Story: Eiji Otsuka / Art: Sho-U Tajima – Dark Horse – 2009 – 13+ volumes
I don’t even know what to say about this. Twins? Twins?!
And to think I gave it credit for what happened a couple volumes back. Now all of that’s undone.
Strangely, focus has shifted to Sasayama as the main character. Sasayama has always been a major player, but over the last couple volumes, the action has shifted to focus on what it is that he’s uncovering. It’s possible it’s been like this for quite some time and I failed to notice because things were so badly shaken up. But all the same, Sasayama amuses me because of his presence as a very different type of character in Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. It would be magnificent and mind-blowing if the two series somehow pulled a Tsubasa/Holic and combine in a strange way, but I don’t forsee that being possible. Even a little bit.
Things are still meandering along, plot-wise. Tetora is running around, random Gakuso agents are running around acting on different tasks, twins of different and insane random characters are running around and getting killed, and now we can’t even trust Machi? I don’t know, I think that’s bad advice. Gakuso is now exercising government influence for some reason, but… may not be anymore?
Seriously. I’m just not sure where this is going right now. Literally, I have no idea what’s going to happen next volume. There currently aren’t any open plot threads save for the fact we supposedly can’t trust Machi. Whatever.
On the plus side, I love the editor’s notes in the back of the volume. Cultural notes are sometimes noted in the panel gutters and sometimes in the notes in the back, but the majority of the end notes are used to remind the reader who the hell the random characters are and what’s going on. Extremely useful. I certainly remembered who the female character was (if I remember one character in this series, it will be her), but I couldn’t figure out why Sasayama was reacting to the male murder victim until I read the end notes. Thank you, kind editor of MPD Psycho!
Holy crap, what? WHAT?!
I actually had to read and re-read several pages at the beginning a few times to make sure what I thought happened actually occurred. We get the ridiculousness of Kazuhiko Amamiya’s personality being passed back and forth between a few people, something that angered me at the end of the last volume… and then something totally and 100% series-breaking happens. I’m not even sure… I mean, can they do that?
I just… I may have just lost my reason for reading this. I’m going to need some time to figure out how this major and seriously ballsy plot move affects the rest of the series. While I didn’t really care for this volume as much as some of the more action-packed and traditional volumes from the past… I mean, holy crap, seeing that may have been worth reading through all of MPD Psycho’s nonsense.
Aside from sorting through the destruction of the splinter-barcode organization and reconciling Machi and Sasayama’s place in everything after… well, everything goes down, the rest of the volume was much less exciting save for Sasayama’s bizarre new little-girl geek partner and the hazing he constantly subjects her to. I like that he’s calling her the equivalent of Colombo, though it made me cry when the notes in the back of the book suggested younger people might not know who that is. It makes me cry to think I’m old enough that things like that would fly over other’s heads.
Basically the only direction we have at the moment is in this new set of ritual killings that Sasayama is investigating (a male/female rib is being implanted into female murder victims, presumably in a reenactment of creation), someone that looks just like Lucy Monostone shows up, and… you know, Kazuhiko Amamiya, as always.
Yeah, I don’t know, but my hat’s off to you, MPD Psycho, for doing something that is impossible to take back. A shame that it was the most interesting piece of the puzzle, though.
I reviewed this volume for the Manga Minis column at Manga Recon, and you can read my review here.
Plot always confuses me in this series, especially when it’s given all at once like it is here. We had a good run of volumes I liked, so I guess it was about time for another one of these.
But really, seeing Shinji Nishizono giving me the GWASHI! hand sign is one of the things I can cross off my list of things I need to do in life. Or I would cross it off, if I even thought that was ever possible.
Seriously. I’ve never seen anyone but Kazuo Umezu and company do it. Why is MPD Psycho the first time I’ve ever run across a Makoto-chan reference in a manga? That’s… well, just awesome.
Aww, man! I thought the good times would last! The story was making sense and being quite good over the past couple volumes. Then I read this volume, which is a bunch of stuff I can’t make sense of, followed by a plot element so far out of left field there was absolutely no sign of it until now… plus, the main character doesn’t appear at all. WHAT.
