Yuri Manga: Burst Angel, Volme 2 (English)

March 18th, 2009

Burst Angel, Volume 2 is a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.”

When I first read this volume in Japanese, I was touched by the tender and genuine relationship between Jo and Meg, and enjoyed Meg’s obvious desire for Jo – something the anime had set aside in favor of extended giant robot fight scenes.

And then Tokyopop licensed the series. I was very excited, because I knew who was working on it, and was reasonably assured it would not suck. Then reality hit. Take a look at the long list of people who worked on this book on the front page and you will see a story of lay-offs and process malfesance. And, in the end, the best volume of the Bakuretsu Tenshi manga has become the not-terribly great second volume of Burst Angel. It’s not crisis-level “OMG, this sucks massively!”, but I’m not singing paeans of joy accompanied by heavenly choir, either.

The good news is that the manga itself is nice. Sweet, a little funny, with a light-hearted beginning that darkens as the series goes on to a more ominous tone. Much like the anime. The Yuri-est bits are not handled well. The translation is a bit silly – in one key moment, completely utterly incorrect and it has the overall effect of diminishing the reason I am reading this otherwise merely okay series.

But what really pushes this particular volume into “fail” territory for me is the craptastic reproduction. Tokyopop is, hands down, the most inconsistent of the large manga publishers. One series will be handled beautifully, the next like they did it on their lunch break. I realize that a lot of that has to do with timing, staff and money resources, etc. What you see with this volume is what happens when a book is rushed through as the staff is being fired from underneath it. The lettering is unacceptably bad in several spots – clearly no one was left to check it. I am *very* tolerant of margin and lettering errors, because I know just how hard it is to get that kind of thing right. But this is really abysmal.

The reproduction of the art (which was terrible in Volume 1) is much improved here. And to be fair, the art is not clean, draftsman-quality lines. (This was the artist’s first professional manga.) If the translation and lettering were at least at the level of the reproduction, the book would be perfectly fine.

All that having been said, if you are a Burst Angel fan, a fan of Jo and Meg, or just like a little light-hearted Yuri and can look past the technical issues, this volume is still worth getting.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 6
Service – 5

Overall – 7

It is once again my pleasure to thank Okazu Superhero Eric P. for being the sponsor of today’s review!

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One Response

  1. Rinu says:

    Erica, you forget to mention that half of it isn’t translated :P.

    Tokyopop is, hands down, the most inconsistent of the large manga publishers. One series will be handled beautifully, the next like they did it on their lunch break.
    Haha, it made me bursting out laughing (and my friend which was bored at office too). Actually, I would like to meet the ones which are made by TokyoPop and are handled beautifully. After getting better in Japanese, I *know* I will choose Japanese original over licenced one done by TokyoPop, no matter that I won’t be able to get many lines.

    Thanks for the review. And like I have said many times, it’s shame that BakuTen anime didn’t animate Meg’s dreams and plans, lol. At least battles were neat and you know that Jo’s burning for Meg was subtext. Okay, okay, I admit I enjoyed it due to Meg/Jo slashing in my head, heh.

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