Tramps like Us (aka: Kimi wa Pet) Vol. #06 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 159532144-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Tramps like Us (aka: Kimi wa Pet) Vol. #06

By Eduardo M. Chavez     October 12, 2005
Release Date: August 09, 2005


Tramps like Us (aka: Kimi wa Pet) Vol.#06
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ogawa Yayoi
Translated by:Tomoko Kamimoto
Adapted by:

What They Say
Sumire is off on trip to a romantic hot springs getaway - with Momo! She's there as a journalist, but is completely unprepared for the story she uncovers. Then it's time to say goodbye to Hasumi as he moves to Hong Kong. Sumire is heartbroken, but finds Momo's latest dance performance sufficiently distracting... especially when Rumi is kidnapped backstage!

The Review
Packaging:
TOKYOPOP has done a very nice job with the presentation for Kimi wa Petto (translated "You are My Pet"), which has been changed to Tramps Like Us. Yeah, the title change is kind of stupid; don't get if or why this refers to both characters, but whatever. The color scheme of lavender and blue has been kept and was spiced up a bit by placing six-point stars on the spine and in the logo. The logo retains the same colors as well but the font is not as tight as the Kodansha version, as this one is messy and a bit crooked.

On this cover is an image of main character Sumire reading the newspaper to her pet human Momo. The image is really funny because I get the impression that these two are possibly siblings instead of master and pet. The opposite cover has no art but it does have a long blurb on a blue background.

Inside, this volume keeps the original volume header with Japanese logo. This volume does not have color pages but keeps the contents page, chapter headers and an ato-gaki. The printing is pretty clean, which is important because the art is based on thin delicate lines but it looks good here. At the end of the GN, there are two pages of art from Ogawa's staff and family, there are two pages of notes from Ogawa and her editor, and then there is an ato-gaki from the editor which was followed by a preview blurb.

Artwork:
I love Ogawa's art. It comes right out of the josei style with thin wispy lines and a ton of negative space. Her proportions are wonderful. Characters look a little long but that is done purposely for there is a running joke that the lead is tall for a Japanese woman and she is looking for someone taller than her. Slim and sensual her characters have a realistic but minimalist look to them, where they tend to look great without much shading or texturing. Fashion designs are incorporated giving a look into the era when this was created and have a lot of variety (a concept often lost in shonen and seinen manga).

Ogawa's backgrounds are okay. She uses them quite well by presenting them with detail when she needs to use them but when she does not she keeps them stale and almost non-existent. Considering how there is some type of action in this manga, albeit coming from dance that aspect should be increased if this series were to improve. The layout is okay. I would not normally call it active but the cast tends to fool around with it a bit.

Overall, a stylish and vibrant manga despite the lack of detailing from Ogawa.

Text/SFX:
While I have heard tighter adaptations, this one is not bad. This one does a very good job giving the characters individual voices. The source material makes that easy for the relationship calls for a specific type of conversation and relationship. Snappy, fun and easy to read. This is a solid translation.

TP does not translate SFX. I can go on about how they should rethink this, as I do not feel it is the right decision, but I will leave that to a future blog post.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Life seemed to be getting slightly better for Sumire lately. She was starting to get used to her new position at the newspaper (even though her assistant is rather mean). Her love life seems to have stabilized a bit now that she has been with Hasumi for a while. And at home she has a fluffy cheery pet to play with and relax with. Sure there is still plenty of stress in many aspects of her life but when you compare this to how her life was when we first met her, this is pretty darn good.

Well, that period of happiness seems to be all over now.

First, Hasumi is being sent to work in Hong Kong. Sumire cannot stop him from going, for she knows this will be great for him. At the same time, she cannot get herself to go with him because of her job here in Tokyo. She might not be in the best situation right now with the paper, but it is improving in some ways. She also has the rest of her life here and then there is her pride. Why did he have to leave? Why isn’t he trying harder to sweep her away from here?

Then there’s her office assistant who seems to have had an agenda since the moment Sumire was transferred into this department. If it is not bad enough that she is lazy and is completely resentful of Sumire’s background, she now wants her man! What is seriously wrong with this person? Doesn’t do work, but wants respect and pay; doesn’t know anything about Hasumi but wants his arms around her!

Finally, her pet is starting to turn a bit reclusive. Momo is critical to Sumire’s emotional health. Momo is who she turns to for warmth and as an ear when she is down. If Momo has run off, not only is Sumire worried but she doesn’t have anyone to turn to. Momo might be a pet, but he also has feelings and something is taking him away from his home.

Poor Sumire, she has to do something to keep her life in check… But she seems to not know where to start.

Comments
Poor Sumire, she thought she was moving closer to living her ideal life – nice condo, nice job, good looks, good looking boyfriend and a fluffy pet. Well, she was close, really close. Unfortunately, life swiftly showed how fickle it could be at times, as some of that have been taken away. Why does this have to happen to her? She tries so hard and still karma ends up working against her. What does she have to do find real happiness? Why can’t she get her way the easy way sometimes? Why can’t she just be given a life time supply of mermaid stories to write about and a stress free love life like you might read in some romance novel?

You know after reading this volume I have to wonder about how I should be feeling towards Sumire.

Should feel sorry for Sumire? Ogawa has worked so hard to put up a front so as to make her lead appear to be strong-willed and independent. Then we have volumes like this where we can see Sumire at her toughest and we can equally see how pathetic she is. She is not at all the independent woman we are lead to believe she is. Anything that happens to her drives her to loneliness and depression. She has to turn to her Momo for strength and support. That's not to say she cannot be weak at times. However, it is frustrating to have yet another emotionally weak and self-destructive lead character (get enough of that in shonen romances).

The contrasting sides of her personality make her problems seem real, because life can be like that - up one minute down the next. However, I don't get how she cannot take charge of her life more. How did she get to Harvard? When she was at ToDai (Tokyo Univ.) she was a full time nerd but she had to turn that around when she initially got in the journalism industry. In this volume, Ogawa takes time to show those two sides through Sumire's friends and co-workers. Each character sees a different part of Sumire's personality, and they have a hard time accepting or even acknowledging that she can be any different from what they see. We also have chapters where she seems to step up on her own. Simply put what the hell happened to her spine and is her pride so superficial it actually holds her back?

Reading volumes like this can sometimes sour a series for me. It’s not that I don’t like change, but I just don’t generally like pathetic characters. Sumire is much more interesting when she is cold and assertive. She can kick ass and she does in this volume. But once she goes home, she is a wreck. Once she is in the office she is a push-over. Nevertheless, seeing Sumire as a badass with her close friends and beating up on kidnappers really makes this title worth reading. Watching her take on ghouls and ghosts with journalistic integrity was a hoot as well. Ogawa has to work on the balance a little more, because when Sumire is on fire I can really care less about her pet (but I don’t think that’s the point either).

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