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Multi-manga Review: Even More Shojo!

January 26, 2010

Again with the shojo?!? Yes, yes, I know. But this is the last of my Christmas and post-Christmas binge (well, excluding novels), so there’s that? Anyway, up today is St. ♥ Dragon Girl volume 5 from Viz (Shojo Beat), Itazura na Kiss volume 1 from DMP, and Tsubasa: Those with Wings volume 3 from Tokyopop.

St. Dragon Girl volume 5
by: Natsumi Matsumoto
published by: Viz Media – Shojo Beat imprint
from the back cover: Momoka Sendou (nicknamed “Dragon Girl”) and Ryuga Kou are childhood friends. Momoka is a martial artist, and Ryuga is a Chinese magic master who banishes demons. In order to increase his power, Ryuga calls on the spirit of a dragon to possess him, but the spirit enters Momoka instead. Now the two must unite forces and fight demons together! During the Sports Festival, Momoka brings lunch for Ryuga so they can eat together, but Akira isn’t happy that Ryuga rejected her lunch in favor of Momoka’s. Jealous, Akira calls on three impish wind demons to break the couple apart.
My ramblings: St. Dragon Girl has always been one of my favorites, and this volume is probably one of my favorites so far (though not the cover, that’s still volume 3, which I plan on cosplaying for SDCC ’10 ;] ). The volume starts out with an adorable short story with Ryuga’s cousin Raika and her dragon as the main characters. I’m pretty sure I love Raika’s dragon Raimon now, he’s fantastic (especially on page 33, where there’s an image of him freaking out as a dragon, which is just adorable!).
In this volume we finally get some sort of development in the romance department. Ryuga actually says, “Other girls have kissed me…but the only girl I kiss is you, Momoka.” (yes, it’s always been obvious that Momoka and Ryuga would end up together, but this is an actually development). And while it’s not exactly a love confession, it’s a whole lot closer than anything in the past few volumes.
The book is well edited as always, and I still love the design work. :] Oh, and serious props to the fanartists in this volume, because both the pieces featured in this volume looked fantastic!

Tsubasa: Those with Wings volume 3
by: Natsuki Takaya
published by: Tokyopop
from the back cover: Amid the foreign country of Japan, Kotobuki and the team encounter an old professor bearing the legendary secret behind Tsubasa!! Meanwhile, the Colonel prepares his malicious attack as the relentless army draws close to Raimon who waits for Kotobuki’s return to Ruan. Will Tsubasa’s true identity be exposed? And what is the destiny of Kotobuki and Raimon?! See the mysteries unfold in the emotional finale!
My ramblings: I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in my reviews of the first two volumes in this series, but I love that Tokyopop released this in the new bunko version and not as the original 6 volumes; it’s easier on my poor wallet and it means I get more story at one time (more the second reason than the first, though the cheaper total is certainly nice too). I know I’ve said this before, but the art in this series is not up to par with the end of (or even beginning of) Fruits Basket and that is kind of off-putting for me (probably because the covers are for the bunko version and feature all new art in Takaya’s newer style). The story is kind of crazy and it’s definitely not Takaya’s greatest work, but it’s a fun read and I still suggest it.
Tokyopop seems to have stepped up their game for this volume. In previous volumes there were errors aplenty, but I’m not sure I noticed even one in this volume (maybe one or two, but not near the amount seen recently). Glad to see Tokyopop stepping up their game, I’ll be buying more from them in the future now (i.e. Alice in the Country of Hearts and Happy Cafe) with a little more confidence.

Itazura na Kiss volume 1
by: Kaoru Tada
published by: DMP
from the back cover: Sweet airhead Kotoko has finally worked up the courage to tell Class A genius Naoki about her overwhelming crush! she pens the perfect love letter, walks up to him in the crowded school hallway, and…is publicly rejected! Luckily, Kotoko’s Class F has her back, and her best friends do everything possible to help her forget the devastating dis. But when a minor earthquake levels Kotoko’s home, she and her father must move in with an old college buddy and his family. The biggest shock of all? It’s Naoki’s house…and the two feuding schoolmates must learn to live under one roof and keep it a secret! Will the arrangement be domestic bliss, or a total bust?
My ramblings: While at first, I wasn’t going to get this because I knew about the unfortunate dead of the author and the fact that the series is incomplete, but after reading plenty of good reviews and being reassured that the ending isn’t one that just leaves you hanging, I went ahead and purchased a copy of volume 1.
I don’t regret it for a moment.
While the art may not be what I’m used to (seeing as Arina Tanemura is one of my favorite artists, and her art is so polished, where this is not exactly what one could call polished), the story is adorable, and even the art grew on me by the end of the volume. Kotoko is so lovable and even Naoki (in all his cold glory) is a fun character. I especially like seeing Naoki crack even just a little by the end of the volume. My two other favorite characters are definitely Naoki’s mother and his brother; they’re both hilarious. His mother’s need for a daughter never gets old, and his brother’s hate for Kotoko is just hilarious. Like I said before, even the art grew on me by the end of the volume; it’s not like the art is bad it’s just very much in a 90’s style.
This is my first DMP manga, and after this one, I’m definitely going to look into buying some more of their stuff, as they did a great job with this. The one thing that I did notice is that they don’t translate ” ‘rasshai “, and while I don’t mind and knew what it meant, there was no translation note of any sort to help anyone who doesn’t know. I’m guessing that they figured that most people who would pick this up would know, but the extra step would have been to assume that anyone could pick it up and put in a note or just translated the whole phrase to something like “Welcome.”
Bottom line? I highly recommend this! Don’t be off-put by anything about the series, because it will absolutely win you over!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2010 11:16 pm

