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volume 3 issue 8

In This Issue

Contents 2
Features 3
Chasing Otakuism 10
Anime Briefs 11
Reviews 12
Web Showcase 26
7 home / august 2002 / feature Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Animefringe Coverage:
Kodocha: Sana's Stage
By Dillon Font

There are just a few series, both anime and manga, that most fans feel would surely never be released on American shores. The fan-favorite shoujo anime from the delightfully twisted mind of Akitaro Daichi, Kodomo no Omocha, or Childís Toy, definitely became one of those series. The dialogue within the show was too fast, layered, and bizarre for most anime companies to even begin thinking about dubbing or subtitling.

So TOKYOPOP did the next best thing; bringing to America Miho Obanaís comic, here titled Kodocha: Sanaís Stage. The manga follows child actress Sana Kurata, filled with an insane amount of energy, prone to creating heinously stupid plots, and filled with a high level of sincerity leading her to help all those around her. Sana is pitted from the beginning against the demon child Akito Hayama, a serious problem student who leads the boys in their sixth grade class into extreme chaos, which disrupts Sanaís education enough for her to get involved personally.

The plot of book one of this 10-book series pretty much follows the plot of the first six episodes of the TV series. For those who have watched the anime, there isnít much difference between the anime and the manga. In fact, I found when reading the manga; I was sorely missing the insane quirkiness that Daichiís direction injected into the anime series. Sana in the bottle of toothpaste, many of the gags, and of course the hilarity around the lightspeed conversation of the series is missing; in comparison, the manga feels almost dull.

Yet the manga itself does have many merits. The best parts about this volume are the inserts that the manga artist adds in between the margins. Obana-sensei is revealed to be almost as crazy as her heroine, giving many random anecdotes about her life, which gives the story itself a more fleshed-out feel, further immersing the reader into the world Obana-sensei creates.

The best part about this manga volume is the extras included at the end. The extra story, "Destroy the Hayama Monster," is simply an insane little short story, based on a dream that Obana-sensei had when younger. Princess Sana, in full military garb, hunting down the Mothra-esque Hayama is very funny; easily, the best part of the volume. Also, the 4 short Japanese-style strips detailing the adventures of Sanaís mom and Maru the squirrel, aptly titled "Mariko and Maru," are a lot of fun, Obana-sensei using the short format to tell adorable little vignettes about the lives of a woman and her squirrel.

While there were still many Japanese jokes kept in place within the translation, a few of them come without culture notes for fans who have seen the anime. One in particular, the one about Sana joking about Peggy Hayama will definitely bring a smile to familiar readers faces, but leave new fans scratching their heads.

In the end, the first manga volume will hardly present anything new to those already familiar with the anime series, it can become a very solid part of a manga collection. Also, considering that the chances of the anime being released in America are slim, this might be the only way most fans will be able to read through the entirety of Miho Obanaís story. The TOKYOPOP presentation of the material in their Authentic Manga line is a great touch that just adds to the experience of reading Kodocha. Hey, at least go and thumb through the book at your local book store, because you just might enjoy the Kodocha experience.


TENSHI NA KONAMAIKI - CHARACTER DOSSIER
Sana Kurata

Sana is the uber-hyper child star of variety show Childís Toy, and member of the comedy troupe Komawari, where learning Judo and the Cossack dance are important parts in acting training for some strange reason. For all her work to bring order back to school, she is still amazingly dumb.
Hayama Akito

The scourge of Sanaís life, the boss monkey of class 6-3 terrorizes the teachers and students alike till he meets his match with Sana. His family life isnít so peachy, and he may not be the happiest of characters, but he makes a great monster.
Mama

She is an eccentric writer who has a squirrel living in her hair. Her bizarre way of raising Sana makes for an interesting side story. But good manga isnít based on boring parents, so bring on the pimp-loving moms.
Manager Rei

Rei is Sanaís pimp...er...manager. Besides all the work he gets for Sana, heís also her caring lackey, ready to do anything possible to make Sana happy.
Tsuyoshi

Tsuyoshi is Hayamaís best friend, and Sanaís surprising ally in the classroom battles. He has a thing for Sana, but will also stick up for Hayama. All around, he is the most balanced and faithful of the bunch, although itís best not to talk trash about his mom.

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