AVENTURA (????????) • Shin Midorikawa • Del Rey (2007-ongoing) • Kodansha (Shônen Sirius, 2005-ongoing) • 4+ volumes (ongoing) • Fantasy • 13+ (mild violence)
Lewin Randit, a young boy raised by his kindly grandmother, is a student at the Gaius School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Because of Lewin’s lack of traditional magical ability, he is first enrolled in the swordsmanship program, but when strange goings-on occur at the school, Lewin discovers a secret spiritual power which causes awe and consternation among his schoolteachers. A cozy, scones-and-biscuits entry in the Harry Potter chosen-child-in-magic-school genre (by way of Japanese RPGs such as Tales of Phantasia and Final Fantasy Tactics), Aventura combines shôjo-esque layouts with a shônen self-esteem theme. (”If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t find the strength you need to cast a magic spell.”) The baroque artwork, with its Disney-esque fantasy elements such as red-nosed dwarves and animated household objects, makes the manga look like a storybook, and dresses up a fairly simple wish-fulfillment story. (Though the art is sometimes too ornate for its own good, and the uniformly cute, degendered, sparkly-haired characters are hard to tell apart.)
** (two stars)
Today’s winner is Ellen P. of California! Congratulations, Ellen!
We also have a new photo of a previous winner, Jason B.! For his first five manga, Jason won copies of Gundam and Rebound, the Tokyopop name for the second half of Yuriko Nishiyama’s excellent manga Harlem Beat. Harlem Beat was the first sports manga published in the U.S. (except for a few sports-themed short stories by Rumiko Takahashi from Viz), and it’s a great series. If you’re at all into basketball, check it out!
More manga reviews to come tomorrow! Till then, I’ll be relaxing and working on the English edition of one of my favorite manga, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.