Mania Grade: B
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- Art Rating: B
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Text/Translatin Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 16 & Up
- Released By: Go! Comi
- MSRP: 10.99
- Pages: 200
- ISBN: 978-1-933617-69-5
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Wise Man Sleeps
A Wise Man Sleeps Vol. #01
By Danielle Van Gorder
May 28, 2008
Release Date: February 28, 2008
A Wise Man Sleeps Vol.#01
© Go! Comi
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:Brynne ChandlerWhat They Say
Miharu hasn't been having a good year. Her mother died, leaving her only a single ring to remember her by, and her father went bankrupt - leaving her with all his debts! Though she'd intended to sell the ring to pay off her debts, Miharu finds herself unable to part with it... literally!The ReviewPackaging:
Go Comi is going the extra distance to cross promote this with Her Majesty's Dog, Takeuchi's other Go Comi series, with not only the series title prominently displayed on the back cover, but the eye-catching series logo as well. The cover is also attractive and well designed enough that it'll stand out on the shelf, with all those dark burgundies and blacks. The print quality overall is very good, with nice, crisp lines and deep blacks.Art:
Readers familiar with Takeuchi's work should find this familiar, but as this is an older series than Her Majesty's Dog the art is definitely less refined. Her action scenes in particular lack polish - while it's easy enough to follow what's going on, she relies almost completely on speed lines to impart drama and movement to the panels. There are a ton of over the top reactions and almost SD moments that she pulls off extremely well.Text:
All sound effects are translated into English, with the majority subtitled on the page. The translation is a little rough, but readers shouldn't have a problem following the action.Content:
After her mother died and her father vanished, leaving her responsible for his debts, Miharu has not been having an easy time of it. The local mob boss wants her to pay off the debt with her body, and the only thing she has to remember her mother by is a single ring - a very valuable ring, as it turns out. A geeky, bumbling boy by the name of Rintaro pops up out of nowhere to inform her that the stone in the ring is actually a wise man stone, possessing strong alchemical powers. He tries to convince Miharu to give it to him on behalf of the organization he works for, but she decides to try to sell it to the mob boss instead. But a last-minute change of heart and a rather questionable decision leaves Miharu literally unable to part with the stone, in a series of events that are thankfully left mostly to the reader's imagination.
Having absorbed the wise man stone, Miharu now (at least, in theory) possesses powers, although the true nature of these is still unclear. In Rintaro's case, he can use his wise man stone to transform into a suave, blonde, ultra-competent version of himself - in theory the "perfect" version, but his ego is more than a little grating.
As it turns out, it's not just wise man stones that have special powers - other, more common stones can be infused with different types of power as well, for good or for ill. And now that Miharu has the powers of a wise man stone, she seems to be attracted to them - be it a ruby that brings out the worst in an old friend, a haunted gemstone bracelet, or amber that can freeze time. While her life might not have improved much, it's certainly gotten livelier!Comments
This is a hard book to classify - there's drama, but that's hardly the sole focus. There are horror aspects, but there is quite a bit of comedy as well. The real appeal of this book is in the characters. I suppose if I had to class it as any one thing it would be a supernatural mystery series. Miharu is strong but brittle, completely unwilling to trust anybody else (and who can blame her?), pragmatic to a fault, and willing to do anything it takes to survive on her own terms. But she's also remarkably vulnerable in some ways, especially when it comes to her father. Rintaro is more comedic foil than well-developed character at this point. In his usual form he's almost useless, a clumsy bumbler who seems destined to fail in any endeavor he attempts - although he does seem to pull off exorcisms well. Transformed, he's a blonde Bond wannabe, smooth (or something) with the ladies and a good hand in a fight. He's supposed to be the ideal man, or at least the ideal Rintaro, but I found myself waiting for the non-ideal Rintaro to return. At least he was somewhat interesting, and not nearly as slimy.
Once we get past the initial story setup, the mystery aspects work out pretty well, and should appeal to male and female fans alike. The only story that didn't really work for me was the one dealing with Miharu's actress friend. There wasn't any real history between the two provided to the reader, which made the resolution less compelling than it might have been. If it didn't rely so heavily on the friendship aspect that wouldn't have been nearly as big a deal. At this stage it's hard to predict if the story is going to remain episodic, but I don't think the story will suffer if it does. It's a setup that works well, and a very different take on alchemy than some of the other Japanese interpretations that have been brought over. Fans of mysteries or oddball comedies should give this one a shot.