Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review : Dramacon Ultimate Edition by Svetlana Chmakova

Dramacon is a three issue series chronicling the life and loves of of a wonderful cast of characters at a fictional Anime Convention. Becoming a fan of manga has a wonderful way of immersing you into Japanese lifestyle and culture. I soon became a huge fan of Anime and 4 years ago attended my first Anime convention. It was wonderful, overwhelming and well wonderful!! The costumes, Manga sales, J-pop retailers and most enjoyable the fans. Dramacon is a very authentic representation  of what you can experience at a covention, including men dressed in schoolgirl outfits! I really recommend this deluxe edition  it's a great deal considering you get all three volumes of the book, tons of extras and an exclusive short story created just for this edition. here are my thoughts on each issue.
Book One- Year One
In this volume we are introduced to Christie and Derek along with two of their friends. Christie and Derek are taking residence in Artists Alley and selling copies of there comic Wary City. Things aren't going well for Christie at the convention or in her relationship with Derek. Running from her boyfriend she runs (literally) into a handsome and mysterious cos player Matt. She is conflicted by her strong feelings for a boy she barely knows. As the situation with Derek turns violent she finds solace with Matt and his sister. The end of the con comes two soon for both of them. Despite there feelings Matt doesn't make a move and though his sister passes her Matt's number Christie makes one attempt at contact that fails. There is such fun and sweetness in this volume Svetlana really captures the feel of the Manga/Anime world and deftly balances Romance and Humor. Matt and Christie are vibrant, well realised characters that you can really relate to. It is also unique that Svetlana chose to have the main character in this story have a disability. Matt's left eye is inoperable. It actually is completely covered by a scar. It gives him a strange vulnerability and yet doesn't distract from his handsomeness =)
Book Two- Year Two
In the year since we last saw Christie a lot has happened. She has graduated High School. Broken up with Derek and even found a fabulous new artist Beth. Though she never made a second attempt to call Matt he isn't far from her thoughts and as she makes it to his sisters booth she is crushed to find that Matt has a girlfriend Emily. Things are not finished between Matt and Christie though and this volume is very touching and bittersweet.
What I loved most about this volume was the introduction of two new racially diverse characters. Beth who is African American and their booth neighbor Raj who is Indian. This volume also deals with a lot of real world issues. Beth is hiding her artwork from her mother who wants Beth to be a doctor. Even though Beth is offered an opportunity to be paid for her art work she turns it down over fears of her mothers reaction. My heart really went out to Christie and even Matt . Iwas so hoping for there relationship to work, it was painful! :(
Volume Three - Year Three
In this third and final volume the gang is headed back once more to the Convention. Beth's artwork has also won a contest and is featured on the official convention shirt. Christie is still writing and Beth is still drawing Wary City. Little has changed in Christie's personal life though she has gotten an email from a now single Matt. rushing to see him at his booth she is shocked to see his ex-girlfriend Emily working at the booth with them. After two missed opportunities the two now find themselves free to date. Things aren't as easy as they thought it would be, especially since Emily keeps showing up at inopportune times.
Beth is also struggling this volume as she confesses to her mother about the convention and her decision to pursue an art career. It doesn't go well. In the midst of dealing with her mothers anger a horrible accident occurs that shakes Beth's world.
This is a wonderful conclusion to the series. Svetlana manges to cover some series topics in this volume along with continuing the romance between Matt and Christie and bringing it to a satisfying conclusion.
My favorite part of this book is the short story First Date. We finally get to see Matt and Christie  away from a con and alone together. This story really shows how they work as a couple. It's also unique since the story is narrated from Matt's perspective.
I really enjoy this entire volume. It's one of my favorite Manga and one I reread every year.



Sandy said...

I haven't read the Ultimate Edition but I do have volumes 1-3 of Dramacon. Definitely one of my favourite series ever ^_^. I love Svetlana's work, have you read her NightSchool series?

Great review! You just had some minor mistakes like calling Derek Christie's brother and saying Beth continued writing xD but other then that I loved reading it. I'll have to get the Ultimate Edition so I can read the short story!


Thanks so much Sandy I corrected the errors, thats what I get for writing reviews after Midnight!

Anonymous said...

I've only read the first two volumes but I can't wait to read the third! I'm glad to hear it ends well, I love this series so much, it's so funny and cute. :D

Uniflame said...

I never heard of this series before. But I will surely keep an eye out! As organizer from Abunai! an anime convention in the Netherlands, I find this very interesting :)