January 16, 2008
Mercifully, the series ends with this volume. There is a volume-long story where the girls have to capture a Barbary Lion (which, oddly enough, I was reading about not too long ago – it’s believed they may still exist since some were kept privately by Haile Selassie and others, zoos included). The rivals show up again, but they do not actively antagonize the girls, and the menace in this story is what appears to be some sort of parody of a personified version of the Burger King king. It, ah… wasn’t a very good story. I did kind of like the family element to the Barbary Lions, and there were a couple sad and touching moments, but then again, I am a sucker, and even those didn’t make reading the volume worthwhile to me. Soas not to be too negative, it’s pretty obvious that these stories improve volume to volume, and this one was much better than the ones in the previous volumes.
After the lion story wraps up, there’s an attempt to gather the scattered plot threads and resolve what’s left of the actual plot of the series within a matter of pages. It made sense only because it was extremely obvious where things were headed as soon as they were introduced in previous volumes. In addition to the use of repetition again and again, we also get slapped with an environmentalist message on the last page, which reads “Every time we bring another endangered species onto our Noah’s Ark, [Earth’s Destruction Clock] is set back one minute. Won’t you help us complete our mission? For your own good…”
There. I’ve just spoiled the series for you. You’ll never have to think about it again now, and neither will I.
January 16, 2007
Nope, this series doesn’t get ANY better in volume two.
Most of the volume is dedicated to one story, which is about the girls trying to rescue a huge land turtle. Instead of the usual short-term goofy rescue they normally pull off, this one involves a ghost and a backstory for the animal that the girls somehow get drawn into. It’s slightly disjointed and jumpy too, but not nearly as bad as it could be. At least it didn’t end as predictably as I thought it would. Admittedly, it was kind of epic, and the basic plot of this episode was really good, but everything that still irritates me about this series is still here. The over-the-top characters with no personalities, the stupid jokes that come much too frequently, the obvious link between their mysterious classmate and the member of the Solar System they met earlier that look EXACTLY THE SAME, stuff like that all still gets on my nerves. Mostly it’s the stupid jokes and bad characters.
Aside from the episodic stories, the series is also trying (and failing) to develop an overarching plot involving the lives of the characters. This takes an extreme backseat to the animal missions though, so the patchy appearance of this plot (and the plot is TERRIBLE) doesn’t help my opinion of the series, either. The fact that development is attempted and fails spectacularly should tell you something about both the plot and the characters.
It also explained the plot of the series about three times before it got going. Granted, perhaps it needed this if we’re only getting one volume a year, but I could’ve done with just one summary, really.
The badness is frustrating though, because I really do want to like this series, it’s got a good premise. The terrible execution, though… I don’t know if future volumes of this series can save it from the deep hole it’s dug itself into.
Perhaps this isn’t as coherent as it should be, but words fail me when trying to adequately describe how terrible this series is and how disappointed I was when I read it.
January 13, 2007
Ugh, I really didn’t like this one. In a fit of madness one day, I bought all of Sang Sun Park’s series published by Tokyopop based purely on the fact they were fantasy-oriented. I’ve heard good things about Tarot Cafe and always kind of wanted to read Les Bijoux (or however it’s spelled), but this one was something I hadn’t heard of before. It seems to be her newset series, and it seems to come out at a rate of about 1 volume a year or so.
I kind of liked the idea of the sons of Noah being turned into daughters and reenacting the whole Noah’s Ark story. Except… somehow this was turned into a comedy, with a heavy-handed environmentalist message that gets thrown in your face during every mission (which I was prepared for, but it was badly done all the same). Plus, Ham’s name was translated as “Hamu,” which bothers me because the son of Noah’s name is Ham and is not hard to translate, especially since it’s the easiest and Shem and Japeth survived intact. Intentions or no, Hamu is very wrong.
They also, for some reason, have little helper animals that turn into cute modes of transportation that they ride off on at the end of every episode. Why they don’t board the ark (which won points for me for being a whale) is a mystery to me, unless it was purely to feature these completely useless helper animals. Though, to be fair, they use the helper animals to find one of the sisters at one point.
Somehow gender play also comes in (Japeth was apparently raised a boy and plays one at school, which they shouldn’t be attending anyway since the plot doesn’t really allow it), and they also put in some shoujo romance.
It’s just… terrible so far. Everything I mentioned may not sound too bad, but the series just seems to trip all over itself. I really, REALLY wish it wasn’t being played for laughs, because that alone would help make the series so much better.
Rrg. I have volume 2 as well, maybe it’ll get better as it works some of its problems out.