Archive for May, 2009

Apology, and Phantom Dream Review

Keeping up with a blog is sort of like working out. Everything’s going great, you have your routine, etc. But then something comes up – like final exams. You figure, “Alright, I’ll focus on studying forĀ  week or two, and pick back up when I have time.” From there, things just start going downhill.

So here I am, a month after final exams finished, coming back from hiatus. I didn’t mean to neglect my beloved blog for so long, but stuff happens. I’m sorry.

And now, to Phantom Dream! (The review I wrote a month ago!)

Author: Takaya Natsuki
Release Date: December 2008
Genre: Shojo, Fantasy
Publisher: Tokyopop

Back in 2001, the western world was introduced to Takaya Natsuki through Fruits Basket. Lovingly dubbed ‘Furuba’ by it’s huge fanbase, it quickly became a classic in both the worlds of anime and manga. It was a rare, monumentous occasion for us English-speaking fans that both of the western renditions turned out wonderfully. The manga translations are amazingly close to the originals, and I think I speak for a large part of the anime community when I say that better English dubbing is hard to find.

To celebrate the coming of the end for the Furuba manga in the US, Tokyopop gave us a nice little treat – one of the first works of Takaya, Phantom Dream. When it was announced, Furuba fans in the west squealed in anticipation, and some of us may have peed our pants a little. Or was that just me? Needless to say, as soon as volume one hit shelves, I snagged it.

Phantom Dream centers around Tamaki Otoya, descendant of a line of summoners destined to exorcise demons called jaki. Jaki feed on negative emotions until they possess their host. His childhood friend Asahi never fails to provide him with the inner strength he needs.

First off, let me make clear that the storyline for this manga really appeals to me. Modern demon fighting? Awesome. However, when I cracked it open, I found it surprisingly hard to get into.

I really try to only review manga I like, because on the internet, you get flamed for your dislikes more than for your likes. That being so, this won’t be much of a review.

The story was great all the way through, and the romance between Tamaki and Asahi was intriguing. However, it moved at an odd pace. Again, I just couldn’t get into it. By the end of the volume, I was forcing my way through for the purpose of this review. I wanted to know what was going to happen, but not badly enough to be motivated by that.

The art had a 90s feel to it, but was in general pretty good, if plain. There is little decoration except for when Tamaki is doing his thing. When you see the great effects there, you get kind of jaded about the rest of the art. I honestly didn’t feel like Takaya-sensei was putting a whole lot of effort into the work.

I think a Phantom Dream anime would turn out alright, but the manga wasn’t for me. I don’t want to discourage you from picking it up, but I won’t be grabbing later volumes.


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