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Monday Manga Reviews: Aria, Hell Girl, Hunter X Hunter, Here is Greenwood, Short Suzen, and V.B. Rose

Aria vol. 1
Story & Art: Kozue Amano
Translation: Elina Ishikawa
Adaptation: Gina Lee Ferenzi
Publisher: Tokyopop

A few months ago I reviewed Aqua and fell in love with the world of Aqua (which as it turns out was Mars in the 24th century). Aqua was the prequel for the manga Aria, which at the time I thought was released in America. Well, as it turns out the Aria manga just hit the US and I finally got around to reading it. I would first love to point out the gorgeous cover; something about Kozue’s covers really brings out my inner-child. The story takes place in the city of Neo-Venezia, based on Venice in both architecture and atmosphere; it also serves as harbor city of narrow canals that people use to get around instead of streets, traveled by gondolas. At the start of Aqua, Akari arrives from Manhome (Earth) to become a trainee gondolier with Aria Company because her dream is to become an undine. While Aqua showed us her training in pairs, her solo adventures are shown in Aria. The artwork is clean, detailed, and utterly breathtaking. Amano does a wonderful job on the beautiful scenery (whether it’s calm or raucous), loveable characters, and a fun, simple outlook on a simple life. There is a feeling I get when reading this manga that I can’t describe. It’s the same feeling when I watch a Miyazaki film and I get taken away to that timeless and endless world. I highly recommend this wonderful book. A+

Hell Girl vol.1
Story & Art: Miyuki Eto
Original Story: The Jigoku Shoujo Project
Publisher: Del Rey
Many years ago I read a manga called Hell Baby that scared the crap out of me. Let’s just go on the record and state that Hell Girl has nothing to do with Hell Baby….thank goodness. Judging from that cover of what appears to be an innocent little high school girl I couldn’t tell how dark this story really was until I started reading it. When you have a hate in your heart so deep that you seek revenge on your enemy; there is a website you can go to that will solve your problems. According to the urban legend if you type in the name of your enemy on a mysterious website known as Hell Correspondence that only appears at midnight, the Hell Girl will appear and take your tormentor to hell. Of course this comes with a price and you guessed it: Your soul!!! The first volume contains five stand alone stories and feature Ai Enma aka Hell Girl and her clients that she helps to avenge. All the protagonist, happen to be women, so I really have no idea if Hell Girl can help guys out and they all share similar story. The stories range from a girl being picked on to a girl wanting revenge on the vet that didn’t help her dog. The outcome however is always the same. The stories get repetitive and even the dialogue gets repetitive. With every story having rumors about the website and Enma mentioning the same contract over and over it all feels the same. But for some reason I really wanted to see the people get theirs in the end. The art really doesn’t seem the type to be telling a dark and demented story such as this one and I think that is the reason why it works. No one expects a cute young girl to have such horrible intentions. I really hope later volumes do however get away from the formulaic storyline that the first volume is filled with. B

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