This joint World Bank/VIZ Media series addresses global issues through manga graphic novels targeting teenagers. The first 3 volumes focus on poverty, HIV/AIDS, and the environment. But the series' immediate appeal is the coming-of-age tale of orphaned teenager Rei, who dreams of becoming the greatest fighter in the world! Rei's trainer takes the form of various animals and, much to Rei's disappointment, strives to develop his student's mind, heart, and spirit more than his fighting technique! Though the themes are grim, the pages are full of action, romance, and even humor. The guises Rei's trainer assumes inevitably lead to misunderstandings and slapstick.
Rei's pride and ambition set him up for many a fall, but throughout the series, his good heart and inability to walk away from those in need makes him an engaging and likeable protagonist who will appeal to young men and women alike.
About the Author
As a child, author Annette Roman was not allowed to watch TV, forcing her to turn to comic books for visual entertainment. She is currently managing editor of the VIZ Media imprint. Her English adaptation work at VIZ includes Dance Till Tomorrow and Tuxedo Gin. Her journalistic writing has been published in various weekly and daily newspapers, and two short stories in the anthology Word of Mouth II (Crossing Press). She moonlights as an English instructor at Berkeley City College.