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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Tuxedo Gin Vol. 1 by Matsuura Tokihiko 
8th-Jun-2007 11:09 pm
Matsuura Tokihiko. Tuxedo Gin. Vol. 1. Trans. Kenichiro Yagi. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2003.
          Summary: Originally titled Takishiido Gin. On the eve of his very first date, teenage boxing champ Kusanagi Ginji dies. However, he has died before his time, and an angel informs him that if he lives out the lifespan of an animal, he can be reincarnated into his own body. He chooses to become a penguin because his beloved Minako loves penguins. Thus begins his life as her pet penguin.
          Comments: I've known the premise of this manga many years, but even after VIZ licensed it, it never sparked even the slightest bit of interest in me. So imagine my surprise when I discover that it's at least somewhat better than I was expecting. Not a lot, but somewhat. And for a shounen manga, that's a serious shocker.
          Ginji is a pugnacious but lovable punk, much like Onizuka in GTO, which, (not so) incidentally, hails from the same period. And, like Onizuka, he makes the reading of an otherwise interminally long, episodic manga worthwhile. Yet whereas GTO, as is typical of Kodansha's Shounen Magazine, is highly-exaggerated, action-packed, sweat- and blood-soaked, Tuxedo Gin, which hails from Shounen Sunday (think Takahashi Rumiko) boasts a lighter, sweeter, more cartoony tone. I was most amused by Ginji's antics, though I wasn't laughing aloud per se.
          This book dates from the period where VIZ was struggling to catch up with the TOKYOPOP revolution. The editorial quality suffered as a result, and this book was, apparently, one of the casualties. I noticed three spelling errors in a single reading, one of which involved a supporting character's name (a most annoying blooper because, at first, I didn't know which spelling was the correct one). It was disappointingly distracting.
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition (first published in Japan in 1997)
          Rating: 5.5/10 - Worth a quick look even if you know (as I do) that you will not be in it for the long haul.
9th-Jun-2007 12:15 pm (UTC)
This was a guilty pleasure for me, it had a good amount of uncomfortably sexist moments but also had some good stories that kept me reading. Thankfully, the series changes tone in the second volume (a lot less action) and the whole series picks up a few different tones.

Of course, you can get far with me by including a penguin who acts like a human...
9th-Jun-2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
BTW, did you ever get around to reading GTO?
10th-Jun-2007 12:46 am (UTC)
Just picked up the first volume, but haven't read it yet... same for Close the Last Door.
10th-Jun-2007 01:34 am (UTC)
Give GTO three volumes before passing final judgment. ^_^
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