X day (Kanojo-tachi no) Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 193
  • ISBN: 1-5918-2379X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

X day (Kanojo-tachi no) Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     January 09, 2005
Release Date: August 01, 2003


X day (Kanojo-tachi no) Vol.#01
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Mizushiro Setona
Translated by:Shirley Kubo
Adapted by:

What They Say
It's senior year, and Rika is seriously stressed out. She's got more homework, exams, and papers than she can handle, and was recently dumped by her boyfriend. In other words: Life sucks! One day, she's chatting online when she meets three classmates who hate school as much as she does. Together, they hatch a plan to blow up the school when no one is present. The countdown is on for X-Day...

The Review
Packaging:
TOKYOPOP gave this a solid presentation to this title. They kept the original cover art, volume header art, and ato-gaki. The did leave out the sub-title for this volume - X-day is coming. The reason I bring this up is that they use if for volume two for some reason.

The front cover has (from left to right) Polaris and 11 in front of a window at school. TP frames this original cover art with a green chalkboard and has the back cover art in white on green to continue that chalkboard feel. I really wished TP did not frame this cover as the front covers for one and two if put side by side are one continuous piece with all four main characters.

No new omake for this volume, however TOKYOPOP did have a short preview blurb for volume two and ads for: Kodocha, Mars, Peach Girl: Change of Heart, Chobits and Love Hina.

Artwork:
The art is very good. While I am usually not a fan of thin lines like the ones used hear Mizushiro-sensei gives her characters depth and a lot of expression. Those expressions are really important to an emotional story like this and seeing the looks on these characters almost tells the story as much as the dialogue does. Character designs are very nice and are a fun mix. Whether its long haired beautiful 11, dark maid Polaris, tall and mature looking Jangarian or average looking Mr. Money each one has their own look and style. Add to that a few supporting characters with genki or mature looks and you can really appreciate Mizushiro's skill.

Backgrounds can be pretty nice when they are there but quite often they are not present. The layout is really interesting. More often than not the panels are laid out really simply, almost to a routine, but the close-ups, the perspective and the SFX can really set a tone to the manga that makes things feel a bit uncomfortable. It doesn't take away from the manga but I felt it was so simple and subtle that it kept me on edge.

Text/SFX:
The translation was good and this time they put in some of the emoticons that were not present in the translation for the first volume. As the cast gets to initially meet each other over the net, emoticons and cyber-jargen was crucial to the story, therefore I was disappointed to see this ignored.

SFX are not translated. Yeah there are not many SFX this series, but come on we want the original SFX but we also want to know what they sound like.

Contents:
Rika's life has been rough lately. After breaking her leg, she is no longer the future track and field star everyone thought she was going to be. Actually, after months to think about it, Rika has come to realize that she may have never been what everyone expected her to be. Appearances can be deceiving, especially if people do not make an effort to get to know you. Judging by her sudden lack of friends, no one really tried to get to know her and maybe she did not know them as well as she thought, either.

Sometimes when there is nowhere to turn to people look for the easy way out of a bad situation. Rika, alone and stressed over the un-natural social structure that school brings, is now willing to do anything to change her increasingly stagnant life. With the help of some classmates, she finds over the schools network, she finds a way to start all over again. Everyone involved has been trying to start over again with a new life and if their efforts bear fruit they will likely never feel alone again. What they do not realize, though, is how their new unique bond has brought them real friendship from places they possibly never thought they would find it. Rika might not be alone any more, but there still needs to be some more changes done right?

Comments
Mizushiro with X-day draws a story that might be dreamt up by a large number of high schoolers - one where if they had the power they would love to pull off for possibly millions of unique reasons. At the time, that I read this the story felt rather relevant to the increasing headlines of high school violence in America and Japan. What is unique about how Mizushiro presents this is how she paints her cast as regular lonely people. They come from their own unique perspectives and apart from the main character Rika, Mizushiro never really goes into too much depth for anyone else in the gang of four. I felt this choice made it really easy to associate with a specific characters personality. Each of their pasts are there for you to make up along the way. And if you find yourself gravitating to one character the pain and confusion becomes much more real. This resulted in a fun compact story with a surprising amount of character development. These characters grow up so quickly they do not notice it themselves until it is almost too late.

With so many long series out there, getting a chance to read a good short series is refreshing. Even with the dark subject matter, X-day was one of the better surprises of 2003 and it remains one of my favorite shojo titles translated into English. It is a rare title, in regards to the seriousness that hardly ever makes it across the pond. It is also a drama title that does not rely romance or comedy to progress the writing. I really wished this title was a little longer but what can you do - two volumes wrapped this tale up nicely and it left me wanting more. Always leave them wanting more right!

Highly recommended.

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