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Gravitation: The Novel by Jun Lennon and Maki Murakami 
10th-May-2006 10:35 pm
This TOKYOPOP manga standard-sized volume has the dubious distinction of being the first ever of their novels that I have read. In all fairness, it most likely won't be the last, but if they don't up the quality of their offerings, the future is not bright for their novel releases.

Lennon, Jun and Maki Murakami. Gravitation: The Novel. Trans. Andrew Cunningham. Los Angeles: TOKYOPOP, 2006. (Original Japanese Edition: 2000)
Summary: Hiro's mother wants him to quit Bad Luck, and Taki of ASK just wants Bad Luck to quit, period. So, they almost don't get to the concert on time, and, even after getting there, they almost don't make it to the stage. Fortunately, it all turns out for the good, and Yuki even watches on TV--more proof, since Shuichi can't get enough of it, that he is loved.
Comments: You mean people get paid to put this crap out??? Oh, waitaminute...*I* paid good money for this crap!!! What's wrong with me!? Of course I was expecting it to be foolish shoujo tripe, but it was way worse than I was expecting. I mean, I think I was a better writer than Lennon when I was twelve! Murakami's humor, which is so heavily slapstick and visual in its foundation, does not translate well into prose, and Lennon's attempts to do so fall pitifully flat. (The sex, on the other hand, gets a touch more explicit in text form.) Also, the plot is cookie-cutter Gravitation with all of the trimmings but no original, flavorful garnish WHATSOEVER to make this novel worthwhile, even for diehard fans--unless a few pages of B&W art count. The translation seems okay, nothing inspired, but then, there ain't much here to inspire, period. Unfortunately, the lack makes the novel pale even more profoundly when compared to TOKYOPOP's release of the manga, which sported one of the most lively and entertaining translations/adaptations I've ever seen in manga anywhere.
Notes: paperback, 1st edition
Rating: 1/10 - Stick to the manga (which is actually FUN to read!) and be (VERY) thankful.
11th-May-2006 04:04 am (UTC)
The truly sad thing is how well this sold. I couldn't get past page 20. I weep for fandom.

But yeah, if nothing else, the poor novels editor hated the book so much that she's completely revamping the novels acquisition process so that this never happens again. :-)
11th-May-2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'm delighted to see that upcoming TP novel releases aren't all slavish anime/manga tie-ins.
12th-May-2006 05:33 am (UTC)
I'm pretty impressed with us in that regard, in fact. This whole POP Fiction thing has been a long time in coming (for reasons that are too frustrating to go into), but I'm looking forward to seeing the result. :-)
11th-May-2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
There's a rule for pulpy, Japanese-original, anime/manga novels--the first 50 pages suck. It's just a thing. I usually try to give them at least those 50 pages before giving up, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to get through any of them.

That said, I don't think this book is that bad, considering what it is. The Gravitation manga is a manic, hilarious, thoroughly entertaining work with a fantastic English adaptation--but all its spin-offs, including the anime, predictably can't live up to the original work. I think this novel is about as good a Gravitation product as the anime. It had a few good character moments and was otherwise pretty awkward.

This may come as little comfort, but it's certainly not the worst anime/manga novel out there. Did you ever try reading those CLAMP Paranormal Agency ones? *shudder*
12th-May-2006 05:34 am (UTC)
Hmmm...I'll have to give the 50-page thing a shot. I genuinely enjoyed the Gundam Seed novels, which no one seems to even know exist, but I didn't touch the CLAMP ones with a 10-foot pole, in spite of generally enjoying CLAMP works.
11th-May-2006 12:18 pm (UTC)
Honestly? I think your review is too kind. This was...something. I don't know what, but worth reading it was not.

By the by, One is just as awesome as you had said it was. I need the last two volumes now.
11th-May-2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
Too kind, do you say? :P The only rating lower than 1 is 0, and "0" means that I couldn't even finish it. And I'm proud(?)/ashamed(?) to say that I slogged my way through this one. ^^;

By the by, One is just as awesome as you had said it was. I need the last two volumes now.

*smirks* We already know I have good taste. ^_~
11th-May-2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
12th-May-2006 03:27 am (UTC)
A manwha title released by Tokyopop, about the Korean music scene. It's eleven volumes in total, IIRC, and the ninth was just recently released.
12th-May-2006 05:33 am (UTC)
(but it's not as good as Dragon Voice! :-D)
31st-May-2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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