Saturday, July 1, 2017

Netgalley Read: Disney Manga - Magical Dance Volume 1 or dancing fun with Disney characters popping up randomly...

I received this book for free from NetGalley to review. All the opinions shared are my own and are my honest feelings regarding this book. If you know me I am not one to mix my words simply because something was free. This is my feelings on the book, both the good and the bad. So lets begin!!!

Disney's Magical Dance Volume 1

A Tokyopop book
Written by Nao Kodaka
Diamond Book Distributors
Published on June 6, 2017

My Feelings on the Manga:

I was looking in the "Read Now" section of comics and graphic novels on NetGalley, since I just joined the site. I was not intending to get anything at this particular point because I wanted to focus on "serious material", but I still wanted to look as I am trying to become more familiar with aspects of the book blogging community as I move towards becoming an actual member of that community instead of not really being involved in any community, but still blogging about my love of different things and books mostly. A book about book blogging I just finished NetGalley, so that is how I found that site. Back to the main point, I was perusing that section and came across the above cover. The aspect that most immediately caught my eye was the use of colors that I enjoy (light pink, softer blue tint, and incorporating a bit of a sparkle to it). The aspect that most immediately caught my eye though was not the main female character, but was Stitch! Lilo and Stitch is perhaps one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. This with the sparkles made me go, "I must read this right now." Read it right now I did! I read 3/4th of this book in one sitting and the only reason I stopped is because it was time to go to bed. 

The book is a pretty quick read. The reason is that the manga is not text heavy. Simplicity is great in a book that is focused around Disney, a primarily kids company. It also allows for the artwork to speak for itself on what is going on in the main stories. There are several "chapters", my word not theirs. Each chapter focuses on a story that is presented as a Card. For example, Chapter 1 is called Card 1: Mickey Mouse. The card is the Disney character that for sure will show up in that particular section of the manga. (Sorry for the spoiler on the first character that shows up, but come on it is Disney he was bound to show up at some point in it) Each story involves the main character trying to learn a dance move of some sort or becoming more comfortable with herself. The person that helps her to learn these moves? You guessed it, THE DISNEY CHARACTER!!! Need help getting through a tournament for dancing? HERE COMES A DISNEY CHARACTER. Need help to learn ball dancing? HERE COMES A DISNEY CHARACTER Need help learning to do the whirlpool? HERE COMES A DISNEY CHARACTER Well... You get the general idea. These stories that are contained within are pretty simplistic in nature, look at those Need to help statements above and yes those are some of the basic stories told within this volume. This fits because the main intended audience is children. It does not try to be more than it should be for the intended population. 

Did I get annoyed with the Disney characters randomly popping up all over the place to help with every single problem the protagonist had in her life? Not really. The reason is that I went in understanding that this was a children's book and that it was a Disney book on top of that. Somewhere along the way the Disney had to come into the picture. These random pop-up characters actually made me feel more compelled to read on because I had to wonder when, how, and who would show up into the story. Also just so you know sometimes just because it mentions someone in the card section doesn't mean they are the only character that shows up, specifically looking near the end of the book at this (wink wink). 

Now, This is a manga and one of the things I will always do when discussing a manga/comic book that I read is a quick discussion of the artwork. The most important thing in this manga is that often characters can look so similar because of the lack of color (yes this is not colorized it is manga people!) that you cannot tell one from the other, but there is a point here to make sure that each character looks distinct and that major players have no similarities between them. The main antagonist has black hair, the main protagonist has blonde (clear hair in this), and the main male character has the blonde hair, but it is shorter than the main protagonist. This helps greatly for us to be able to keep track of who is who, which I think is vital to a series that may run for awhile (i.e. most mangas). The only complaint that I have about the artwork was the overuse of filters at times, which I think can be corrected in later volumes of the series. To have five different filters on the same page distracts the eye from the main point of the series which is about this character and her journey to be a better dancer. Sometimes putting flowers on a panel is not needed when you have four other panels with speed lines, dots, and other filters over them. The thing I have to say though is that this was my only complaint about the entire book. My one complaint was tone down some lines or flower insertions? Jeeze, that is pretty good to me. Usually I can find something else to complain about in a manga or comic book these days. I believe I didn't find more to complain about in this particular manga because it really is truly a book for children. I analyzed it based on what I thought a kid would enjoy. A kid would definitely enjoy this book, so the artwork is pretty on-point. The stories are pretty straightforward to the point a kid can enjoy and understand them. Every aspect is geared towards a population that I am not part of, but can understand. This made me enjoy the book greatly. Removing myself from my adult experiences made me say this is a darn good children's manga and if I had kids I would pick this up for them. Will I personally read the next volume? I probably will because it was enjoyable even for me, as an adult. I got to see characters that I love and I got a fast read that didn't take a lot of my personal time. I can return easily to this series without feeling like it is taking anything away from the more serious reading I want to do. It can be added into my TBR pile without feeling like I am shoving something to the side. Will I go out of my way to add it to my TBR? Not so sure on that one, but I definitely will read the next volume at my own leisure, which is why I like this book. Leisure is fundamental to it.

