Video Girl Ai (Action Edition) Vol. #03 - Mania.com



Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-59116-103-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Video Girl Ai (Action Edition) Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     March 01, 2005
Release Date: September 01, 2004


Video Girl Ai (Action Edition) Vol.#03
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Katsura Masakazu
Translated by:Yuji Oniki
Adapted by:

What They Say
SPECIAL FEATURES
High School student Yota Moteuchi is nicknamed "Dateless." When the love of his life confesses she in in love with his best friend, Yota rents a video for comfort, but the shop is magical, and the cute star of his rented video tape pops out of his TV and tries to fix his ruined love life.

DEFECTIVE VIDEO GIRL
When Ai falls in love with Yota - emotions that are forbidden for Video Girls - Ai's creator recalls her tape completely! Yota must travel to the hazardous video world and battle physical and psychological hardship in order to prove his love for Ai.

The Review
Packaging:
Presented in a tall B6, in right-to-left format, this latest reprinting of a long running title leans towards the original look, but misses a few key points. Viz does good by using the original cover art on a light background; this design loses the clutter of Viz's first try and makes the framed image of new character Nizaki Nobuko the dominant part of this piece. The opposite cover has the same character piece placed on the title sticker of a VHS tape. I have to admit I love the creativity especially since I know that Jump Comics left their reverse cover completely void of Katsura art.

Inside, Viz uses new chapter headers (each are simply static backgrounds) and they modify Katsura's volume header to match. They also leave out a message from Katsura and the drawing collection that was featured in the Jump Comics version. The printing is also really dark. This is really obvious in the second chapter where the first ten pages that were not originally in B/W are not very clear, completely compromising the art. There were also a few alignment issues here and there, as the images in my copy were cut off, due to the alignment leaning a bit to the left. This volume features two pages of additional art from Katsura and an ad for Tuxedo Gin.

Artwork:
Katsura's art is some of the best received in the shonen genre. Not only are his designs cute and full of personality, but they tend to show a passion for fashion that Katsura has. At times, his costume designs can be a little outrageous; sometimes I wonder why his characters do not trip more. In general, they have unique designs with interesting lines that refine the bodylines of his characters.

While his layouts can be pretty simple, Katsura tends to keep his panels looking good by giving his background art a good amount of detail. His detail is quite refreshing, especially when one considers how often his contemporaries in the shonen world ignore backgrounds all together.

Text/SFX:
Having done a comparison with my original tankoubon, my impression of the translation is rather positive. There are a few situations where the dialogue was out of context, but neither time affected the story much. If there was a problem with this volume, it had to be mistakes in dialogue placement. There was at least a pair of situations where the dialogue was in the wrong text bubbles.

Viz translated all of the SFX in this series. The touch up is pretty good, but at times, I really wished they did not use such large overlays.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Poor Yota after trying so hard to get the attention of a person in love with someone else, he realizes that love was by his side in the form of Ai. Now that he knows that, she is leaving him. After failing so many times before with so many other people, he is not going to give up on this chance now. Unfortunately, he will be tested along the way. He will have to understand how delicate love can be. He will have to live with his past to make his future as a part of a couple and learn from his mistakes and his fears. He will have to be unconditionally honest with himself if his love will be strong.

Yota was all of that. He won Ai's heart. And he lost her again...

Fast-forward to the next school year and Yota is not yet over his video nightmare. He is still in love with Ai. The experience has taught him a lot about himself and how shallow he was before. His maturing has given him the resolve to accomplish his goals and be more assertive with his feelings. It will be another test, for sure. Nevertheless, this is one he is willing to take, if case love ends up sitting next to him in homeroom. Wouldn't that be funny!


Comments
Love is a very complex idea. At times, it seems to be very fragile or it can be very strong all at the same time. I can say that in my own experiences, love has been very painful and it has brought me much pleasure through the years as well. Love is something that must be nurtured. If left ignored love brings frustration, anxiety, loneliness and depression. Yota has felt most of the negative aspects of love recently. Soon after finding love in a mysterious place, he seems to only be getting the negatives. Love is something that must be supported mutually, strengthened and expressed unconditionally. Yota tried to do all that, but he was robbed of even having a chance. Now, he will have to start all over again (or does he have to). Love is something that is hard to forget. It has such a profound affect on the soul and the heart, that time may never really heal it is the suffering it causes. There is nothing like love and Yota now knows how important it is for people to keep it.

In my opinion volume, three is like a new start to this series. It is where the anime finishes and it is where Yota begins to really get a grasp on what love means to him. He has to start over again, and he suffers from some of the same mistakes again, but now he is more conscious of what he is doing. Katsura seems to be more aware, as well. The art is starting to get more confidence, and the writing is starting to create more and more plotlines that are more in tune with the issues of the rest of the cast. I almost want to say a person could just start the series here, because Yota is a much better character now than he was before. That really is what I took from this. Yota's growing up is what will define the next few volumes. If his desire is strong enough, he might get what he wishes for. If it is not we as readers will be suffering with him. Either way we will be entertained by the difficulties that love brings, but now Yota will not be as naive and that is much easier to relate to.

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