Everything is Oll Korrect!

An eclectic bibliophile's journal…

Tag: Zekkyo

ToraDora vol. 7 (75 Books – XLIII)

I wrote about the first two volumes of Zekkyo’s comic adaptation of ToraDora way back in July 2011, and volume three a few months later. Since then, each volume has continued to follow the anime fairly closely (I haven’t read the original novels, so I can’t make a comparison there), and my opinion of it has remained consistent from volume to volume. The character art is good, the jokes generally work, the drama is, perhaps, a bit melodramatic at times, but that’s just part of the style. It does have a high school setting, which I almost always dislike, but I’ll give it a pass since I’ve been following the story for so long.

The things I’ve complained about previously are still around; background art is rather plain, it’s a bit wordy, and there are a few annoying localisation choices. Too much saying “like” and “totally,” and using kaicho instead of “class president,” which is especially distracting because one moment you have a character talking like a stereotypical valley girl, then they’ll throw in the obviously Japanese kaicho. Again, though, it’s not too bad, and the translation does a decent job overall at giving each character a distinct voice.

So overall, it is a solid enough adaptation. The fact that I’m seven volumes in, four years after starting the series, is proof enough that Zekkyo’s doing something right. The strength of the original story shines through, so while it’s not a must-read by any means, if you’re a fan of the anime and want more of this story, by all means check it out.…

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The Bibliophile’s Journal II

First, a programming note – over the next couple months, I’ll be finishing up my web design certification, and I’ve just begun a Biblical studies programme, so I’ll be busier than usual. I’ll continue to blog and update every Sunday, but expect more short posts like this for a little while.

With that out of the way, I’ve gone through a few graphic novels over the past couple weeks. I talked about Gunslinger Girl volumes 11-12 in the previous post, but here are the others:…

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ToraDora (GN) Vol. 3

Most of what I said here about the first two volumes of the ToraDora graphic novels applies to the recently released third volume, but there are some improvements. ToraDora still lays on the dialogue thick, but the talkiness feels less oppressive than previous volumes. Zekkyo’s varied panel layouts and ‘camera angles’ help. The art also changes occasionally, for example for a Fist of the North Star reference, though whether that was particular gag was entertaining or just awkward I can’t decide.

Most of this volume focuses on Ami, and I appreciate the break from almost-exclusive treatment of Taiga and Ryuuji, though Ryuuji still serves as our point-of-view character (he’s the only one to provide internal monologues, and is present for every scene).

The translation (by Adrienne Beck, with ‘adaptation’ by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago) sounds decent in English, and I appreciate that each character has their own mode of speech. My only complaint is when one character is referred to as ‘kaicho‘. As far as I know, ‘kaicho‘ simply means ‘president’ or ‘chairman’ (she’s president of the student council), so why not just call her that? If there’s some special meaning to ‘kaicho‘ that rendered it untranslatable, it’s not explained anywhere, not even on the one page with translator’s notes.

On a final note, not that I’m complaining, but is it just me or did everyone go up a bra size? That excludes Taiga but includes Ryuuji, as an imagined ‘Ryuuko’ gives ToraDora its best ‘WTF?’ moment so far.…

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ToraDora Graphic Novel

ToraDora Scan

I love the ToraDora anime. The show ranks as one of my all time favourites, and I also own the first novel of the original novel, albeit mostly as a reminder that I remain barely literate in Japanese. So, when I heard that Seven Seas would publish the comic adaptation I knew I had to grab it on day one.

I didn’t have much to say about the first volume. Zekkyo, the artist, did a respectable job adapting the story, the art was good, and overall the book was enjoyable, just not anything to write home about. However, Zekkyo used most of the early chapters setting up Taiga and Ryuuji’s relationship. The other two main characters, Minori and Kitamura, received hardly any attention.

However, I expected that to change with volume two. We do get to see a little more of Kitamura, and Zekkyo also introduces the fifth and final main character, Ami, in the last couple chapters. Once she appears, Ami receives a lot of attention right away, and becomes a focal point for the last two chapters. Minori, though, continues to stay mostly on the sidelines. In the anime version, she appears frequently and often steals the show, especially in the first half, but it seems Zekkyo wants to focus on Taiga and Ryuuji. That’s understandable, of course. They are the protagonists. However, one of the anime’s strengths is how every character, even those with only a handful of lines, feels like they have a life and story of their own outside of how they interact with Taiga and Ryuuji. I would love to see Zekkyo accomplish the same here, because ToraDora has such a likable cast of characters.ToraDora Scan

Even without comparison to the anime, though, I suspect that the graphic novels would still feel claustrophobic, as Lissa Pattillo described volume one over at ANN, partly because of how verbose it gets. Flipping through the book, several pages suffocate under a tangle of speech bubbles. All the dialogue and monologue feel all the more oppressive in part, I think, because of the often dull backgrounds. Now, to be fair, Zekkyo does a fine job drawing the characters themselves, and there’s often not much to work with as far as settings go. Most scenes take place in school corridors (as on the right), walking down city streets, or at a restaurant that reminds me of Denny’s.

A few final points. As I said above, the characters are still likable, and I like how expressively Zekkyo draws them.

I also like the perspectives and panel layout, though navigating the myriad speech bubbles becomes unnecessarily difficult in some of the talkier parts.

Page 97 seems to have a printing error, where the top tenth of the page is reduplicated over the second tenth or so. I didn’t notice any such problems in volume one or in Gunslinger Girl, the only other Seven Seas release I own, so I’m hoping this is just an isolated slip-up. Let’s not turn into ADV already, please!

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