By Gareth Atha
Aug 16, 2006 - 9:20
Yuji Midarikawa is a typical high school student, except for one thing; he is Green in the school's battalion unit, Gakusei 5, or G5 for short. The purpose of G5 is to protect the earth from the Galactic Force Gurdark, led by the Dark Lord General Zarus and his soon to be queen, Madame Mayura. The only problem with this scenario is that Yuji really can't fight, and he normally ends up hiding behind his other teammates. Thus he is the imperfect hero of the title. This is the third book in the series, in the previous books Madame Mayura left the dark lord General Zarus and has moved in with Yuji. Now General Zarus has left his realm to come to the surface to reclaim his fiancée. When he finds her she refuses to return with him, which places the earth in danger, and G5 must do their best to protect it.
This book has some really excellent touches, particularly in the interactions between the stern and sometimes serious Yuji and the playful Mayura (the part with the fighting chocolate is particularly amusing!). The artwork is nicely done and the character's expressions often add to the humour of the book. This book, like many manga books around at the moment is printed in black and white. The book is 208 pages long and there are a lot of frames to most of the pages, which makes for a lot of action in the story.
The Japanese to English translations, done by Carolyn Johnson are generally very good, but there are a few sentences that don't really work. This is interesting because while these translations appear to be done by someone from the Western persuasion, the ones in High School Girls Vol 3 from my preious review were done by a Japanese translator, and these seemed to be flawless. This being said however the reader could get round these (few) grammatical errors by watching the action in the pictures closely, particularly the character's facial expressions, which have been drawn by Stephanie Zhu brilliantly. Also the sound effects are still in Japanese with, in most cases, English next to them. This is great because it avoids the inevitable white spaces in the pictures which you sometimes find in translated manga.
This book is definitely worth reading, if only because Yuji is such an endearing character. The scenario between him and Mayura is fantastic, and makes for great reading. I look forward to reading volume 4 and catching up with 1 and 2.