I guess I can pass all this off as exposition and go ahead and assume the next volume will be awesome. It better be, after all the stuff I put up with this time around.
So the main character and all his personalities have disappeared, and Sasayama and Machi are being shuffled around and reassigned. A stalker from Machi’s past comes back in, and there’s a couple chapters spent with the two of them working on this case, which ultimately ends abruptly, goes nowhere, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s setting things up for in the future.
Then… there’s at least one character who has probably appeared before but I have no recollection of. He’s Sasayama’s informant, and I can’t figure out why Sasayama showed up with a drugged-up kid where this guy said to. I just don’t know why Sasayama owed that to the man. Also, Sasayama seems to react to another man that I did not recognize. There are a few major (?) plot points (?) revealed as far as the organization (?) that made Kazuko Amamiya (?), but the names of the organizations and the faces that go with them, as well as their tangential relationships to the main characters don’t really mean anything to me.
Machi’s sister… oh nooooo. I’m not even going to go into what went wrong there this volume.
Thankfully, this series has beautiful cliff’s notes in the back of the volume. They explain absolutely everything major and minor about the plot, as well as who all the people are and why these major plot points that are revealed are something we should care about (I figured out the Machi’s Dad stuff and pretty much everything about her sister, surprisingly, without having to be told, but I still don’t care a whole lot about it and/or it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense). Without them, this series would be… much less, I think.
Bah. You can do better than this, MPD Psycho. There was a notable scene where a man swallowed something that made his head explode in a Scanners-like fashion. That was all right.
I officially forgive this series for every boring, confusing story in those first three volumes. I’m still not over the Lucy Monostone kicker from the last volume, because that really was too much, but this is officially fun to read now.
Last volume was just a slaughter with some captives in an office building. This volume is a hunt in a remote section of town with some abandoned construction. Under the premise of filming some sort of special with Sasayama about profiling the new set of younger serial killers, putting his opinion against an FBI specialist from America. This was somehow a setup… I think to get Kazuhiko Amamiya together with the kids to see who is the better serial killer. The kids set up a series of incidents that recaps every single one of the gristly murders that has happened so far in the series. I appreciated the reminders.
Among those summoned to this scene, one of them happens to be a bounty hunter who not only beheads people, but keeps their eyes in a vial in his pocket. In his youth, he peeled the skin off his face to prove he was special. If nothing else, Eiji Otsuka is good for churning out some truly badass characters.
At one point, the FBI profiler hands everyone from the police department and the television station some sort of card with example profiling information on it. The suspect on the card is apparently on America’s Most Wanted list and was suspected of fleeing to Japan, which is why it’s relevant to the program. But as he’s handing out the cards, Kazuhiko Amamiya gets a different card, one with his face and a different personality on it. The reaction panel with his badly-drawn face frowning ferociously is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen in a manga. It just isn’t the expression you’d expect him to make at all.
Stuff happens, things are explained adequately enough for me to heave a huge sigh of relief, there are two Kazuhiko Amamiyas now, Mark David Chapman is also a child of Lucy Monostone… you know. Standard confusing MPD Psycho stuff. Except now it’s making sense within the story itself, so I can appreciate the insanity much more now.
This was the best volume of MPD Psycho yet. It deals mostly with one character and his rampage. You know what that means? There’s not a bunch of new characters introduced whose names you have to memorize and somehow fit into the web of the vague story that only barely makes sense. It’s also a simple action story. Lots of people die, lots of people are held hostage, and it’s got a good old-fashioned man in a helicopter mowing people down with a gun at the end. Also, a bunch of little kids pull off some gristly murders at the end, one of them an oblique reference to the “Electric Soldier Porygon” episode of Pokemon (apparently, according to the editor’s notes in the back), so that’s also something to see.
Lots of what goes on is a spoiler (plus a lot of what goes on is a hostage situation where little bits of plot are offered about the character and not much is going on), so there’s not too much I can say. But it was a good story, and easy to follow, which bears repeating.
We do learn a little bit more about the barcode eyes in this volume, which I always seem to forget about but is probably the main plot of the series. There is very little of Amamiya and the female cop in this volume, which is an okay change of pace. I actually like Amamiya a lot, but the multiple personalities are hard to keep track of. I suspect he’ll be back next volume, along with yet another personality and more complications, so I’ll just enjoy the reprieve.
