I\'s Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 182
  • ISBN: 1-59116-969-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

I\'s Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     October 09, 2005
Release Date: September 06, 2005

I\'s Vol.#03
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Katsura Masakazu
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
BITTER SUMMERAngst-addled high school student Ichitaka was hoping for a romantic hot springs getaway with the lovely Iori, his number-one-crush-turned-teen-model - fat chance. Their dynamic duo has quickly become a fantastic foursome now that his childhood friend (and uber-babe) Itsuki, along with his nebbish buddy Teratani, are tagging along. A starry summer night stroll affords Ichitaka the perfect chance to confess his feelings for Iori, but his declaration de amor seems to fall on deaf ears. Will he get back at Iori by hooking up with a headstrong (and bouncy) beach bunny?!

The Review
Outside of the censorship, Viz does a great job with the presentation of this title. First they use the original coverart and formating. This cover features Iori in a green bikini with the ocean at her back. The image shows off Katsura's great ability to do color and looks really sensual. The colors are a great contrast to the yellow background the piece is on. They also keep the original logo with katakana. The opposite cover has a long volume description and another Iori image.

Inside the printing looks pretty good. More importantly, this was a volume without alignment problems. I was glad to see Viz really keep an eye on these two issues, for I did not want to have Katsura's art further compromised. At the end of the GN, Viz kept the 5-page illustration collection and added a preview blurb for volume 4.

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. As this title does not feature sci-fi or fantasy elements to it his costume designs are not as original as those seen in Video Girl AI or Shadow Lady. However, Katsura seems to always be able to create designs that give definition to the bodylines of his characters. One of things I have noticed over the year is how he draws his faces has changed. Eyes are smaller and there is much less definition on them. Instead he focuses his efforts into specific moments for facial expressions and to show emotion.

This volume would have featured a panel of nudity (bare breasts on page 51) but Viz has censored the image. Viz has also enlarged an existing set of stars that were censoring Iori's body (page 91).

While his layouts can be 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. I have also begun to appreciate how he is able to show so much emotion in panels that do not even have dialogue. The layout, perspective and sequencing used really helped set up the mood for each character interaction.

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 has 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)
Happy days are here again for Ichitaka, as he has been blessed by the dating gods with a with his new crush Iori. If you can believe his luck, Iori has agreed to not just go out with him, but she agreed to a weekend at a beachside onsen! Think about it. Ichitaka is going to be able to see Iori in a swimsuit when they hit the sand and when they get together for dinner at night they will both be in loose yukata. Talk about a young man's dream. Being able to spend a potentially romantic weekend with a model turned quasi-date has put Ichitaka way up on cloud nine where nothing could bring him down.

Well, I spoke too soon. Two of his friends crash the party, almost ruining the weekend altogether. Nothing wrong with Itsuki joining in. She may be a little pushy and nosy at times but she is a loyal friend so her heart is in the right place. Moreover, why would Ichitaka not want to spend a weekend with two women. However, Teratani is a creepy letch without comparison. That guy alone can put a damper on a whole year. Teratani has been nothing but trouble all series. His showing up might mean moral support in the short term but often indirectly causes problems for Ichitaka at the worst time possible.

With his plans ruined, Ichitaka has to improvise to salvage the weekend. In some ways, this almost becomes a blessing because he has to force the issue as he might not have another chance. The settiing will be the ocean at night. Under the moonlight with the waves pounding behind them, the two will have that moment all for themselves and he will be in the perfect situation for any result. A romantic setting and a being able to share one's feelings with someone special, either result would be move in the right direction for the young man. Hopefully he will not make too much of a fool of himself. And why would he, when a man cannot look foolish if he is completely honest. But what if he is not even able to get across what he wants to say?

Love is about taking your chances sometimes. As Ichitaka finds out, sometimes there are plenty of opportunities and then there are times when there never seems to be time. Nothing ever goes right at times, so life almost seems to be playing tricks on people. Ichitaka has to overcome these conflicts as they arise. If he is as serious about Iori as he is he has to keep on fighting. But is it really worth it? And what if he gets shot down? Is it right to continue with something that might be futile when there might be better chances elsewhere? Love is about taking chances, sometimes you cannot miss any chances cause they might be your last.

I don’t know why but I did not really enjoy this volume very much. I wonder if it is because I am getting back into this series a few volumes in. Maybe it is how the conflicts for these characters are already settled. I had to take some time to recall their problems and once I did, they did not feel quite as significant as they used to be. Instead, I could not feel for Ichitaka at all. He seemed like a spoiled brat. He could have grown a spine after going to so much trouble. And then to have a chance to rebound he ends up doing something stupid like going back to someone who has been giving him so much grief.

Communication is a big thing in Katsura’s romances. He tends to have his cast take their time learning how to express themselves and open their hearts up to the positive and negative aspects of love. However, nothing changes in this title. It is old and derivative. Moreover, these characters are not as likeable as those in Shadow Lady or Video Girl AI. There is a level of shallowness to these for characters that makes them hard to feel sympathy for. Outside of Itsuki, who is trying her best all the time and keeps on getting losing her chance, I almost want most of them to fail. I don’t see any endearing qualities. They are quick to judge. Some are too self-involved and I have no clue where to even start with Teratani.

As much as I”s still has a place in my heart, I have to say I think the replay value is not what I thought it was. This volume was clunky and tired. It almost had me forget what I previously liked about this title, which is sad cause I felt that the first time I read through this title I was captivated from start to finish.


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