I originally reviewed the first volume of Read or Dream on February 4, 2004. That review gives a quickie overview of the whole R.O.D. continuity to that point and ends with a short review of the manga.
Now that an English translation of this enjoyable series is out, I wanted to take a look at it, of course.
In general Viz did a decent job of the translation. Of course they lost the honorifics, replacing “Ma-nee” “Mi-nee” with Mags and Mich…which totally has the opposite effect of the names with the honorifics (Anita is being both casual and respectful with her nicknames, highlighting their sibling relationships – something that is crucial to the story in later volumes – while in the English version the nicknames are merely causal,) but in most other respects they left the names and story intact. The final chapter, with the “kiss scene” conversation and the sexual tension between Maggie and Faye wasn’t changed at all, so thumbs up from this Yuri fan for that. ^_^
Visually, I thought the English version lacked some of the style of the original. The color pages of the original were not reproduced, nor was the dust jacket which covered an cute alternate universe story that was originally printed directly on the book cover. Instead, the story is reproduced in the back of the book on standard black and white pages. There’s nothing wrong with the way it was done – it just doesn’t have any pizazz.
Also. I wonder again about the ratings given to manga. I know why *I* give certain ratings to ALC manga. I wonder why this book, with inappropriate behaviors all over it, a strong current of yuri and shota – and an interview with manga writers and artists in the back that was conducted in an openly declared state of inebriation – is considered appropriate for young teens. I have no problem with it, and any kid I’d give it to would certainly be able to handle the content, but as a parent, I think I’d probabaly question the choice. Maybe Brigid at Mangablog might have an opinion about this? We talked a bit about this kind of thing at Manganext and neither of us were really able to come to a conclusion about they whys and wherefores of ratings by most of the companies. (My mistake: I checked the rating a little later to find that it’s “Older Teen” which I think is pretty appropriate. So forget all that for this book specifically, but the comment still applies generally. )
Is Read or Dream, Volume 1 worth getting?
Yes. In any language. (At the Yuricon Shop, you can find it in English or Japanese as you prefer.)
This first volume is a bit “wackiness ensues” but it sets many of the characters for later chapters and is easy and fun to read. There’s definitely added enjoyment if you know the Paper Sisters from the appearance in the ROD The TV anime, but it’s certainly easy enough to follow if you haven’t.
Yuri – 5
Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 9
Overall – 8
This definitely would make a nice offbeat gift for the tomboy/babydyke/Yuri fan in the family. ^_^