Saturday, January 21, 2012

Manga Review: Kodocha: Sana's Stage, Volume 1, by Miho Obana

Rating (Out of 5): 3.5
Publisher: TokyoPop
Volumes: 10

Goodreads Synopsis:
Sana gets a part in a TV movie, costarring with a hot new actress, but she'll never get to the studio if she can't survive the bullies at school. Akito the Demon Hayama continues his reign of terror so Sana comes up with a crazy plot to put him in his place. Sana takes advantage of Akito's fear of heights and challenges him to a bungee jumping contest! Maybe the world's biggest bully will finally back down.
I've watched a bit of the anime of Kodocha (and mostly because I'd watched AMV's of it, which made it look interesting, and still makes me intrigued), but I never finished it. And I knew that TokyoPop had published it, but I never really thought about reading it. But then I saw it at Powell's (because they have a bunch of them), and decided to get the first one, at kind of a spur of the moment because it sounded good. And I thought that there was probably more of a chance of me actually finishing it. And most of this volume was about the same as the first, or first couple (I can't remember), episodes of the anime.
So anyway, the main character, Sana, is a TV star, who also goes to school. She also doesn't seem to go by her script in interviews. But at school, where most of it takes place (since she's in middle school, I think?), her class never seems to learn anything, because the boys always cause a ruckus and make the classroom a mad house and bully the girls, while the girls are afraid to do anything, and the teacher is too timid to do anything about it. And apparently their teacher and the gym teacher, who apparently never has a class to teach because he's always dropping in, are having some kind of affair that Akito is blackmailing them about. (I don't really see what's so bad about them being together. I'm guessing that the school has a rule against it, or something? Also, it really bothers me that the teacher lets them do whatever and just cries about it, because that's very unrealistic. And that no one has done anything about the boys until Sana, who apparently didn't want to get involved, gets involved and fights back.) And Akito is Sana's personal enemy, as he opposes her until she blackmails him with a kind of ridiculous picture (but I guess they are middle schoolers...).
Most of it focuses on Sana fighting Akito, and then helping Akito with his terrible home life (which is terrible). Also, Akito's best friend Tsuyoshi, who's also timid, is very sweet and likes Sana. And I feel bad for Akito, and also don't really like him 'cause he's a jerk, but I'm expecting to warm up to him, since he's got that expressionless, leave-me-alone, wounded character to him.
Oh, and Sana's mom is pretty awesome. She's a crazy author, who's a bit sadistic to her editor, who also has a squirrel that lives in her hair. And Rei, Sana's manager and “gigolo”, I like. I most remember him from the anime, and it's hinting that something it going to happen with him that Sana isn't going to like, but I think I already know what it is...
It's mostly stuff that I'd already seen in the anime, but since I haven't seen the anime in a while, it's mostly a refresher. I don't mind it, though. And while a bit of it is ridiculous to the point that it bothers me, I am enjoying it, and will be picking up the next one when I can.
The art is fine, but one thing that's bothering me is the little author's notes within the manga. Not the side panels, but that Obana with put in little comments during the manga. But that stuff usually bothers me, since it's unprofessional and takes me out of the story.
Oh, also, there were some extras at the end of the volume. The first one was about a dream that Sana had, that she's telling to Akito and Tsuyoshi. It's about Akito being a bee that infects people and turns them into bees, and Sana goes to fight him and turns into a bee and continues trying to defeat him after he deceives her. And so she's mad at Akito about it. I found it quite funny, especially seeing Akito as a big bee and attacking people while keeping expressionless. And the last extra are four little panel comics about Mariko (Sana's mom) and Maro (Mariko's squirrel), which are also very funny. I really liked these, and am looking forward to reading more in the volumes to come.

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