Central Theme:

The main theme of this book is that you can do anything if you believe in yourself. This is a great message for little kids to have. Sometimes even us adults need to be reminded of this. We forget that sometimes we have to put in a little effort to get what we want out of life, but if we work hard more often than not doors will eventually become opened to us. I loved this particular theme of this book because the protagonist wants to give up more than once on her different goals, usually around dancing. She then has to remember that this is her dream, this is her goal, and this is what she wants to do. This sense of empowerment that comes from this shows children that they can do wonderful things as well that they may not believe possible. While I often will and can deal with heavier subject matter here at the Library I feel that sometimes a simple message is also important and believing in yourself is definitely a message that we all need reminded of from time to time. We can do wonderful things, every single one of us. 

Who I Would and Wouldn't Recommend This Book To:

I wouldn't recommend this book to individuals that are not into a simplistic story. There is no material here the requires the reader to think too much. It is just a simple read, full of stories that allow you to enjoy what is being read. Some of us, usually myself included, want something though that gets us thinking and that has to sit with us to get us processing aspects of our world, but this is not that. If you want that, do not pick this up. Most people though probably understand that since it is a Disney manga. You cannot be expecting a heavy hitting manga from this title can you? That being said people who are not huge Disney fans (they exist somewhere in the world) will not enjoy this book. The constant barrage of characters will just frustrate you and make you feel that it is distracting from the simplified plots that the main character is having to deal with. 

I would recommend this to children because of the message of believing in yourself and your dreams that is constantly being presented throughout. It can really help you see that you have to push to achieve things in your life, so children definitely would enjoy it. I would also suggest it to anyone that loves Disney characters and not knowing who you will see along the way (I think of those that used to love Disney Infinity here). That fun of seeing a random character you love pop up in a volume like this is awesome, so Disney fans will rejoice at this. If you are an individual that is just wanting something that is light-hearted, simplistic in nature than this is definitely a read to add to your shelves. It is quick and effortless to read, so if you are a college student during your exams, but still want to read something this would be a good choice. If you enjoy manga you may either enjoy or not enjoy this. It depends on if you read manga just to enjoy manga or if you analyze manga. If you analyze manga and its content than steer clear of this, but if you just enjoy manga to be a part of reading manga pick this up. You will probably enjoy it enough to see the little tropes contained within many manga series and you may even laugh at how the Disney characters are incorporated into those tropes. If you like primarily positive reads this will also be fore you. It sparkles all over the place!

Other Things to Consider:

The cover art to the second volume has already been revealed meaning that it will probably be out by the end of this year possibly, so if you end up enjoying this first volume then more Magical Dance fun is right around the corner!! 

They always have ads at the end of the books and normally I do not discuss them, but I saw this cover:

Anyone that knows me knows that this cover appeals to all the bases inside of me: Cute little sidekick character? CHECK, Pretty Sparkes? CHECK, Disney Princess? CHECK CHECK and is that girl wearing a crown on her head? CHECK, this may be the best book ever. I must read it!! So in other words expect for Kilala Princess to eventually be reviewed on this blog, once I purchase it.

Where to Purchase:

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

Note: Not currently available at Half Price Books, if and when it does that link will be added!