Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review: Magic Knight Rayearth Volume 2 by CLAMP

Title: Magic Knight Rayearth (Volume 2)
Author(s): CLAMP
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: April 11, 2012
ISBN: 1-59582-669-6

If you're a manga/anime fan, odds are that you've heard of Magic Knight Rayearth in some form or fashion. How could you not? It's by the incredibly talented mangaka team of CLAMP, which is oft heralded as the crème de la crème of the manga world and it's easy to see why. Regardless of what the current lineup is, their artwork is almost always something to admire.

This volume collects the second half of the Magic Knight Rayearth series into one big, wonderful volume. While I know that there's some that dislike the idea of having 600+ pages of manga in one big volume, the price on this (about $20) is rather good- which is going to be a relief for many fans used to shelling out $9-12 for one manga that might be around 200-300 pages. It's cost effective when you consider how much manga you're getting, which is something any manga fan will like. (There's a reason people joke that drugs would probably be cheaper than indulging your otaku habit!)

Now for the artwork. Unfortunately the copy I was given seemed to be pixellated at points, possibly to deter from theft, but the funny thing about this is that even despite this, the CLAMP artwork still looked pretty good. If it's going to be on par with the quality of the previous volume, you'll be in for an artwork treat. (My copy was an electronic galley, so no worries about the physical copies having any sort of glitches.)

What interested me most was the translation. I remember my old TokyoPop translations of the series, and even though it'd been a while since I'd read my editions I noticed a difference in the translation. It's similar enough that you won't shake your fist and say that someone translated wrong in either camp, but it's different enough that it was like a different experience, one that I liked. There are no worries about Dark Horse pulling some cutesy "let's rename EVERYTHING for the English speaking audience" nonsense, but then I'd imagine that those fears were mostly allayed by the release of the previous volume.

The end result is that this is a collection worth having. I'm not savvy enough with translations to know which of the TokyoPop or Dark Horse translations were closer to the source material, but if you're someone that's debating whether or not to get the Dark Horse books or scarf up TokyoPop's big book release of the series through some other source, go for the Dark Horse. The volume is nicer looking and seems like it'd last longer through multiple readings. (I'd seen editions of the TP one that were literally falling apart on the shelves, and that's when they were brand new.)

5 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided through NetGalley)

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