To say this series was a pain to get a hold of would be an understatement! Part of this admittedly was my fault, for not staying abreast of the new releases, but I also have to say they One Peace don’t seem to either print enough copies, or give enough to the european market.
I’ve had volume 2 since the day it released, but it wasn’t until today, that I got my hands on volume one, along with volume three which was released this month. So although I wish I’d been able to read it earlier, in a way I’m happy since i got to read three awesome volumes!
I loved the anime and hoped the manga would be just as good, but a little less confusing. It succeeded on the first, but not the second hehe.
As far as the story goes, Shoji has successfully transferred the anime to print, so far. The characters all have the personality that they should, and over the course of the three volumes I found myself once again getting into the Aquarian lore (as confusing as it is!)
All of the characters i know and loved make their appearance, and are just as dynamic as they were in the anime. This is something I find usually doesn’t do so well in manga. The personalities of the characters tend to be a little wooden as the writer and artist try and mesh the two together in a single frame or two.
While this is something you get used to reading manga, when you get one like this where it all fits perfectly together you end up watching a movie in you mind as you read. Which for me is the pinnacle of manga, and something all the best manga have been able to do.
The story flows a lot faster than I recall it doing in the anime, which i have to admit makes the confusion that I felt all the more pronounced. At the minute I can let it go, and see it as ‘character building’. However in future volumes Shoji really needs to start explaining the relationships, since it’s really confusing at times.
Though i have to admit, I do like the confusion to a certain degree. Since it means that i’m not 100% seeing all the plot and progression it means it can surprise me. So long as things are cleared up neatly as the volumes come out this means we’ll have a truly amazing series.
I have liked the plot thus far, and while it does throw a lot at the reader, character wise, it’s not over bearing. At the minute the series has a great foundation laid, now Shoji needs to let the story run wild and carry the readers off.
The one thing i didn’t like in the anime, and sadly has happened here as well, is that right from the start the ‘relationships’ are set. By the third volume you pretty much know who is going to hook up with who. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, its the norm for manga and anime. However i got the impression that Shoji was trying to hint at other possibilities, but in a rather clumsy way that doesn’t really convince anyone. This is a shame really, given how well the rest of his writing is. Though one of the biggest questions I have that still hasn’t really been answered is, How the hell is Commander Fudo still alive!
Sadly, Aogiri does let the side down a bit. For the most part his/her art is really good. The character designs are spot on as are their cityscapes. Frankly i was really impressed by the fact their designs were close enough to the originals to be almost copies, but different enough to have a life like appearance.
Sadly the one area where skill was really needed is the one area that they failed in, the mecha. The Aquarian, the Vectors, and the others, just don’t look very good. While not being horrible, they are a stark contrast to how good the rest of the art is. What’s more it felt like he/she knew they couldn’t draw them properly, so as a result we get a lot of close ups, so as to remove the need for more complex drawing.
Personally I was very disappointed in this, since I really like the mecha in the series.
Now, onto One Peace, and I think for probably the first time ever I don’t have any ‘real’ complaints, other than availability.
The quality of the release us really good, a nice soft feel cover thats neither to hard or soft, feels great in the hand, and has some amazing cover art. Only thing I find ‘wrong’ is a stylistic choice, I don’t like the name of the company on the front cover. It looks and feels misplaced. Having it on the spine would have been enough, along with a company logo on the cover, so as not to get in the way of the art. But like I said that’s a stylistic thing.
Paper wise is little disappointing, it’s standard manga paper, which means its not going to last very long, In fact volume one is already showing signs of fading and it’s not been out for very long. Since i’ve recently been reading a lot of Dark Horse reprints I’ve gotten spoilt 😀
Translation was pretty much spot on, I wish they’d kept the honourifics in the series, but other than that there was nothing majorly wrong that caught my eye.
The only other thing of note i’d mention is I wish they’d have done these as omnibus editions. The average page count for Aquarion is around 150 pages. The first volume itself feels very ‘skimpy’ and light given the price. I feel doing these as double omnibus editions and sharing around £10-12 a volume would have been better value. However given there’s only a few volumes currently available in japan I can see why they didn’t do that.
So, conclusion, and why is this series of the month.
Conclusion wise, after three volumes I’m really happy with the series. It’s got it’s flaws, but it still manages to draw me in and make me feel i’m living the story. Which for me is a huge thing, if a series gets me to suspend disbelief and reality and get sucked into it’s story, it’s a series worth reading!
Frankly that reason alone makes it worthy of being on my Series of the Month list!
If you want to try out the series, but aren’t sure, make sure to check back in a few days when i’ll be launching a competition for the first volume of the series, along with some other goodies as well!!