World of Narue Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: C
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-58664963-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

World of Narue Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 13, 2005
Release Date: November 01, 2004

World of Narue Vol.#03
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Marukawa Tomohiro
Translated by:Ikoi Hiroe
Adapted by:

What They Say
Kazuto thinks this will be the best Christmas ever, because he’s found the perfect gift for his girlfriend Narue. But the gift is stolen by a hyper-intelligent rodent that, well, steals things.

Also on the boards is a bizarre twist on Field Day, a quirky New Year's celebration, and the secret origin of the sentient spaceship, Bathyscaphe. If you read only one romantic comedy manga with lovesick spaceships, off-kilter scavenger hunts, and very realistic toupees -- this should be the one!!

The Review
Presented in right-to-left in a tall B6, the packaging for Narue is okay. The cover art used features the Narue and Kazuto in the foreground while three robotic female cast members goof-around behind them. This is on a green background that is framed on the top and bottom. The opposite cover features Narue, Kanaka and Hajime in PE uniforms under the volume description. CPM uses the logo they used for the anime here. It is pretty simple looking, and has this wonderful quote above it - "The inspiration for the hit anime!" Sigh!

After the inside cover art - action scenes from the manga - CPM has provided a few pages for volume header and character profiles for eight cast members. At the end of the GN, there are two ato-gaki followed by an ad for Comic Party. The printing is great. I have to admit this has improved quite a bit since the first volume and is a step up from CPM's other titles.

Marunaka's art is, well, sloppy. His lines are not very sharp, giving his form an asymmetric look. His eyes are often off balance and his jaw lines are all over the place. The layout is just as bad. His panels are often filled with action manpu, and for a title that has been so laid back and slow I found the overuse of manpu just distracting. It also got me to a reading pace that felt too fast for the writing. In general, I wish I could have avoided the art completely because it affected my opinion of the writing.

For the most part, the translation for Narue is decent. CPM is using a new translator in this volume so I was initially concerned about the voice being consistent with the previous volumes. The writing generally flows well and the problems I had with the translation sounding to literal have cleared up in this release, this change helped improve my reading experience.

SFX are once again translated with small subs. This has been a change for the better, which really helped the pacing of the manga, as the new SFX do not distract much or compromise art. The retouch looks lazy right now. They do not utilize bubbles to their fullest. Where they could use text in a creative way through font or placement, they have decided to leave some double-bubbles half used. Negative space in situations like that can be distracting (especially coming from my perspective as someone who is critical about proper translations).

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Love and friendship mean different things to different people. Sometimes the difference is really obvious for some but there are times when it is hard to understand where one stops and where the other starts. There are some that know that each one is dependent on the other, but there is no doubt that one needs experience and problems with both to get a good hold on each. I know from my own experience, that friendship is tough enough. I still do not understand love and I do not know if it can be fully understood.

The cast of the World of Narue is going through some growing pains in regards to romance. There are issues like jealousy where fear and insecurity can take hold and drive people to anger and doubt. Some might doubt themselves and their part in a relationship. Maybe they are not confident with themselves and they are taking it out on others. Others feel they need to live up to a counter-productive standard they make up for themselves (and only themselves). Love is tough, but Kazuto, Narue, Hajime and Kanaka tend to make it much harder than it should be. Do they make the journey funnier, though?

I do not know where to start with Narue especially since there is very little continuity to this series. What I can say, is that this title is going nowhere and has not made any progress for a while now. The idea of first romances can be fun, and the cast of Narue full of naivety and immaturity would be perfect for this type of manga. Marukawa-sensei just does not execute it well. The characters have no personality. They are all cutouts with minor insecurities and superficial tendencies. They do not really grow up much, but they expect readers to stay interested in their repetitive escapades. Maybe, more sci-fi or just some more personality, but these episodes are lacking creativity or imagination, love, and cuteness cannot save that.

Fun with rats, fun with ghosts, fun with doppelgangers, fun with robots and spaceships... Please make this stop. I know there is nothing wrong with having fun and nothing wrong with sugarcoated middle school romances but how much longer is this going to continue. Since the middle of the second volume, nothing has progressed. Nothing has changed. Episode after episode of dull sci-fi slice of life could be done so much better, but there is no plot and no spark. I actually believe Marukawa-sensei when he says he created the chapters for this volume whenever he had a crazy idea pop up in his head, because they are cute ideas without any substance. I think they would work fine enough in an anthology as the cuteness can be taken in small doses; a whole novel of it is too much to tolerate... It is too bad because, the cast is interesting and Marukawa could do so much more with them.


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