December 23, 2008
I just got the last volume of this, and somehow I forgot my promise to catch myself up before it came, so let’s see if I can’t just finish up the series within the next couple weeks instead.
I really liked the new character introduced in this volume, I hope he sticks around awhile. This series has kind of a bad habit of introducing too many characters, but I assume that it’s for a greater purpose. Tenma and Johan are almost forgotten this volume (Tenma makes a brief appearance early on, and Johan is mentioned obliquely towards the end), and most of what goes on is the new guy’s research surrounding 511 Kinderheim.
He narrows his research down to a single old man who was apparently the founder of the 511 Kinderheim orphanage. The new guy insinuates that neglect, physical, and psychological abuse took place, and most disturbingly, we find the old man lives with a number of orphans himself. He insists his “experiments” in the orphanage were a success, however, and the failures that brought down the orphanage happened after he left.
I liked the new guy a lot. He was meant to be liked, though, since he has sort of a joking manner with most people and is portrayed especially kindly around children. The scenes with him and kids are actually quite nice, which balances some of the disturbing stuff in this volume, like being beaten up and tortured by the police.
So yeah, the story takes place in Prague, and the secret police apparently get involved when they think the new guy has information about 511 Kinderheim. In addition to the secret police, there’s also a female murderer afoot, and the story is kind of fingering one person in particular… but I’ll believe it when I see it.
As much as I liked absolutely everything that happened in this volume, I’m always a little impatient when the story moves away from Tenma. I’m sure all the volumes like this will add up in the end and that I will be thankful such detours were taken.