Saturday, April 10, 2010

Manga Review: Mikansei No. 1 Volume 2

Clocking in at only two volumes Tokyopop's Mikansei No. 1 won't demand much from your shelf space. The first installment was released here in the latter part of 2009 and today we're looking at the second volume, which hit stores a little over a week ago. In case you're unfamiliar with this particular series, all you really need to know is that it's a shoujo romantic comedy. The book follows most of the genre stereotypes with regards to characters and plotlines, but the setting is more on the unique side.

Mikansei No. 1 follows the exploits of a girl named Neo Takigawa who happens to be from the 23rd century. In her time she's considered an outcast due to her love of loud music and flashy clothing. The norm in that particular time period is to conform and not stand out, so naturally that doesn't sit well with her. Through a series of circumstances she finds herself back in the 21st century and winds up joining a band in an effort to live out her dream. To hell with disrupting the timeline!

Neo makes a splash almost immediately and she befriends another musician named Saya Kudou, who also wants to make the big time, so they make a band called Clap=* (that's supposed to be a star by the way). Together they do what they can to get on stage, but that isn't as easy as either of them thought it would be. In the second volume of the manga their time is at hand and they've been hitting the streets trying to get people to come to their concert. Unfortunately things fall through and their venue isn't quite what they thought it would be. As one might expect, however, Neo finds the positive to the situation and looks on the bright side though when Saya announces he's going to leave the country and go back home she reacts in a way she never thought she would. From here a relationship grows between them and the two become closer as they strive to become a hit band.

One of the more interesting things that comes about in this installment is the involvement of people from the 23rd century who are tracking Neo down and trying to bring her back. There are some fun moments with regards to this as we see glimpses of the future as they are looking at the past. Both plotlines come together in a dramatic moment towards the end of this volume and it brings about a fitting, if not somewhat abrupt, conclusion to the series.

Mikansei's second volume by Majiko is attractive and packs a lot of personality onto each page. The book maintains a sketched look and isn't as polished as other efforts, but really I think that makes the artwork stand out more. The characters are cute, the backgrounds are detailed, and all around Majiko's style really speaks for itself. The translation of this installment is solid as well with smooth dialogue and no noticeable errors.

If you saw the first volume of Mikansei No. 1, then you'll definitely want to pick up this second piece to round out the collection. If you're new to the franchise though, you should consider this two-volume affair entertaining, but not exactly the freshest thing out there. The premise is appealing and packs a punch, though the character personalities and development don't break stereotypes. Overall it's entertaining, but not an incredibly memorable manga.

Maki Rating:

Review material provided by Tokyopop. Mikansei No. 1 is rated Teen 13+ for Aggression (Rah!).

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