Manga-ka: Natsuho Shino
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2008
Synopsis: “Yuto is a typical high school student who family just so happens to have had a long line of sorcerers as members. While in the family storage shed, he accidentally awakens a god who was sealed in a sword hundreds of years ago. Now, if only his mysterious god could remember who he is! Yuto names this extremely good-lucking spirit, Jade. Stuck with an amnesic god who’s strangely attached to him, Yuto begins a clamorous life of high school, adventure and attraction.”
Yuto comes from a family with a past history of powerful sorcerers within the bloodline. Unfortunately, these days no one in his family possesses any such powers and they make money scamming people into thinking they do, by performing consultations and handing out charms. One day, during cleaning, Yuto finds an old sword in the storage shed and accidentally releases from it a god with no name and no memory.
Gods, magic and guys in traditional garb were reason enough for me to pick up this modern-day fantasy boys’ love book. The story takes no time in starting, as readers are given a brief introduction to Yuto’s family before a trip to the storage shed brings in the amnesiac god (named Jade by Yuto). Jade is loud, boisterous and a tad obnoxious, but that doesn’t stop him from getting attached to Yuto pretty quickly and he soon finds himself the errand boy for the entire family. Not fun for someone who, though he can’t remember exactly, is pretty confident he’s a powerful god! Jade definitely brings the energy to this story with his constant freak-outs and exclamations. Yuto is more laid back in contrast, though thankfully still quite reactive unlike some lifeless deadpans you often come across as characters, and his level headedness, and power of acceptance, allows the story to move along.
Much of the story follows the everyday mishaps and mini-adventures of the characters, including dealing with the occasional rampant spirit and trying to find some new clothes. Mid way through this first volume, a shadow looms over Yuto as he’s hunted by another mysterious being. When finally introduced, this new character surprised me with his motives (not what I assumed) and certainly brought some more humour to the story. There isn’t too much of a linear plot set-up yet, but if this first volume is just meant to introduce readers to the characters, it does just that so I suppose now we’ll just wait to see where volume two takes us. Also not much in the way of boys’ love but the obvious potential is there.
I really like Natsuho Shino’s artwork. It’s one part sketchy, one part cute, and all parts suiting to the story. I liked the proportions the characters have, exagereated as manga tends to be but not too much, and how distinct each character’s design is. Lively, vibrant expressions and body language suited what was going on and offered a lot of visual humour.
Also, after being largely disappointed by the first (and only before this) Deux book, in terms of the publishing work, I was quite happy to finally have a chance to read another (as I keep hearing good things about them). I’ve enjoyed books from their main imprint, Aurora Publishing, so I had higher hopes for my next encounter with their boys’ love line. Fortunately I wasn’t disappointed as the book isn’t plagued by the horribly stiff paper and super tight binding that made my last book by them such a horrid hassle. The whole book is very light weight-wise and the pages turn smooth and easy, making for a really nice feeling while reading. There’s the occasional spot where some panels bleed into the interior spine, making them difficult to read without cracking the spine, but these parts were few and rarely impacted anything substantial. Translation seemed good and the rewrite was pretty decent (albeit read a bit chunky at times). I also enjoyed how Deux not only kept the original sound effects in tact, but also the out-of-bubble text as well, placing the translations neatly next to them. It’s sometimes nice having something done a little differently once and a while.
As a whole, I enjoyed reading this first volume of Oh My God!. The characters are really amusing and I’m curious to see what kind of direction the plot will go from this point on. An actual protagonist? More random hijinks? Either way, a nice publishing job, and appealing art, works to make Oh My God! an entertaining book. It’s nothing too revolutionary, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun, light read so far.
Review written August 31, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from vendor at FanExpo 2008