Printed under DMP's Doki Doki imprint, this little piece of shoujo is a real crowd pleaser. It has the school setting so familiar to the genre, but with a nice twist that sets it apart thanks to emphasis on musical fundamentals and practice in the classroom and during private time, rather than relying on the school as a convenient back drop. The interplay between the characters revolves around not only their personalities, but their skill and passion as musicians, so actual repertoire and technique are shared, as well as discussion on musical instruments and famous makes. With the elegantly accurate drawings of Chigusa Kawai providing a visual feast, the three dimensional characters drawing us into the mystery that is Alice and his new world, this new series captures and holds the interest of the reader with ease. This is just as well, as it is not without fault. Sadly, the fault here lies with the translation and editing. The prose itself flows faultlessly and without any odd stilting to shout out it's non English origins. No, the fault lies entirely with how Alice's name is rendered. The cover says his name is Alistair, and that fits, as his grandpa and others shorten it to Alice. It even fits given his last name, Lang. But the translator more than once calls him Aristide, which only with the Japanese pronunciation of "l" and its common confusion with "r" would render it shortened to "Aris" or "Alice". So it is slightly confusing, and a bit of a disappointment that this was not caught out by proof-readers in the editing department before this went to press. Hopefully during reprints this will be remedied, and that the upcoming sequels won't have this fault. It is only a minor irritation however, and one that I would urge fans of the shoujo genre to overlook just this once. While aimed at 16 and up, it was sophisticated enough to hold this adult women's interest, but free enough of any personally objectionable material that I would allow my almost 9 year old daughter to read it.
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Title: DEADLOCK Vol.1
Author: Saki Aida, Yuh Takashina (英田サキ, 高階佑)
Publisher: Tokuma Shoten (徳間書店)
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