    DMP has some good quality releases.
    I’ve only a couple of titles from them: You Nitwit! Heroes are Extinct! (it satisfied my love of making fun of the Power Rangers XD), Day of Revolution (due to me having watched Princess Princess) and Café Kichijoji de (very cute and funny – a must if you like seeing cute guys getting into crazy situations).
    I want to get their release of Princess Princess in the future.
    I was on the shelf about Itazura na Kiss too due to the whole situation concerning the manga-ka’s untimely death. But your review has made me rethink my decision. I might grab it in the future now ;)

    Also good to see Tokyopop getting a little better release-wise.
    I got my copy of Vampire Doll #6 awhile ago. I looked at the pages and questioned if it was even made out of paper. It was so thin! I was afraid just breathing on it would tear it! D:

    • January 27, 2010 12:38 pm

      I’ll definitely be buying more from them then, since I do love me some quality. xD
      That’s exactly how I felt about the series too, but I was reassured by people that it ends at one stage in their lives and that it does serve as some sort of ending. :]

      Yeah, Tokyopop has been stepping up their game, and I like it. :] The paper thing was supposedly a supplier issue, and they’ve since changed back so all the paper should be good from now on! :D

  2. January 28, 2010 9:39 am

    Oohh! What titles have caught your eye, if I may ask?

    Ah, so the ending is sort of an ending, but you can use your imagination to finish the rest. Is that it?
    As long as it doesn’t end like Venus Versus Virus the anime, then I am good. That was a bad anime ending >_>; I don’t think I’ve watched anything so far that compares. At least I usually get closure with others.

    I don’t get too many Tokyopop titles any more (Yen Press has been demanding my moneys) but I do buy their novels (all 3 of them they are still releasing XD). So better release quality is definitely a plus!

    Oh wait, I’m going to get Heart no Kuni no Alice because that is love ~ *heart* Yen Press can not stop me from getting that ;)

    • January 28, 2010 1:58 pm

      I’m really interested in getting one of their new novels, Yashakiden: The Demon Princess, but some other older titles look interesting too (like IWGP, ROBOT, Swallowing the Earth, and Utahime). :]

      I’m pretty sure I heard it ends when we find out that Kotoko is actually pregnant, so it’s not too far off the end of the anime. Basically they just end as a happy family, I think. :]

      I don’t buy too many from Tokyopop anymore (I buy almost all Viz/Shojo Beat now), but they’ve definitely been picking up some of their slack. After they had to cut back, I’m pretty sure they realized that they way they were just publishing everything (even if it was a piece a shit) wasn’t working and that they had to get good titles and do a good job on them like all the other companies out there. :]

      I’m super excited about Heart no Kuni no Alice now too~ :D

  3. February 1, 2010 3:47 pm

    St.Dragon Girl is awesome. Thanks for reminding me about since I def. need to start reading it again. I hope they pick up YumePat soon.

    The mother in Itakiss is definiatly the best part. Itakiss is kind of problemtic at times, but if you ignore most of the unfortunate implications its a fun story.

    (Oh and have you read Otomen 4 yet? It’s pwnsome).

    • February 1, 2010 4:06 pm

      You absolutely should~ :D I really hope they get YumePati soon too! I’m thinking it’s fairly likely since they do have SDG and the anime is on crunchyroll (good ole cross-promotion and the like). *crosses fingers*

      She just makes me lol every time she’s in the story. xD Which parts exactly do you find problematic?

      (agh, no, not yet! D: I need to get it and volume 5 [since it comes out tomorrrow!])

      • February 1, 2010 5:39 pm

        Nothing really. The series just has some scenes that could be considered “sexist”, but I just think it has to do with the time it was written. At least she generally pwns him when he’s being an ass.

        (I can’t wait till I get volume 5~)

        • February 1, 2010 6:43 pm

          Ah, yeah, I’m guessing that probably has to do with when it was written. It makes me happy when she one ups him (like from this volume when she black mails him with baby pics :D ).

          (ah, you’re making me want to buy both right now~ xD )

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