Sorry for not posting yesterday. I was busy having a nervous breakdown and also working. But the matter has been resolved now, so I have a lot more mental capacity to post. Maybe not so much physical capacity, though. But that's okay, because we've already written today's post! It's Review Rednesday, and this week we're featuring the first volume in what promises to be classic shoujo manga, The Beasts of Abigaile! Spoiler level: high. I mean, for a first volume.
Our second series for Seven Seas, and I admit I don't like to admit that I like their titles. I'm getting over it, but man their format is infuriating. It didn't give me quite so much trouble for this series, because there's not nearly as much text as in My Monster Secret--the script for Abiagile was about 60% the length of our latest Monster Secret scripts.
Anyway, at some point our boss at Seven Seas sent an email...oh right, now I remember. Seven Seas announced Dreamin' Sun, and we emailed our boss to ask if we could work on it. Boss emailed back some time later and said no, sorry, they were going to go ahead and let the translator of Orange work on it, but here's a list of a bunch of new stuff, what's your pleasure? Well, we were a bit wary of new Seven Seas titles, because we see the covers of a lot of their titles, and we get quite enough of that from Ken Akamatsu, thank you very much. So we did some research, and we still weren't quite sure, so we asked lyschan
to advise, since she's more well-informed about non-Kodansha magazines, and eventually we decided it would be safe to ask to work on Beasts of Abigaile. Also, the summary at Amazon Japan was intriguing, as was the very enthusiastic review saying, "This is classic shoujo manga!"
So did it live up to the hype? ...Yeah, I think so. I'm not really showing it very much in this review, but we liked it a lot. Nina is super adorable, and the story is pretty standard shoujo fare, but that's exactly why we like it. Actually, at first, it read a lot like a Harlequin manga. "Life is hard--I need a break. Fortunately, I can just pick up and go to this remote beautiful country where I'm sure to meet a handsome man who's probably royalty even if he is a little...shall we say 'beastly.'"
I would recommend reading the book before reading the review, because this is going to go into some detail about series details, but in case you just can't wait, it's about a girl, Nina, who has moved to the tiny country of Ruberia to get a new start after running into some bullying at her old school in Japan. But before she can get started at the School of the Rich and Famous (everyone in Ruberia is super rich, and apparently very good people), she gets bitten by a wolfboy and carted off to the werewolf school, which is actually more like a prison, because gasp! she's become a wolfgirl herself!
As for her transformation. Oh my goodness, there are so many questions. We already know it wasn't Roy's bite, or at least not just
Roy's bite, because we don't doubt that he really has bitten a bunch of humans before. There's the matter of her pricking her finger on the sparkly magic rose--that seems like the most likely suspect, because it is so very fairy tale. Possibly it was a combination of the prick and the bite. The fact that the bite was healed by the time she woke up on the truck is interesting, but whatever it was that changed her DNA probably figured it might as well heal her while it was at it. I suspected the rose from the moment she got pricked, especially because the mysterious hooded girls were so excessively apologetic, but then we find out that they're slaves who tend to be abused by humans at the slightest provocation, so it's likely that they, like the other lugas, don't know anything, either. [Note: We realized later that it's actually loup-ga, likely a derivative of "loup-garou," the French for werewolf. I don't know if it got changed for volume one, but I sure hope it did.]
The other suspicious factor is the old man who was on the scene when Roy showed up. His hair is in two tufts like Nina's was before her little buns turned into ears, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's a luga, too. But speaking of ears, that was something that bothered us at first--if they're wolves that turn into people, why do they have two sets of ears? Well, Gilles (that's pronounced "jill", by the way; we made it French so as to make it not a girl's name, and because Gil would probably be read with a hard G, which would be wrong) explained that the lugas have features of both humans and wolves, so maybe that's a symbol of that, but it is still a little weird. They talk about how they have such a stronger sense of smell, but I have to wonder about hearing.
There's also a rather outlandish theory that when the human revolution took place maybe the original luga alpha, the King Luga, ran off to a safe place to regain his strength--a place like, say, Japan, and while we're supposed to think that Roy is the king or the prince or whatever, it's actually Nina that's descended from the original alpha! Gasp!
There's also the matter of the Abigaile guard people knowing that she was human when she got attacked, so why did they even put her on the truck? Did they
do something to her? Angelica's pretty suspicious and seems to have some sort of witch powers, so maybe her father the headmaster does, too.
So basically, there's a lot of mystery surrounding the whole premise of the series, and depending on how it goes, it could either be very cool or very annoying. As long as it all adds up, it's fine.
As for the leading men. Based on the cover, it seems like Roy is going to be the one she ends up with. His name means king, by the way. We're kind of over the whole "antagonist turns boyfriend" thing...okay, it's not that so much as the "mean guy turns boyfriend while still mostly being mean" thing, so at first I was really hoping that they'd go a different direction and let Gilles be the love interest. But then there was that first scene with Angelica, and I was like ugh, never mind. He just seems a little weak-willed with her, and that annoys me. On the other hand, if she has some kind of dirt on him, or is using magical powers on him, then maybe he would be a better choice. Then Dario showed up and turned out to be a guy (he uses a very feminine speech pattern), so I was like, "Hey, cool, right now anyone seems better than the current options." Renji/Range wasn't that appealing, either. We're not sure how his name ended up being spelled. We went with Renji because it's more name-like, but we had a note about it because Ruberia is way more European than Japanese, and it would take some serious creativity to get a more name-like word that sounded like it came from a European language.
But speaking of Dario, we read through the script the third time, and I think his speech did come across as more feminine, so I'm pretty pleased with it. But we don't know if this series is getting a rewriter or not (as of this writing), so I don't know how it will end up. [Note: We picked up a copy at Anime Expo and checked the credits. There is a rewriter on it, so our dialogue is probably not even really in there.]
So Roy is a jerk. This is not a surprise at all. I was a little surprised when he made it a point to look for Nina--I was like, "Oh hey, he can
take responsibility!" But that wasn't it at all. Oh well. But then that makes me wonder how he knew she was there to begin with...maybe he watched them put her in the truck with the little lugas. But that means if they did do something to her, he would have seen that, too. But he did know that she was a luga now. Maybe he woke up from the tranquilizers after she changed, and that's when he saw her in the other truck. That would make sense. Okay.
Anyway, I appreciate that Nina still mostly acts like she's not interested in him. The kiss had me wary, and it still has me wary, but it was also done in a way that could have just been a, "Look, I just want to get this thing done and if you're not going to let me until I kiss you, fine, I'll kiss you." Roy's profile also suggests that he's really a nice guy deep down, so surely that's going to come through eventually. And he's sure to have some tragic past. Just as long as they don't have a relationship where he's constantly mean to her but she lets him get away with it because she loves him so much. I think that's unlikely, though, because Nina does have that great attitude, standing up for what's right and everything.
Well, I think that's all I have to talk about it. So far, it's definitely got an interesting premise, and Nina's a great character, and there are a lot of questions I'd like to see answered. Definitely looking forward to volume two!
And that's all for The Beasts of Abigaile. This week is another week of no releases that we were involved in (unless you're watching Princess Principal, *nudgenudge* (it's a steampunk spy series, you know you waaant toooo)), but tune in next week, because we will be posting our review of the first volume of Land of the Lustrous!! Huzzah!
Today I'm thankful for today's dentist trip being a lot less devastating than yesterday's, finding some neat craft kits at Target, getting to have some Italian ice on the way home, getting to go to Cow Appreciation Day with Sister D yesterday, and Sister D being very understanding of my nervous breakdown.