Reviewer: "arxane" (Oklahoma City, OK United States)
"Planet Ladder" will probably never rise above being an underground classic. While it definately has its charm, it isn't well known enough to make itself known among other TOKYOPOP titles such as "Love Hina", "Cowboy Bebop", and "Cardcaptor Sakura". Which is a pity, because while the first volume demonstrated a lot of potential, volume two develops that potential into a wonderful story.
The beauty of "Planet Ladder" can be seen in the front cover, which is a beautiful yet haunting picture of the main character, Kaguya. The wonderful artwork remains throughout the rest of the graphic novel, some of which is enough to rival CLAMP.
With the stunny artwork comes a marvelously constructed story that goes much deeper than the first volume. Kaguya, trapped within another "world," must find out who she is and what her destiny is, and what she discovers is nothing short of one of the worst burdens someone could ever hope to never carry. While the story in the second volume probably doesn't move along as much as the first one, the story is still good enough to give the reader something to look forward to when volume three is published.
As stated before, the artork in "Planet Ladder" is enough to rival CLAMP's style in many ways. And thanks to the "100% Authentic Manga" line, the novel is published in its original right-to-left format. Because of this, the artwork isn't left distorted by photo-reversing effects and remains crisp and clear for US readers to enjoy.
As for the translation, TOKYOPOP's infamous reputation as a mediocore translator is being left in the dust. The dialogue sounds natural and realistic, not stiff and flat like in series such as "Cardcaptor Sakura" To top it off, TOKYOPOP also left the original sound effects in the novel translated. However, with this second volume, TOKYOPOP experimentally put in miniature translations within the untranslated kana sound effects. This experiment actually succeeds, as it leaves the original effects in and translates them without ruining them.
All in all, the second volume of "Planet Ladder" is a worthy continuation of the wonderful first volume. While the series will most likely never reach the status of series like "Inu-Yasha" and "Cardcaptor Sakura", anyone lucky enough to come across this series will be glad they picked it up.