January 20, 2009

Unfortunately, I only have time for one review tonight, too.  It’s a one-shot quickie.

So, I ordered this one right after it was solicited, before it was really announced, about seven or so months in advance when I saw it appear on Right Stuf during a sale.  There was no plot summary, no author, no info on Amazon.  I knew it was a one-shot based on the lack of a volume number.  I rolled the dice, hoping for “Wanted” by Eiichiro Oda.  I mean, how many other one-shots could there be with that title?  At least one other, apparently.  It worked out for the best, because I’ve never actually read anything by Matsuri Hino, and she seems to be insanely popular now.  Not that I still wouldn’t rather have the Oda one-shot.

I think the most significant thing I have to say about this volume is that it is exactly what a shoujo manga should be.  It follows so many conventions that I would actually give this to anyone who didn’t know anything about shoujo manga as a learning aid, especially since it is complete in one volume.  I am paying it a high compliment of a sort, but also know that it is not an absolute-must-read for every shoujo fan simply because it is such an archetype.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I thought that the pirate setting was unique enough and everything was written with skill, but there is very little else that is remarkable about it.  I just think it’s amazing that it did absolutely everything right, I guess.

Let’s see, what does this volume contain?  Girl who disguises herself as a boy?  Check.  Shy couple not willing to admit their feelings for each other?  Check.  Romantic adventures on the high seas?  Check.  Plot twist at the beginning about the couple that you could see a mile away?  Check.  Heroic rescues of the girl by the boy?  Check.  Lots of hand-holding without much action?  Check.  Possible choice for a second boy and the beginnings of a romantic triangle?  Check.  Pirates?  Check.

The couple is really cute, and I did love the pirate theme.  The two main characters interacted really well, and the give-and-take between them as far as them being shy around one another was pretty perfect.  Both were likable and somewhat unique characters in their own way too, but again, they don’t really break the standard shoujo mold… they are just really great examples of typical characters.  The stories don’t have continuity, and I enjoyed them enough that I probably could have read one or two more volumes.  The Navy captain was the possible love interest I mentioned as the second boy, he actually says some pretty sweet things to the female that I could imagine going any number of directions had the series continued.

The most notable thing about it, actually, was probably that the first page was a drawing of the grim reaper with “death shall scythe your skull” written on it, which is actually the huge tattoo the main male character has on his chest and neck.  I guess that’s not something you find in just any girls’ comic.

It was a shoujo archetype, and I enjoyed it immensely.  It did absolutely everything right, so if you’re just looking for a heavy dose of girly reading, look no further, especially since this is a one-shot.  Don’t expect it to break any new ground, though.

This was a review copy provided by Viz, though the story I told at the beginning is also 100% true.  I own two copies of this book.