Sunday, March 11, 2012

Commentary: Super Dash & Go


(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Super Dash & Go (AKA: SD&Go) is yet another of those new magazines to come out last Fall. As described in the press release on ANN, it's supposed to be a manga-ized version of Shueisha's Super Dash Bunko light novel series. Supposedly there's also light novel versions of various manga, but I didn't see anything like that in this issue of the print version of the magazine.


(R.O.D. - Rehabilitation)

Most magazines may have one or two freebies at the most, but this issue has three - a pair of Victory Spark trading cards, a drama CD, and a special edition manga jacket for the latest Ben.To volume. (The cards are one each of the Ben.To, and Listen to Your Father characters). (Sidenote: Back when I moved to Kagoshima following the big earthquake, I had to buy a new computer. I opted for a small notebook for $500, which didn't have an internal disc player. For this reason, I've held off on getting magazines that have freebie CDs. But, a few weeks ago I needed to install some new software off of CD-ROMs, and finally picked up a cheap external drive for $40. I bought SD&Go in part to be able to listen to the drama CD.) There are three dramas: Campione, Kuzubako ni Houkiboshi, and Tekkai Oo. The voice acting quality is good, but the voices themselves sound really generic. The stories are hard to follow without knowing the original manga, but all three dramas seem to be sitcoms.


(Campione)

Most of the manga stories are aimed at younger male teenagers, with lots of focus on school girls. Nothing much in the way of sports, mostly it's fantasy and school activities. The most recognizable title to western fans will be Read or Die. The current spin-off is R.O.D. - Rehabilitation. which is just starting in this issue. Other titles include:

Roku Hana no Yuusha (6 Flowers of Knights; fantasy)
Ben.To (4-panel gags)
Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai (Listen to Your Father; A group of school girls go to a ryoukan near the ocean, argue with each other, sing in a chorus, bond, then return to Tokyo.)
Suku-ru! Suku-pu? (More 4-panel gags)
Campione (Magical girls versus high school boy)
Ben.To Another - Ripper's Night (Box lunch wars)
Nina and the Rabbits (Not really sure based on this one chapter. Kind of looks like 19th century girls facing an evil enemy)
Owa Rande (Etchi demon harem story)
Nekomata-sou no Shokutaku (Monster-cat Manor Dining Table, humor)


(Nekomata-sou)

While most western readers would probably gravitate towards R.O.D. - Rehabilitation, I think Roku Hana no Yuusha may have a longer lasting appeal because of its similar Record of the Lodoss Wars fantasy battlegrounds setting. Personally, I like Nekomata best, but it's just a 40-page one-shot, by Enaga Takahata. The artwork is a kind of rough pencil sketch, but it has a certain rustic charm. The story is also very simple - a young man lives in an apartment building with about 10 stray cats. The difference being that the cats can morph into female humanoids, while keeping their tails and ears. While they can speak and do wear clothes, they're still cats mentally, meaning that they destroy the building pretty easily. There's no romance and the plot is just that the guy has no reason to stick around and care for strays. If there's enough reader feedback, Nekomata may be picked up as a serial.


(The two included trading cards. Ben.to, left, and Listen to Your Father)

Overall, the artwork is a mixed bag, but largely above average. R.O.D. is the only one really drawn well, but the idea of living books is kind of silly. It's still a new magazine, so we'll have to wait a year or so to see if any of the titles can develop a long-term fanbase.

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Dates for 3/12 to 3/18:

Birthdays (9):
Barbara Feldon, 3/12/1933
Harry Harrison, 3/12/1925
L. Ron Hubbard, 3/13/1911
Billy Crystal, 3/14/1948
Albert Einstein, 3/14/1879
Jerry Lewis, 3/16/1926
Henny Youngman, 3/16/1906
William Gibson, 3/17/1948
Peter Graves, 3/18/1926

Died (7):
Howard Fast, 3/12/2003
Peter Graves, 3/14/2010
Cherry ("Rulers of Hylor") Wilder, 3/14/2002
H.P. Lovecraft, 3/15/1937
Ivan Dixon, 3/16/2008
Andre ("Beast Master") Norton, 3/17/2005
R.A. ("Not to Mention Camels") Lafferty, 3/18/2002

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