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Pixy Junket. By Pure. Translated by James D. Hudnall and Toshifumi Yoshida. San Francisco, CA: Viz Communications, 1997. 190p. $15.95. ISBN 1-56931-239-7.

Science fantasy

Adults, teens; mild nudity.

This book collects the first six issues of the monthly series. In an unnamed future society, the appearance of a UFO over a mountain sparks riot police action and civilian curiosity. Two of these civilians are Tatsuki and Shin, motorcycle-riding young men more interested in dinner than the UFO. By chance, however, they stumble upon the "aliens" (who seem quite human) digging up a strange high-tech storage crate. The riot police attack and drive the "aliens" away, leaving the crate to open for Tatsuki and Shin to reveal... a pixy, a full-sized, wide-eyed, unspeaking woman with translucent wings. She attaches herself to Shin, and from there on life turns topsy-turvy. It seems that there are legends surrounding pixies in this world (one opens the story, actually), and everyone thinks that possessing one will make them immortal/rich/etc.

With the help of a mysterious old man named Adelgates, they quit the mountain, but the first time the pixy (named Pacifica) accidentally shows her wings in public, everyone wants her. Thus begins a series of narrow escapes from civilians, the military, a disgraced member of royalty, genies, ghosts, etc. Sometimes they are aided by the even more mysterious woman Shiela [sic], who seems to understand what the pixy really means to the world, but sure isn't talking. Eventually the characters, with adversaries hot on their heels, are forced to go beyond the mountains that surround the world in an effort to discover the truth.

This is a peculiar book. I like the dialogue, and I like most of the art, but the story itself is composed of so many different, unexplained, and seemingly incompatible elements that I'm left confused and cold at the end. Pixies, animal-like humanoids, science-fiction vehicles and weapons, summoned monsters and demons, robots, UFOs, aliens, possible super powers, etc.--the book doesn't quite know what it wants to be and, consequently, doesn't quite succeed. The newness of the creator, "Pure" (a pen name), really tells in this instance. It's the kind of mishmash of elements that I used to see in role-playing scenarios created by teenagers.

For the most part the art is beautiful, classic manga with some very nice touches. Pure definitely has a future in the industry. However, the art suffers from a problem common to a lot of manga: in the action scenes, it's too element-filled and drawn with too many narrow lines for the reader to follow. And sometimes it's simply inadequate to explain what's going on--poor choices made by the artist as to what to depict. Plot-wise, the story is mostly a series of chases, battles, and escapes, with little room for genuine character development. That's not the translators' fault; they have done a good job with making the dialogue sound natural (within the limitations of the plot, anyway).

There is much better manga out there. Try Rumiko Takahashi's work, or one of my favorites, 2001 Nights by Yukinobu Hoshino. Pixy Junket is only recommended for people interested in the art.


Copyright 2000, D. Aviva Rothschild


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