I do kind of like this series, as hard as it may be to keep track of things at times. I’ll probably deny this next volume, but in theory, the plot is very good, and I wish I was more into it.
I still don’t really like this manga. I know the plot is supposed to be piecing itself together slowly, but it’s maddening to read and to keep all the characters straight… plus the plot, whatever is going on, just doesn’t seem to be going in an interesting direction right now. Granted, it’s got some choice moments of action every now and again, but most of what’s going on seems to be two or three different groups of people investigating one another. Well, one of them seems to be putting barcodes on people’s eyes, so that’s gotta go someplace eventually.
This volume sort of made up for it’s boring moments with one of the best manga car chase sequences I’ve ever seen. The main character switches over to the homicidal, insane, fun personality when his partner gets kidnapped by a former… er, pupil or something that’s trying to top him for insanity. He stole a huge gas tanker and plans to crash it into… er, the Aqualine, which is some sort of… important seaside location with a lot of people. I… don’t know. Anyway. It was impressive. The kidnapper cuts the breaks on the tanker, the main character catches up during the chase, there’s some amazing gun play, stuff goes on in a tunnel, everyone gets what they deserve in the end. I got at least something out of the volume.
Much like the first volume, I am of the opinion that this series is revolutionary in that, instead of drawing different characters that look the same and confusing you in that way, there’s only one character who’s supposed to be several different characters. It’s fairly confusing, but I was starting to get it down towards the end of the volume.
One of the story arcs explains a bit about the main character’s past. Or, at least, I think it does. It also offers an explanation as to how he got his different personalities… if it was in fact him that the flashbacks referred to. There’s a character from his past involved in some murders, and it’s mostly because he recognized the main character and is trying to jog his memory a bit.
This volume was much less gory and disturbing than last volume. There’s still some disturbing things, and there’s still a little gore, but nothing that equals the plants growing out of people’s brains from the first story last time. There is a rather twisted death in the first chapter that involves an aquarium pump, and there are a few other deaths spread throughout, but they’re not quite as twisted as in the last volume. The case involving the main character’s wasn’t depraved as far as the murders went, but the actual flashbacks were a little disturbing, I suppose.
Even after two volumes, I’m still not very fired up about this series. I think it’s because I’m pretty confused about the main character still. Part of that’s probably intentional, but a lot of that may be me not being able to remember his names and personalities. I think another thing that’s missing is character depth, since it’s mostly about solving the disturbing mysteries that are going on. The mysteries/stories themselves are pretty cool, and I can’t imagine any sort of character development being handled well, but it still feels like it may be lacking something. I don’t know.
I’ve got volume 3 already, so I’m going to try reading it back to back with this volume to see if that doesn’t help me keep things straight with the main character.
Dark Horse REALLY wants you to buy this book. I almost want to spite them after they cut off Museum of Terror, Scary Books, and Octopus Girl early (and has anyone seen a solicitation for Reiko the Zombie Shop 7?), but not only do I want to read this series, I also know that spiting does no good, especially if it means I can’t read Dark Horse comics.
I thought the first volume of this would blow me away with gross mutilation beyond belief, but it’s actually comparable to, say, Hannibal. Not to say I was disappointed, not at all. The setup is more or less that a character employed as a police detective and great at doing criminal profiling has Multiple Personality Disorder, was basically accused of a crime some years ago, got out of prison (legally), is doing profiling on the sly again, and is still suffering from MPD. He doesn’t appear to be the one doing the killings, but that may change. It’s definitely an interesting plot, but something like that takes an understandably long time to set up and get going, especially since you have to establish each of the separate personalities in the main character.
The violence is certainly of the most disturbing variety. In an interview in the back, one of the creators mentions that they insisted on this because they didn’t want the dead body to be a symbol of death, like something you look at just to realize there is death involved, he wanted you to be shocked by death, as well you should be. It’s definitely an interesting concept, and he pulls it off quite well in this series.
While the first volume doesn’t quite live up to the hype, it certainly shows promise of getting there eventually, and I’ll definitely be coming back for more.