Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rhysmyth, Volume 2 by Anthony Andora and Lincy Chan

Elena Bohndana was just a klutz, until she managed to gracefully fall tumble her way down stairs in front of Wahzee Zameel. Though he didn't approach her then, he thought she'd be perfect for the new sport called Rhysmyth, a combination of Dance Dance Revolution and Acrobatics.

Although she originally didn't care about Rhysmyth, when it was pointed out to her that she needed something to stand out on her academic record for college, she decided to do it for that reason alone. But she had a rival on the team, Taylor Hamilton. Taylor thought there was only room for one girl on the team... herself. So, finally sick of what she saw as Elena's whining, she challenged her to a Rhysmyth competition.

Elena doesn't think she can beat Taylor, but she vows to try, just to shut the other girl up. After a long battle on the Rhysmyth stage, Taylor wins, but only barely, and that while savaging Elena with her tongue the entire time. She conceeds that Elena has some talent, and decides to let her stay.

Then, the Coach comes in with some good news: He's finished the costumes for the team's competition in the Bay Area District Match. Elena is a stand-in should one of the team have to step out, and when the day dawns, The Coach makes sure they arrive early. In fact, they are the first team there.

Their team, from Highwall High, is the second-ranked, behind last year's winners, Mountain Ridge Prep. But the leader of Mountain Ridge seems to have a feud with Wahzee, and when their coach must suddenly leave for a personal emergency, the entire team must deal with the problems they encounter. Taylor is injured in the third match, after getting a taste of what Elena must have felt like when she continually dissed the other girl, and Wahzee's anger at Renaldo Guarini, the rival leader of Mountain Ridge Prep, threatens to derail his entire performance. Can Wahzee fight off his anger and win? Will Elena be able to beat Taylor's opponent? Or will she fail, putting the rest of the team at risk for losing?

This was a cute, but rather short, manga. Not that the manga itself lacks pages, but the story reads so quickly that it was over even faster than a manga usually is for me. It's also a manga by an American Artist and writer so it is read "backwards" to the Japanese manga, which actually took a bit of getting used to for me. Seems ridiculous, since I read plenty of other books in the normal left to right fashion, and plenty of American Graphic Novels, but there you go.

Unlike a lot of other Japanese manga, the story, even though it is ostensibly a sports-themed manga, came off as a bit of fluff rather than serious. You never really get into the story enough to root for the protagonists, and in the end I just didn't really care about the outcome of the battles the characters fought. Oh, attempts were made to make the readers care, but it just wasn't happening.

If you're a DDR fiend, you might enjoy this book, but those looking for a serious sports manga where you will care and get deeply involved in the stories of the characters and become invested in the outcome of the battles they fight won't find it here. It may try to be more, but it's just fluff. Harmless, innocent old fluff at that.

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