Posts Tagged ‘Hiro Mashima’

Rave Master 3Here is the next edition of the manga series, Rave Master. One of the Q&As at the back of the book says:

Q: How do you pronounce Plue?
A: It doesn’t really matter. But I pronounce it like “Blue.” It’s a little hard to explain in writing [laughs].

I pretty much figured this out, but what I am unsure of is the pronunciation of Elie. In the Japanese language the letter “E” is pronounced “Eh,” like the ‘e’ in men, but I’ve also heard it sound closer to a hard “A,” making “men” sound more like “main.” Also, the letter “i” comes across as “ee,” as in “see”. So my guess is, in English, it’s either Eh-lee-eh or AleeA? OK, so my Japanese is not great, that’s why I read translations. If anyone knows, please post as it’s driving me bonkers!
 
Story overview:

Haru continues his battle with Lance from the previous volume. Wielding the newly restored Ten Powers sword, Haru fights off the attacks of Lance’s Best Sword, which sends out dog-like creatures to both distract and bite him.

Just when things look bleak for Haru, the old Musica comes in and bear-hugs Lance, thus giving Haru the chance to attack without hindrance. The pair of them defeats the Demon Card hooligan and escape in time to avoid a confrontation with what looks to be a large and mysterious Imperial army.

While Haru recovers, it becomes evident that old Musica is the grandfather of young Musica, but they both are content playing ignorant to the fact. Elie finds a rid for her, Haru and Plun on a strange horse-like carriage, with an even stranger driver. They head north in search of another Rave, but get sidetracked in a village that oddly has not stopped raining for the last five years.

My thoughts:

Please Haru, stop saying the word “snap!” I continue to question the quality of the artwork and shaky storytelling, but to be fair; Mashima was only 21 when he created this series. The character designs are still good and the events are fun. I will continue to follow the progress.

Things to consider:

There’s a scene where Elie is sitting in a hot spring, and you can see some cleavage, but for manga this is quite tame. Any type of suggestive behavior is done more out of uneasiness rather than haughtiness. Same age group: 13+ and mainly for boys, with a fair amount of action violence.

Opportunities for discussion:

There are a couple good points in this one. First, there’s a slight conflict between Haru and Elie, but they both come to terms and apologize. If you have more than one child, this is a good time to tell them that people who love each other sometimes don’t get along, and even though they fight–like with their brother or sister or friend–in the end they if they discuss the problem, own up to their part, and apologize, then their relationship can be mended. The next thing to share is what happened to the boy, Chino, who lives in the raining village. Even though he knows the frogs are not to blame for the water, he takes it out on them. The lesson here is not to take your pain out on something weaker, but to tackle the true problem no matter how big it seems.
 
Past reviews in this series:
1) Rave Master (Volume 1)
2) Rave Master (Volume 2)

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Rave Master V2After reviewing Volume 1 of this series, I was a little surprised what happened in the second volume. At first I wondered if this was the same series . . . well, not literally, but it did seem to take quite a change of pace.
 
We go from a seemingly fantasy world and wind up in a modernized “Hip Hop” town. I think the English translation is part of the problem as it overuses words like “Dawg”, “Ain’t”, “Goin”, and “Snap”. In other words, it tries way too hard to be “Hip Hop,” but only ends up being cliched and silly.
 
Still, that aside, I think it’s worth a look.
 
Story overview:

We left off in the last volume with Haru and Plue (the strange dog-like creature), sailing away from Garage Island on their way to find a legendary blacksmith named Musica, who can hopefully repair Haru’s broken sword.
 
They wind up landing on the shores of a huge city called “Hip Hop Town.” Haru and Plue get separated in the crowded streets, but thankfully, he quickly finds the creature being fed candy from a kind stranger. Only, he finds out this stranger isn’t so kind after all as he kidnaps Plue and sells him to a dog race.
 
