Monday, April 4, 2011

Hen Koi - The After School Diary Chapter 10 read

A short story about a boy and a high school "encounter"...

The main character finds his possessions "abused" by some unknown person until he finally caught the culprit... masturbating to them?

Despite this volume's dip in quality, the artwork does remain consistent, although unspectacular. The character design for Tsukune is about as lazy as they come—shove in any other male protagonist from a harem series and nobody would notice too much—but things get more interesting as one works outward to the other characters. Tsukune's circle of girlfriends is distinctive, if predictable (the beauty, the boobs, the jailbait), and beyond that, the monsters he fights against are probably the most interesting aspect of Akihisa Ikeda's artistic repertoire. Combine those creature designs with intense, sharply angled battle scenes and we quickly see where Ikeda truly excels. Too bad he has to waste his talents on all that high school comedy stuff, because a pure action-fantasy (as proven by the Witch of the Knoll fight) would obviously suit the style better. The precise linework and attention to detail also show clear evidence of artistic skill, and maybe one day there'll also be the creativity to go with it.

The dialogue is pretty much the opposite of the artwork, relying on plainspoken simplicity rather than detail. The kind of backfires during the Witch of the Knoll finale, however, as the characters end up spouting cheesy epic-fantasy lines at each other. At least when Tsukune gets back to school, the straightforward language is a more natural fit; even long sentences are easy to follow. (The choice of bold font helps too.) The lettering on the sound effects doesn't integrate quite as smoothly, however—all the Japanese characters have been replaced with English equivalents, which clash rather noticeably with Ikeda's art style.

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