Saturday, February 16, 2013

Manga Review: Bran Doll by Ryo Takagi

Genre: Action/Adventure (I'm not sure if it's shojo or shonen), mistitled as yaoi
Rating (Out of 5): ~2-2.5
Publisher: Go Comi! (Boyz Love)
Volumes: 1
Spoilers?: Minor-ish
Available at:  Amazon.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fen has just been assigned a position in the Special Dispatch Force (a.k.a. the "SDF") protecting the King of Felamorga. When he arrives at the office for the SDF he discovers he's been accidentally enrolled in the Special Doll Force instead! Fen discover to his dismay that his new job is to search out and retrieve "bran dolls" with the help of four strange but beautiful men – who have more than just the job on their mind!
This is a one-shot (single volume) manga from the Go! Boyz Love imprint.


This was not quite what I thought it would be. I picked it up mainly because it was a one-shot from Go Comi!, mostly ignoring that it was yaoi and what the blurb on the back says. Not that that would have changed my wanting it, but still.
This was mostly a mediocre read for me.
Bran Doll is about Fen, a guy who has been working very hard all his life in order to work for the King, only to accidentally stumble upon a different secret group working for the King, and ends up being pulled into that group instead. Now, instead of working in security, he’s helping find a bunch of special dolls. He’s not very happy about it.
My biggest problem with the book was that I didn’t really feel like I got to know any of the characters well enough. It was at a pretty surface level that I got to know them at all, which didn’t make me feel very strongly for any of them.
Fen was just alright. At the beginning he seemed a bit full of himself, all ‘everyone envies me’, but that quickly went away and he just seemed like an average male main character. We meet the King and two of the people that Fen work with, and I never really got a good idea of any of them, and even had a hard time remembering who was who. Then there’s Dio, who’s actually the Princess but pretending to be a guy while working with the guys, and Fen is the only one who doesn’t know who she is. I never really got to know her much, either.
This book is under the Boyz Love group of GoComi!, but I don’t think that applies here. There’s a romance between Fen and Dio, but Dio is a girl. I also didn’t really feel very strongly for the romance; I knew it was there, but it was just okay. I didn’t really care much, either way, really. And the part where they finally got together was just alright--not immensely exciting or anything.
There are five chapters in this volume and four different missions, which means that we were introduced to a different problem every chapter, and thus different characters that we never saw beyond that chapter, and I think that’s why I didn’t get a good sense of who anyone was. There was too much time spent on other people that didn’t go anywhere. Usually you officially meet every character and get a sense for them in the first chapter, but in this book, it instead moved into a specific mission.
The last mission was the biggest and dealt with the King and Princess and their long lost brother and what that had to do with the dolls, including the reveal of Dio Is The Princess, and I guess that was the most interesting.
Again, I just didn’t really get enough of a feel for any of the characters; not enough to care very much for what happened.
It was just okay, I suppose.
Sidenote: This manga was created by the same author as TheDevil Within, which I remember reading years ago, even though I actually remember very little of what happened in it. It was a short series, only two volumes, but I do think it was better than this one.

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