Tuxedo Gin Vol. #05 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 198
  • ISBN: 1-59116-255-6
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Tuxedo Gin Vol. #05

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 22, 2004
Release Date: March 01, 2004

Tuxedo Gin Vol.#05
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Matsuura Tokihiko
Translated by:Kenichiro Yagi
Adapted by:

What They Say
Ginji Kusanagi "dies," but sometimes love can transcend death! In order to stay close to his precious Minako, his one true love, Ginji comes back to life reincarnated as Gin-chan the Adelie penguin.
Minako is finally reunited with Ginji! The only problem is that it's someone posing as Ginji trying to take advantage of Minako! What's a poor penguin to do? Can Gin-chan save Minako before it's too late?

The Review
Like most of Viz's titles Tuxedo Gin is presented right-to-left in a tall B6 GN. This volume has a fun group image of most of the Tuxedo Gin cast with the star Gin right in the center of the cover. Once again, the cover art is on a penguin pattern. Although I am not a fan of the pattern I still liked the look overall (and yes the pattern was there on the original).

Logo Check!! (©2003 Megs)... Viz's logo might not be as cute as the original but its still pretty creative. They use penguin shapes under a crooked blocky font. It's cute and fun but not as cute as the red and penguin filled original.

The printing is pretty good in this volume, no issues with tone or the pages being placed to close to the binding.
This volume contains ads for Action Graphic Novels and Excel Saga.

Influenced by Egawa Tatsuya (Golden Boy/Tokyo Monogatari), who he was an assistant to, Matsuura's characters are long, a little blocky and have a sketchy feel to them. Lines are long and not too thick. To be honest the stroke work is very similar to what a lot of artists were doing in the shonen/seinen world at the time. Sketchy lines are used for added depth sometimes even on top of screen tone that already presents shadow and perspective. Looking closely you might find similar designs in Egawa's Golden Boy or Tokyo University Story. Fortunately his characters are not cutouts, like Egawa's early works were.

Matsuura's facial expressions and costume designs add another level to the art. With a few penguins, who would normally all look identical, costumed up with different looks on their face can really make things easy on a reader and make the humor flow easily as well.

This volume tones down the action while raising the amount of sight gags and slap shtick. Even though this is a shonen comedy the backgrounds are great. Quite often pretty detailed (and funny because of what you can find in some backgrounds), so the art never really disappoints. Good stuff for shonen if you ask me.

SFX are translated in a glossary. I like it, but I can see this being frustrating to some. Solid Viz release. Good translation with few if any errors. Honorifics are left in only when in reference to Gin (Gin-chan).

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
"Operation Ginji Returns" is in full scale. This fake Ginji has already ignored Minako, read porno and urinated in public and had the nerve to ask out other people while on a date. He could at least take off that huge motorcycle helmet and show his face in front of the girl that has been waiting for him for so long. But why would he? Hikomaru is on a role and in his mind Minako will be forgetting Ginji any moment now.

Minako never really wavers. She knows Ginji's personality and mannerisms too well to fall for something like this. Her memories of the guy she has been waiting so long for are too strong to be wrong at a time like this. Really, she can only play along with the game, as it is her nature to be helpful and supportive, even if the experience could be painful. In the end it is her kind nature that not only has Hikomaru understanding why she could do so much for someone without getting much in return. And if she can get a jerk like Hikomaru to relate to that.

Matsuura continues to present Minako's good nature with a pair of holiday filler chapters. Holidays like Christmas and New Year's are perfect times to express ones feelings for others. Matsuura gives both situations cute twists, but they really do not do much for the story. Gin gets to be Santa's little helper at Minako's old kindergarten. All the animal cruelty was worth finding out that Minako has wished she had a penguin ever since she attended this school. And possibly more entertaining was the wonderful times Gin and Minako shared on their way to share their New Year's prayers. A drunk Minako is not only really cute, but is quite happy to share her feelings for Ginji loudly with the rest of the world!! Dangerous (but cute)!

More filler chapters follow, but the focus is turned to Gin as he navigates to some fanservice heavy episodes. Every title needs an onsen chapter and unfortunately for Gin he does not get to spend too much time in the open-air hot spring, instead he has to be the entertainment for a pack of neighborhood geezers. Drunken crotchety old men want to be entertained with old-fashioned improv-comedy and if you happen to have a penguin around try not to miss the opportunity for some real laughs. In the end the night becomes a man to penguin battle with Musashi to see who gets to the girls bath first (insert nosebleed here). And since it still is wintertime, why not have a skiing chapter. Penguins are at home in the cold weather so snow sports are a snap for them, but can Gin play keep-away with Minako with all the playboys hitting on her?

Finally, there is a new rival in the neighborhood. A local policeman is wishing to serve and protect Minako and will use every trick legally (and illegally) possible to get her. He'll even resort to blackmailing a penguin! Officer Akaishi may not be too bright, but he knows what he wants and like Hikomaru he has the resources to pose a threat to Gin (he may not have the looks or the personality... and did I mention he is not too bright). He only gets one chapter but the ending is really set up for a long battle.

Even with the fun fan service chapters, this has to be one of the weakest volumes in this series. After a great, but short, segment with Hikomaru making his move for Minako, the rest of this GN goes into holiday mode. Chapter after chapter is pointless cheesy fun all done in a routine that has been done over and over. There really is not anything wrong with it, many shonen titles fall into that pattern quite often, but I was a little disappointed with all the effort put into developing Minako's character immediately preceding the long stretch of filler. Getting introduced to a pair of new characters was cool, but the more important one - the new rival - did not come until the last chapter, which actually annoyed me instead of motivated me.

All in all Tuxedo Gin is still a very fun shonen title. Matsuura has a different spin on an old theme and by using that angle (penguins) he easily can get laughs and present some interesting perspective on tired manga clichés. His art is wonderful, nice mix of etchi/kawaii and yanki gangster with lively backgrounds and layouts. As a whole it?s really a fun experience with a nice romance building underneath all the slapstick and penguin action. There are probably other shonen titles that are more consistent, just as funny or more exciting but if there is one title where I can just turn off the brain and just laugh my arse off for 190pgs this is possibly going to be one of the titles I would choose. And hey, penguin boxing action and onsen scenes cannot be passed up even if there is filler, right.


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