The World of Narue Box Set
It seems like it hasn't been too long that I've able to read the manga version of a series as I watch it on DVD, and it certainly presents an interesting way to experience a story.
In Japan, most series likely begin their lives in manga form, graduating to anime only if they've achieved a certain amount of success, or if the producers sense in them a potential to gain more popularity with the different audience animation allows.
I actually like the fact that the entire World of Narue anime series was released by CPM a little before the manga hit shelves over here. Those of us who are somewhat leery of snatching a box set of an unknown title can preview the series by means of the manga release. Domestic fans that are already familiar with (and appreciative of) this charming show can purchase the anime knowing what they're getting into, without enduring the wait of a year-spanning release schedule.
As with most new titles, I knew nothing about The World of Narue prior to ordering it, save that it was on sale.
If I wasn't so easy, I bet I'd have a lot more money.
Luckily for us, that's not the case. Over the past month, I've steadily enjoyed Tomohiro Marukawa's sci-fi comedy romantic adventure tales.
When it comes to comparing a series as far as manga versus anime goes, it's always hard to choose which version of a story is better than the other. Typically, the pros and cons parallel those of a film adaptation of any book. The written edition tends to go into more detail, both visually, and as far as the writing is concerned, it typically offers more character development than is allowed in a thirty minute TV program. However, the animated side of the story fleshes out characters with the addition of voice actors, and it can potentially lock the timing of the dialogue into a more natural flow.
Then again, when I read, I read the dialogue as I would have it flow in my mind, and use voices that come from the look and personality of the characters, rather than allow a director to choose those aspects of a story for me.
In any case, I found the anime incarnation of The World of Narue slightly more enjoyable than the book version. Perhaps it was because it's longer, with the entire set coming in one handy package.
Whatever the case may be, this is a very fun anime series to watch.
If you skimmed the review of the manga version, here's a summary of the story once again. Narue and Kazuto decide to become girlfriend and boyfriend after Narue rescues Kazuto from an alien attack. As it turns out, Narue and her father are observers of Earth and aliens themselves, though their presence is meant to be entirely benign.
Unusual origins aside, Kazuto can see nothing in front of him other than a cute, energetic 14 year old girl, and thus, he happily asks her out. Surprised and pleased by his lack of concern over her extraterrestrial heritage, Narue agrees to date him, and thus begins a relatively typical anime dating storyline.
The sci-fi background does inject some unusual scenarios, such as the introduction of Narue's older, younger sister (it's a space travel thing), but really it's the characters and their relationships with one another that make this series worth watching. It won't inspire you to question reality, but it will provide ample portions of humor and diversion from the woes of daily life.
Not that summertime necessarily is filled with problems, but The World of Narue is a great way to wipe away unpleasant memories even from your schooltime months.
It has the look and feel of a recently released show, with bright colors and smooth animation. There aren't too many scenes that rely upon action to tell the story, but the creators come through when they need to provide some flashy visuals.
The voice actors do a good job of lacing their words with the paradoxical blend of uncertainty and headstrong determination that all young protagonists display. I have to admit that I only listened to the show in Japanese, so dub fans might want to get a second opinion before diving into this series.
However, with a surprisingly low MSRP for such a long set, the risk of grabbing this show and disliking it is minimized quite a bit. Extras are plentiful, in the form of a director's commentary for volume one, textless opening and closing animations, interviews with and commentaries by some of the Japanese voice actors, trailers for the series, a comparison between the anime and manga releases, storyboards, Japanese commercials, character introductions, a feature on anime idols, art and sketch galleries, and two sets of episode previews. In the end, the good production values of this series add to an already enjoyable storyline from Tomohiro Marukawa in this adorable sci-fi love story.