Geoff Reviews - Nodame Cantabile (v.1-2), Train+Train (v.1), Kashimashi (v.1)

Several things on the list to review this time.

Title: Nodame Cantabile (volumes 1-2)
Media: Manga
Text: English (translated)
Story: Ninomiya Tomoko
Art: Ninomiya Tomoko
Publisher: Del Rey (originally Kodansha)

Overall: I think the author's note in the front of volume two says it best, really: "I had originally started out writing a comic about youth involved in classical music, but now it seems the characters are getting a little odd... I can't say where this is going... My apologies." While that just about covers it, what it fails to mention is the humor of the series, which is definitely up there as far as I'm concerned. (Caveat: Humor is definitely a subjective taste.) It won't sound like much from any description I've found, but it ends up as a readily suggestable manga anyway.

Nodame is a difficult series to synopsize (is that even a word?), because the character interactions really are the story. That said, the story is primarily that of Shinichi Chiaki, pianist and violinist, who wants to be a conductor. What he really wants is to learn from a European conductor named Viera, but between his fear of flying, and of the ocean, Chiaki is basically locked in place in Japan.


Title: Train+Train
Media: Manga
Text: English (translated)
Story: Kurata Hideyuki
Art: Takuma Tomomasa
Publisher: Go! Comi (originally Media Works, Inc.)

Overall: A planet dedicated to learning, circled by trains? Okay, I know, it sounds wacky, and probably none too bright. Still, it's a story by Kurata Hideyuki, the man who gave the world paper manipulation as a superpower, so even though it sounds odd, I didn't have much choice but to give it a shot. As with most first volumes, it suffers from the slump caused by having to introduce the characters. Unfortunately, it didn't pick up quite to the extent that I'd been hoping it would, but I'll hold out for another volume or two before making an ultimate decision.

It comes off as a kind of action/adventure/schoolyard drama, with the twist being that the schoolyard is actually the planet, and the dorm being the train.


Title: Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~
Media: Manga
Text: English (translated)
Story: Akahori Satoru
Art: Katsura Yukimaru
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment (originally Media Works, Inc.)

Overall: This is one of those series that I've had the Japanese volumes sitting around for for quite a while now, and I was rather surprised when Seven Seas picked it up for a translated release. Frankly, they did a great job with the translation, right down to the font choices. Anyway, as to the story, I have to air my complaint up front: The alien whose spaceship crashes on Hazumu, and who then resurrects him as a female, stays. Again, comedy is a subjective kind of thing, but as character-driven as Kashimashi is, the deus ex machina really shouldn't have stayed for dinner. That aside, the story of Hazumu trying to fit in as a girl is enjoyable, and often humorous in its own right.

Now, as a fair word of warning, if you think from the subtitle of the series that you might have problems with it, you probably will. Otherwise, I'd suggest giving it a read, as a solid first volume, and preview of where the story is going.

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