The race, and the city, just so happens to be controlled by Demon Card, and in order to leave one must pay them an enormous fee. Haru meets up with a girl at the races named Elie, who ironically bet all her money on Plue to win so that she can earn enough money to leave the city. Haru frees Plue, defeats the gaseous ring master, and with the help of Elie he finds Musica, who ends up being a washed-up old man. But when Elie gets captured, Musica learns Haru has to face the man who killed his own family, and so he decides to repair the sword. In the mean time, another man named Musica goes to help Elie and tries to hold off the Demon Card until Haru can get there.
 
My thoughts:

It may be a bit on the cheesy side, the artistry is not quite topnotch, and the characters a bit strange, but in the end, all that aside, it’s a fun story and I enjoyed reading it. I’ll continue to give this series a look to see if it improves or only gets worse. I just wish it would stop showing absurd scenes with Plue’s pointy nose stabbing people in the head, only to have them completely unharmed. Another thing that bothered me was how fast the sword was re-forged, that was just way too unrealistic.
 
Things to consider:

Teenage boys; this seems to be targeted to them more than anyone, but is easily appropriate for younger ages, since this is fairly clean. There’s one scene where Haru ends up hiding under a table and getting a glance at Elie’s undergarments, but it was done in more of an innocent and awkward manner than one of perversion.
 
Opportunities for discussion:

Use this time to talk to your kids about how people can work together to help each other. This is an important teaching in Christianity: serve others. If everyone servers each other, then we all end up being served, and this story does a good job at showing this biblical truth. Also, you can talk to them about people who give up on life, and how many of them consume extreme amounts of alcohol as a means of escape. Share with your kids that searching for things to dull their emotional pain usually ends up making situations even worse. Tell them that a better alternative is to bring the problem out in the open, seek for help, and open their hearts to receive God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.

Rave Master v.1I’ve found that a good way to discover new stories is to just grab something that looks interesting off the library shelf. At times this has been successful and others not so much, but overall it’s worth the chance.
 
Rave Master is one of those that fit into the first category. When looking through the manga shelf, I saw that there were several available books in this series. I had gotten sick of finding a good manga, only to realize that the next volume is not available or has a long delay before being released. So I took a chance on this one, knowing that if I want to continue, I can.
 
At first, when looking at the cover, there were two things that made me hesitate. (1) the name RAVE MASTER is as close to cheesy as anything I’ve seen, and (2) the picture of a ridiculous “cutesy” looking creature, with a big round head and a snow cone nose, made me want to hurl, but flipping through the pages, seeing clips of the main character, and heck, it was free, so I went ahead and grabbed it. And I’m glad I did.
 
Story overview:

A sixteen-year-old boy named Haru lives on an island with his sister, and what looks to be a talking sunflower that is attached to the outside of their house.
 
When Haru’s sister visits their mother’s grave, he is out fishing for food. To his dismay, rather than catching a taste fish, a strange dog-like creature emerges from the water and follows Haru home. At first he wasn’t too keen on the animal, but it quickly grew on the boy and joins him when he goes into town.
 
In town, while hanging out at his favorite food establishment–and getting laughed at by the owner–Haru is taken aback when an old man named Shiba barges into the store. They quickly become friends, and Haru finds himself protecting the old man with the help of a stone he is given called Rave. Shiba realizes that he is no longer the chosen carrier of the magical stone, as it had chosen Haru as its new master. But can Haru go on a quest and fight against the dreaded Demon Card organization? Can he rid the world of the evil power of the Dark Stone? Or will he have to stay on the island to protect his sister?
 
My thoughts:

I love the humor in the story and the character attributes of Haru. He is very considerate, noble, yet humble; and kicks butt too. Not only that, but he doesn’t have totally off-the-wall anime hair (thank goodness). I will for sure be acquiring the next book in the series.
 
Things to consider:

There are violence scenes with blood spilling (but no “guts” type gore). So far there are no scantily dressed girls, which are common in manga, nor foul language. I would rate this for pre-teens and note that it is geared more towards boys.
 
Opportunities for discussion:

The main character’s example shows that one should not abandon a friend in need. In addition there’s a good opportunity to discuss when it is and isn’t good to give up something  important for the sake of someone else.