What They Say
There's a new music teacher at Seika Academy, and all the girls are talking about him. When Ayase-sensei's fingers caress the piano keys, it's like magic -- and if Hikaru's daydreams would only come true, those fingers would caress her! Taboo though it may be, Teacher seems interested in Hikaru, as well. But there's no time for forbidden romance when Hikaru's being dragged around to photo shoots with Izumi. The idol's latest project takes the pair to the seashore for a TV special with hot new actor Kurobe-kun. Turns out Kurobe's feelings for his co-star, Izumi, are less than professional - if only he knew the truth!

The Review
As this is an extremely raw review copy (literally a stack of copies in a rubberband) I won't review the packaging this time around.
Hopefully final copies will have the character bios and extensive translator notes provided in this copy.

Shigematsu's art is very much in the standard of shojo. While I feel her art is a little tighter than most, basic shojo principles are used in her character designs. Characters are long and lean for guys and gals. Everyone has longish hair and huge hands (maybe that isn't typical shojo.) One thing that I noticed was how the body shapes were very similar for the leads. I make this point because the male characters are obviously bishies, but they are so good looking they could easily be girls. At the same time, if one were to change Hikaru's hair and clothing a bit she could look like a guy (take a look at her on the back cover... woof). Now this is done on purpose because of the cross-dressing element to this story, but having the most of the male cast look like this was a little funny. As this manga is set in high school Shigematsu does not get much of a chance to show off her costume design skills. When she is able to draw dresses and casual wear, those designs look fresh and unique (particularly her dresses).

Backgrounds are quite stale. This elite academy looks like any high school from the inside. This is quite a contrast to the outside of the building which has an amazing fa�ade, straight out of European architecture design. The layout is nothing special either. The perspective is rather simple, though I did notice some variety in regards to panel size and the use of manpu. This manga hardly has any SFX; instead, Shigematsu relies on manpu placed in her backgrounds (tension lines and flowers are two frequently used).

I am always a little cautious when I read early attempts at translations by new publishers. Sometimes they can be a little stiff and then they might just go completely localized. Go!Comi appears to have found that middle ground from the start. I did not have any problems with the translation at all. I know some people will have their opinions about name order, but that would be knit-picking. This translation uses honorifics. There even is an honorifics page explaining the differences at the start of the manga. And it does a good job maintaining the individual personalities of each character. I found that important as the leads are complete opposites, each on the far extreme in regards to how open they are to others.

SFX are all translated. I had a hard time telling just how they went about this, since you can go for almost a chapter without running into one. Go!Comi uses a mix of overlays and subs. They seem to know just when to use which and by doing so they do not compromise the art.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When Hikaru transferred to an elite boarding school she thought she was going to have a chance to calmly live a life without incidence. No pressure, no hardships and no attention paid to her (positive or negative) would have been the ideal situation for her. But ever since she met her new roommate, her life has gone down the toilet. All she wanted was to fit in and quietly mix into the crowd. Now she has people bugging her everyday and on weekends she is beholden to someone she ought to not be associating with. Moreover, her every day life will be impacted heavily by a new homeroom teacher (grandson of the school principal) who reeks of self-entitlement and piety. Her life can only grow exponentially worse from here on out.

Her life is already pretty complicated as is. Putting in hours every week working as a bodyguard, assistant manager and gopher to a teen idol was not in the school curriculum when she decided to attend this elite high school. Fortunately, she has been able to take all of that in stride. Izumi might be a little difficult at times and boy is he stubborn, but he means well. Yeah, there is the blackmail thing but Hikaru knows it works both ways. So even though she has very little time to herself (to just be alone with her pug Sumikko), Hikaru is doing this because she feels it's the right thing to do.

This summer, her duties have manifested themselves into a full-time (and low paying) profession. She is on-site all the time, covering Hikaru's secret from all angles: from the angry stares of young teachers or the horny advances of Osakan comedians. Hikaru is always there to protect and comfort Izumi, without question. And while she might not be in the industry anymore, Hikaru can also be a source of inspiration. Even when she does not want to shine, she is becoming a star in her own right.

All of this is up to her, can she handle it? This little recluse in-training got herself into all of this, and now she's the only one who take all this on.

When we first met Hikaru all she wanted to do was live in her own little world. She did not want to have any attention brought on her. She has lived that life and it didn't suit her at the time. Now she is living everyday in the spotlight. Everything she does is scrutinized. Everyday she has is planned out for her. She wanted to live her own life by her own rules, but she has lost all that.

In this volume, not only do the reins of Hikaru's life continue slip from her hands daily, but Hikaru is now actively participating in this mess. She might feel as if she needs to help her roommate with his work and his personal problems. She might feel as if she has to continue her punishment long after the designated period was over. She might eve feel she needs to take on fights she should not have ever been caught in, but if she really wanted to live a quiet life she would have done no more than she needed to do. Instead, every new chapter she digs her grave deeper. In complete contrast to her "ideals" she seems to be a ready victim for trouble, unconditionally accepting almost anything that goes her way.

I guess this is Shigematsu's way of getting Hikaru to grow out of her shell, but the timing is horrible. It is way too soon for this. I mean, without the conflict around Hikaru's self-esteem this series loses its appeal and becomes another shojo high school drama. Actually, not only does TjN! turn into another shojo title, it turns into a stereotypical title as Hikaru's love interest comes in the worst form possible " her new young teacher! Let's see there is a cross-dressing classmate, an introverted teen in an all-girls school thrust into the spotlight falling in love with a new teacher and there are new male characters falling for the cross-dresser/male lead " in my book that is the trifecta of shojo manga clich�s. The only thing missing is a flashy transformation scene and a mahou shojo costume. Please!

When I read the first volume, I found myself enjoying this title because of how the two leads were similar but they were coming from two very different directions. It was a funky odd couple deal set in an all-girls boarding school and I loved it. What made that work was that the cast was small and played their roles perfectly. But as the cast grew, the cohesion that made this a tight fit began to come undone.


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