W-Juliet Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 190
  • ISBN: 1-59116-602-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

W-Juliet Vol. #02

By Sakura Eries     May 29, 2006
Release Date: December 01, 2004

W-Juliet Vol.#02
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Translated by:William Flanagan
Adapted by:

What They Say
Sixteen-year-old tomboy Ito Miura has become fast friends with her schoolmate and fellow drama enthusiast Makoto Amano. The problem? Makoto's a boy who must pass as a female drama student in order for his family to approve of his acting ambitions.

Just as Ito and Makoto begin to feel the impact of their strong attraction to each other, Takayo, a fiancee imposed on Makoto from childhood, and her sinister brother Takashi, have decided to transfer into Makoto's new school! Add a college-age lothario and a spoiled rich-girl actress, and what chance can genderbending true-love possibly have?

The Review
The front cover shows Ito and Makoto in their Swan Lake costumes. This time Ito's in the dress and Makoto wears the pants. Ito's got long hair that looks like it's blowing out of control and she's wearing a peach gown with flowery bows and ruffles. Honestly, the look doesn't suit her (maybe that's Emura's point). Makoto's behind her; with his blue cape and white cravat, he looks like a handsome ship's captain. The background is kind of a pale yellow sky that again gives the cover a faded look. The title logo, which is a white quill with W Juliet in brown script in the foreground, is at the top. There is a forest green header and footer bar framing the cover. The top header bar has the Viz Shojo logo to the top left in white, and the bottom bar has author's credits in white.

The back cover is the same forest green as the bars in the front. A white story summary panel is placed in center and slightly to the top of the back cover. Inside the panel are the W Juliet logo, the summary in script font to the left, and a picture of Ito and Makoto by the school shoe lockers. Ito's in a sage t-shirt to the right, and Makoto in girl's school uniform is in the distance behind Ito. Below the white panel are publisher, book orientation, and rating icons.

Binding and materials are about average, and the print quality is pretty good. Extras include a "behind the scenes" manga afterword and ads for other Viz titles.

Emura's artwork has improved over the first volume's. Character designs are still about average, but her consistency is better. However, the proportions of Ito's face could still use some work. Her costumes are great; elegant when they need to be and silly when the occasion calls.

Backgrounds are pretty good, and, in true shoujo fashion, there are lots of hand-drawn flowers popping up with the entrance of certain characters. I'm happy to see that her panels are less crowded than in Volume 1 (she got more pages allocated maybe?). However, there are still areas where it's difficult to tell whose dialogue bubble belongs to whom.

Viz keeps the honorifics (although this volume doesn't include a glossary), but halfway through the volume, they go from calling the drama adviser "Sensei" to "Ms. Ito." Halfway through, they also start using pronunciation symbols (which I personally dislike because I can never remember which symbol makes which sound). Signs are translated with overlays. Japanese cultural references are explained in footnotes. As usual, Viz has done a nice job of replacing the original Japanese sound effects with English sound effects and varying font styles.

The dialogue translation could use some improvement. Ito mentions in at least two places a change in Takashi's "speech;" however, it's unclear if she's referring to tone, voice, or choice of language, and Takashi's actual English dialogue doesn't really give any indication. A few dialogues come off as confused, and on page 13, a line got repeated in two bubbles, which I think was in error. The back cover summary still says Ito's 16 while the text in the manga says she's 17. There was also a typo in the text (p. 61) and in the author's notes. Some of the font sizes are a bit small although that seems due to Emura's crowded speech bubbles more than anything else.

Takayo's back "and she's brought her big brother with her! Shortly before Valentine's Day, the girl that Makoto's father wants him to marry transfers in with the intent of getting closer to Makoto. Because of her poor health, big bro Takashi, who happens to have a huge sister-complex and will do anything for Takayo, transfers in with her. While Takayo respects Makoto's dream, Takashi sneers at Makoto's ambitions, and both siblings despise Ito.

As a result, Valentine's Day is hardly what Ito hopes. Between hoards of fangirls mobbing her, Tsugumi armed with a love potion, Takayo hanging off of Makoto, and Takashi stealing the Valentine's Day present Ito's prepared for Makoto, nothing is going right for Ito. However, Makoto is able to turn the less than ideal circumstances around to assure Ito of where his heart lies.

Then April swings around, and it's time for the clubs prepare for the signing assembly where new recruits will sign up! Each club has an hour slot to promote itself, and the drama club's performing Swan Lake! But the stakes are high -- because of budget cuts, they MUST get at least 5 new students or face being shut down. This is especially worrisome for Makoto, who stipulated to his father that the school that he transferred to must have a drama club. Without the club, he faces being transferred out -- and away from Ito.

Takashi takes advantage of this situation, and vandalizes the drama club's rooms and supplies, demoralizing the drama club. Ito and Makoto are still determined to go on with the show, but Takashi manages to cause a misunderstanding between the two, forcing a rift between them.

However, love reigns supreme as the pair manage to resolve their spat and wind up closer together. Between their renewed determination to save the club and provision from the alumnus Toki, the drama club is on track to make their recruiting performance. However, Takashi is not to be underestimated, and he redoubles his efforts " focusing solely on taking Ito down!

Emura turns on the comedy in this volume, from love potions to farce costumes to anti-Ito booby traps (which I found especially hilarious). Even when our villains are being villainous, their methods tend to be more silly than sinister. For a shoujo, it's got lots of martial arts combined with the parody. I realize that it's probably physically impossible for Ito to move as much as she did wearing two costumes, but it's a type of comedy that encourages you suspend belief for the sake of effect.

Ito and Makoto's relationship is progressing, but it's not without its misunderstandings and rough spots. All the challenges and confusion bring out both their vulnerable and strong sides, which makes them interesting, and in my opinion, endearing.

This title is rated teen for some swearing and comic violence.


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