To Heart Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 178
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0022-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

To Heart Vol. #01

By Mike Dungan     June 29, 2005
Release Date: April 01, 2004


To Heart Vol.#01
© ADV Manga


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ukyou Takao
Translated by:Kay Bertrand
Adapted by:

What They Say
Looking for Love... Akari is a cute but somewhat inhibited teenaged girl who attends high school with her childhood chums, Hiroyuki and Masashi. Her world becomes troublesome as her adolescent affection for the generous and warm-hearted Hiroyuki begins to grow into something more. The complications only thicken when a beautiful senior, Serika Kurusugawa, steps into the picture. Akari finds her solution in an unlikely place. An android named Multi, who happens to be training to become a full-fledged maid robot, just might be able to use her machined mind to help Akari overcome her shyness and win Hiroyuki's love!


The Review
Packaging:
The cover features Akari blushing as she holds a boxed lunch, against a background collage of the various characters. The logo is in English, with the Japanese title in a banner underneath it. It's a bright and effective cover featuring a lot of pink and red. The back cover is simple, with black text in a friendly font against a white background. In the middle is a head shot of a smiling Multi. Inside, the first page is in full color, a nice touch.

Artwork:
Ukyou Takao's art is loose and light. It makes for some breezy and light-hearted imagery, very much in keeping with the story. The character designs are very cute. His backgrounds tend to be mostly absent, with only the occasional background to set the scene. The composition of the panels is straight-forward, resulting in a smooth flow of imagery and dialogue.

Text/SFX:
Sound effects are translated on the page. ADV has attempted to make the English sound effects resemble the Japanese sound effects, with mostly successful results. The downside is that, because they also attempt to recreate the sound effects in the same size as the original, there's an awful lot of extra ink on the page. The English adaptation read well, with nothing standing out as obviously forced or Americanized.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Cute and slightly shy Akari grew up with head-strong but kind Hiroyuki and calm, level-headed Masashi. Now that they're in high school, Akari is starting to realize that Hiroyuki means more to her than just a friend. Things get complicated when Hiroyuki, who never met a person he didn't like, befriends Serika Kurusugawa. She's a classmate and a member of the school's occult club. She's an elegant beauty who dresses like a witch and rarely speaks. Or it might be better to say she does speak, but the reader can't hear it. It's only through the interpretation of Hiroyuki and others that we learn what she's saying. She is the daughter of the very wealthy and powerful Kurusugawa conglomerate, who manufacture maid robots. Which is where Multi comes in. She's short, she's cute, she's clumsy, and she's a prototype maid robot. Attending school is the final test. She's in a competition with a second prototype, called Serio, who is attending another school. Serio is clearly the better robot and will most likely be chosen as the next production model. The loser will be scrapped. Hiroyuki can't live with that, and with the help of Akari, who is excellent at cooking and housework, decides to help Multi. On top of all this, a walking, talking teddy bear befriends Akari and follows Hiroyuki and Multi everywhere, making comments and dispensing advice everywhere.

Also a part of Hiroyuki's group of friends is Shiho Nagaoka, a girl who carries a camera around with her everywhere and a bit of a forceful but friendly personality, and Lemmy Miyauchi, a half-Japanese half-American blue-eyed blonde beauty with a personality as bouncy as her impressive figure. One quickly learns that Hiroyuki's kindness and refusal to pass up an opportunity to make a new friends means he has a large circle of friends. People had always steered clear of Serika, but Hiroyuki won't have any of that, and ingratiates himself with her simply by being himself. With Serika now a part of Hiroyuki and Akari's circle of friends, they have a new visitor. Ayaka is Serika's younger sister, though you'd swear she was the older one. She's very protective of Serika, and has a personality as outgoing as Serika's is withdrawn. She's decided to hook up Serika with Hiroyuki in order to help Serika avoid an arranged marriage her family has set up. This forces Akari to confront her feelings for Hiroyuki before he gets away from her.

Comments
The To Heart manga is based on the popular dating simulation game of the same name, with one main male character surrounded by a bevy of beautiful girls. Choose a girl and try to win her heart. In order to make it work as a manga, Ukyou Takao took extra care to make Hiroyuki a person who's positive personality and gruff kindness would make him believable as a main character. You can believe the girls congregate around him because of him simple charm and forthright personality. I liked that Akari's shyness isn't debilitating. She may be having a hard time saying what she wants to say, but she's always there, always looking out for the young man she loves. And she's no pushover. If any of the other girls wants Hiroyuki, they'll have to go through her. Like Hiroyuki himself, this title has a simple charm that is very endearing.

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