Someday’s Dreamers

I don’t look for manga like most people do. Most people hear about a popular title or an interesting new series, so they go out and buy it. I, on the other hand, buy mine through nostalgia, the fact that it will probably be bad, or because I liked the opening theme song from the anime. This time around it’s nostalgia, and I’ve almost always hated the resulting manga.

I only bought Someday’s Dreamers because as a kid I saw it advertised in Anime Insider (now discontinued). It seemed nice enough. The art was good (from a 10-year-old’s perspective) and it had a strong storyline (“Dreams, Love, & Friendship All Bound by Magic” read the advertisement). I don’t know what I was thinking.

“Someday’s Dreamers” was written by Norie Yamada and drawn by Kumichi Yoshizuki. They both did an okay job, but it seems they work well together. The story involves a lot of crying, and the art shows a lot of people crying. If I had known it would’ve been an emotional manga, I probably wouldn’t have purchased it.

Plot: Yume Kikuchi is an apprentice to a wizard so she can learn to use her magic properly. She helps out her customers by granting their greatest desires for no discernible reason. The stories are intended to be touching, but frankly I don’t see the point to helping these people. Really, they don’t get paid, and they could actually get in trouble for committing a magical crime.

To be honest, what I thought the plot was when I was a kid involved Yume waiting in a DMV-esque magic office for the entire series. Not much better, I know. But I’m surprised by the outright lie on the back of the manga: “A cross between Harry Potter and Sailor Moon!” First, don’t use Amazon.com as a source of praise. Secondly, this series is way too bland to be in the league of the aforementioned titles. If by “Harry Potter” you mean “there’s magicians in this book”, then yes. But I don’t see how you can compare this anywhere near Sailor Moon.

I know I’m not mentioning the actual details of Someday’s Dreamers, but it’s hard to do. It’s just boring all around. Yume isn’t an interesting character, her teacher doesn’t have much personality, and the stories just invoke the words “magic can grant all your wishes!” over and over. I don’t know how anyone could particularly enjoy this series since it’s not funny or clever in any special way.

Now granted, this IS a Tokyopop title, and generally the manga they translate is either hit or miss. Viz Media and Del Rey usually publish great titles, Yen Press is more often than not unpopular, and the other publishing companies have their own rankings. So it’s understandable that Someday’s Dreamers would be desperate enough to lie about itself. Also, on the back it reads “the manga series that influenced the popular anime”. Someday’s Dreamers has never been popular, and it’s not hard to understand why.

Overall Opinion: If this manga is a cross between Harry Potter and Sailor Moon, you’d be better off reading those separately.

Rating: One Thumb Down, Two Out Of Five Stars, and a C-.

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Train*Train

Let me start this first manga review by saying that I bought it blindly. I had gone straight from a family photo shoot to Borders. So I checked out the shelves and lo and behold there was Train*Train by Eiki Eiki, published by Doki Doki. My thought? “IT’S A MANGA ABOUT TRAINS!” …Well, I might not have bought it if I knew that Doki Doki produces yaoi. That’s right, it’s intentionally gay. But how could a manga about young male train conductors POSSIBLY be gay?

…You may have noticed that I said “might”. I “MIGHT” not have bought it. “Wait,” you ask, “but aren’t you put off by the homosexual overtones?” Well… no. When it comes right down to it, Train*Train is a pretty funny read. Plus, it’s… not actually gay. Truth be told, it’s a little gay. There’s one bisexual guy, a female transvestite, and a French/Japanese guy. So you see that any kind of flat-out homosexuality is eliminated with half-hearted gayity.

Plot: Asahi Saruta is a naive young man with the dream of becoming a train operator like his late father. When he’s hired to work at Minami-Kitazawa Station, he quickly learns that the staff is a group of hot (according to a woman) guys! Why, there’s Kaiji the ex-delinquent; Hikari the female transvestite (second closest thing to a recurring female character); Tsubasa the famous actor incognito; and Hokuto the bisexual rich guy! They have all sorts of wacky train hijinks, flashbacks, and more! …Also, Asahi cross-dresses sometimes. THAT part is as gay as it gets.

Seriously, you’d be surprised how not-terribly-gay Train*Train is. I bought 5 volumes of manga the day I bought this. Two volumes of this, Rosario+Vampire, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Saber Marionette J. Out of all of them, the last one was the gayest. Which is weird, because there’s so many robots with boobs in that series. Oh wait, the planet is entirely populated with men, most of them openly gay. But I’m getting off on a tangent. I’ll review that some other time.

This series is surprisingly good. It’s funny and actually a little charming. Truth be told, this series could’ve worked just as well with a group of men and women, but I guess it’s the author’s prerogative. But enough about the homosexual aspects. Really, how are the characters? Well, they’re all pretty basic… the rich kid, the sensible guy, the thug, the innocent childish protagonist… you know, this line-up sounds like an awful lot like most high school manga. But for the most part, they’re all pretty enjoyable. Excluding the actor. He’s kind of a bore.

Favorite Character: Generally speaking, my favorite characters are the ones who do things beyond the realm of normal human… normality. So Hokuto’s my favorite this time. The rich guy. His naive way-of-the-world misinterpretations are pretty hilarious. Also, Kaiji as a straightman is funny too.

Overall Opinion: If you don’t care that this manga is a lame attempt at homosexuality and instead focus on the plot and characters, I’d recommend this to you. Its simple story never gets in the way of its beautiful art. Ai Yori Aoshi. An even gayer manga than Saber Marionette J. But we’ll get to that.

Rating: Two Thumbs Up, Four Out Of Five Stars, and an A-.