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Kia Asamiya's Nadesico Book 2
170 Pages
Kia Asamiya
Kadokawas Shoten
CPM Manga
Has a better plot than the anime version.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Kia Asamiya's Nadesico Book 2
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

"If I was a prince, I shouldn't have to rescue you after your in danger. I should take care of you before the trouble begins." - Akito Tenkawa

When we last left the crew of the Nadesico, they had just ‘earned' their clearance to leave the Earth. Their mission: journey to Mars to assess the damage to the colonies and rescue any survivors. But, things are never that easy, are they?

In many ways, Book One was a little too much like the TV series and just digressed at times, but all that changes for the better in the second volume. Reality takes a sharp turn to the left to head down a completely uncharted path that gives the manga a much darker tone, much like that of the Nadesico: Prince of Darkness movie. All of this begins when Ruri is picked as replacement captain of the Nadesico when Yuriko is hurt in a valiant attempt to escape a rival ship.

There are two key elements that make the Nadesico TV series work. Well, three if you count the fan service, but I digress. Anyway, these elements are the inter-personal relationships of the crew members and the sheer fact that the series' heart is in being a spoof of fandom. Yet, where the TV series seems to loose its direction at the half-way mark, the manga constantly hits the mark with both solid and engaging story-telling and just does more with the overall narrative.

Of course, that isn't to say that the manga isn't confusing sometimes as well. This is most evident in scenes displaying battle sequences. I found myself striving to figure out what the heck was going on but often got lost trying to find the artwork underneath a sea of over-the-top sound effects added by CPM. Even in calmer parts of the story, it can be hard to figure out which characters are speaking, because not enough is shown to be able to discern who is who.

I did notice two points in the story where word balloons didn't have anything in them. I don't know if they were like this in the original, but when compared to other American comics, an empty word balloon generally means something is missing. It doesn't detract from the manga, it just took me out of the story because on page 59 the scene was making reference to Akito's tattoo on his neck. By the way, there isn't even a tattoo on Akito's neck in that picture. I'll chalk this missing text up as a simple error in sentence spacing. But, the other instance comes on page 116 during a pivotal scene. I was expecting a reactive murmur in disgust or at least a shocked noise, but all that is there is an empty balloon. Maybe I'm just being anal again.

Yet, my biggest gripe with this volume actually affects a lot of other manga on the market. I absolutely hate how the artwork looks like it was put on a low resolution scanner and printed out on a dot matrix printer. All the pages just look so faded and, well, dotty. This is an incredibly nice volume, with a great story, but the high-grade paper stock makes the printing problems appear all the more profound.

Although the volume has it's problems, the story more than makes up for any grievances I might have and makes it well worth the price tag. Plus, I love when trade paper backs are printed full-size because the artwork and word balloons are so much easier to read. There are even some nice features which I wish other companies would consider more often: first, the two page spread of Ruri in the interior front and back covers looks really sharp; second, there is a table of contents so the reader can actually flip to the exact page where a chapter begins; and lastly, there's an awesome omake section with a picture gallery, informative interview with both Kia Asamiya and Mika Akitaka, and a cool mecha designs gallery. All in all, this volume is definitely worth picking up if you're a Nadesico fan.

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