Aoi Shiro Manga, Volume 2

September 3rd, 2009

In the Jive edition of Aoi Shiro, the focus is squarely on the game characters, as opposed to Ichinjisha’s Yuri Hime edition of the story, in which the focus was on two almost irrelevant characters and was so tepidly Yuri that it failed to capture my interest.

In Volume 2 of the Jive version of Aoi Shiro, Yuri takes a back seat to Action and Mystery and other capitalized selling points.

Shouko, captain of the kendo club, is drawn into an ever-deepening mystery regarding Nami, the child she found on the beach. Her own childhood memories, Nami’s unusual dress, and a giant Bull-Demon all collide in what probably makes a pretty good game and makes a reasonably good manga. This is all made even more interesting by a suit-wearing Onee-san type from Shouko’s past and a guardian with one good eye-type from I have no idea whose past. And Nami transforms into someone older and less whiny.

It’s all full of shiny action and stuff. I’d go so far as to say it wouldn’t make a bad anime, probably. Better than most games that go to manga or anime, for sure.

I have never played the game, of course. Have you ever wondered about my disinterest in games? It’s not just RPGs or computer games I feel that way about – I don’t play card games or board games or games of chance. They simply bore me and always have. After I learn the rules, I have no interest in doing the same things over and over and over. It’s really nothing personal…except that I note that I have lost some very talented writers and artists to gaming, so in that sense it is personal. But for myself, I’d just rather spend my time translating a book, or publishing, or reading, or just about anything. The only game I ever enjoyed playing with another person was Knock-hockey, because none of the kids my age understood the concept of angles and I usually won. ;-)

Anyway, if you liked the Aoi Shiro game for itself, there is a very good chance that you’ll like the manga. If you liked it for the Yuri, the manga will disappoint, as there is so little that even Yuri Goggles fail to make it obvious.

Shouko and Nami have some kind of bond…it could be anything at this point.

There’s a bonus Akai Ito story in this volume, which positively reeks of the smell of Yuri, without actually having any. But it’s not bad in and of itself. It’s creepyish and horror-y, without being a horror story.

The biggest selling point is definitely featureless moe girls with weapons.

Ratings:

Art – Other than the character designs 8, the characters are so simplistic 6 is being generous
Story – 7
Characters – 6 but I feel like we’re not being given a chance to really know or like them
Yuri – .5
Service – 1 on principle, but really hardly anything

Overall – 6

And once again, I give my sincere thanks to Okazu Hero and good friend Komatsu-san. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review this. ^_^

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10 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    “I feel like we’re not being given a chance to really know or like them”

    I must agree, the manga completely lacks the rhythm of the game. The game allowed everything to slowly unroll in separate story lines; instead the manga rushes everything to the point of the story becoming waffle.

    The USP of visual novels is that by the completion of the game all entertaining avenues should have been explored so every character has had their time in the spot light even minor characters. Often this is lost in adaptation but not always. The anime of Kannon and the ‘When they cry’ series are good examples.

  2. BruceMcF says:

    I’m so glad you corrected the typo at the end of the review. If the slight bugeyes of the new PM is a sufficiently distinguishable “feature” to get him called “Alien”, then surely eyes the size of saucers for teacups would have to count as a feature.

    So they are not completely w/out facial features, merely extremely features-limited.

    ಠ_ಠ

  3. Pocky-san says:

    I kinda find it funny when people treat games as a redundant act, that never changes, when almost all things in this world are like that…

    You say that ‘once I learn the rules, I don’t feel like doing the same thing again and again…’, but if you think about it, aren’t games just another thing humans use to distract themselves?

    take for example, how you would much rather translate, or publish; things that obviously took some training and understanding of rules to do. It doesn’t seem to bother you that you go through essentially the same process of translating complex Japanese kanji-based humor into English, day by day. You’re just doing what comes naturally, or what entertains them. (I know it seems unfair to compare work to play, but hey, you brought it up too ^___^;;;)

    I think we all have our ‘thing’ that distracts us the most… gaming is just one of them.

    Also, what do you mean by lost some people to gaming? O,O

  4. C. Banana says:

    It’s too bad that you don’t like video games as there are fair amount of Yuri works that won’t get reviewed on Okazu because of it.

  5. @C.Banana – Plenty of opportunity for guest reviews. No one has offered any.

  6. @Pocky-san, I can only assume you;ve never translated – it’s hardly the same thing over and over. :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    As a professional translator, I must agree with Pocky. You’ll come to the point eventually where it is all the same.

    That’s nothing particularly special, though.

  8. Pocky-san says:

    well, I’ve never translated first hand (only helped translate a few games). So you could argue that I know nothing of translating.

    however, I can say that how I feel about publishing and translating is the same feeling you have for gaming and the making of games.

    I’m an artist, so I’ve met them all. Just about EVERYONE thinks they have the definitive definition of what is art, and what is not. At this point in my life I couldn’t care less about someones personal preference, but belittling things or art forms out of dislike… well that’s just rude.

    I know most people laugh at the thought of gaming not being an art form, or even gamers having their own culture, but pretty obvious that both are true. People who are fans of Manga or literature are just about as dedicated as fans of gaming and designing.

    I’ve worked around game designers and programmers, as well as publishers and translators, and neither field of work was located in the Matrix.

    most of the people I met from both fields worked as hard and as long as one another, and seemed as dedicated and interested in their field as one another.

    my argument is this: I don’t think it’s fair to think of gamers and the act of making games as people who are just into doing the same thing, day in day out.

    we’ve all got our favorite thing, and something that bores us, why put down people that like what you hate?

    ESPECIALLY when you’re argument feels so biased… I mean, you jumped on my lack of knowledge to translation when I brought it up. Is it really a shock that people would bring up yours?

    p.s. no ill will is meant by this btw, I just love a good argument

  9. @Bruce McF – they have no noses and practically no mouths. Eyes are a feature, but when they are the only feature, it’s damn unappealing to me.

  10. @Pocky-san – In NO way am I arguing that games are (or not) art. I am *not* saying that they are definitively boring. I am *not* saying that people are wrong for liking them.

    I said that they do not interest *me.* That is a truth and cannot be changed by your passion for them. You like them, I do not – this is what you perceive as “bias.” We both have “bias,” towards our standpoint, because we are human. :-)

    I am not arguing about the validity of games for other people. I merely state that, at 44 years of life I have yet to find a game of any kind compelling, while the complexities of language fascinate me utterly.

    Art, beauty, truth, etc are in the eye of the beholder and I can only speak for myself. If you want to generalize a statement like “Erica does not like playing games” into “Erica is bashing games for being an unworthy art form” then you are arguing by yourself. I never said that, I do not mean that, and frankly, can’t see how you even *saw* that in what I said. Except that, like most people who love a thing, when you see someone say they do not love it, you take it personally. It’s pretty normal to do so, but futile, as I have no actual opinion about games. I just don’t care to play them.

    @Anonymous – I love language and the translators I hire love the words they work with as well. If that were not true we would not do the work. Just as Pocky-san loves games, I love language and the fact that you do not does not change my perspective that translation is in no way a series of repeated acts. Translation endlessly fascinates me, because there is the beauty of not one but two languages involved.

    In the same way I do not see writing as a series of repeated acts, because the work I need to do to get a story, article or post done is hardly the same every time. :-)

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