Monday, May 19, 2008

Haruka, vol. 1

Story and Art by Tohko Mizuno
Released in the US by Viz Shojo Beat

Slugline: Rather than traveling back to a fantasy China, this alternate reality romance has the heroine traveling back to historical Japan! Oh, how novel.

Maybe my slugline is a little harsher than it needs to be, but while this is a competently churned out story, it doesn't seem to go over any new ground and does not create much excitement. Think of this as another entry into the Fushigi Yugi genre, with time traveling Japanese schoolgirls being hidden priestesses that will save everything. Or make everything worse, it is so hard to tell it apart. She needs to find her guardians, which include some of her fellow students that all time-traveled to medieval Japan along with an assortment of bishonen boys that have pledged to their lives to her and find themselves attracted to her. And there is of course a pretty boy that is the main antagonist, who is considered a demon/foreigner because he looks different from everyone else and if he is a bad guy is not a very competent bad guy, giving Akane (the said time-traveling priestess) the time to find her guardians so that she can be a challenge. Sorry, can we ever have a bad guy who thinks that using any advantage that they can get is fair, rather than waiting for the odds to stack up against them?

While some of the character bits are well handled, others are not, and I don't really see where it adds anything new and different. If you read Fushigi Yugi, you have pretty much reach this, so unless you just love the concept to pieces, it is hard to recommend this. It is another of the not bad but not interesting titles.

Haruka, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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