Itsuwaribito 3

September 25, 2011

Yuuki Iinuma – Viz – 2011 – 9+ volumes

I do like slightly crazy Shounen Sunday series, and this is a good one. A little understated, it’s the kind of series that doesn’t do anything well enough to make disciples out of its readers, but it’s still a well-written story with fun characters, and I’ve enjoyed every volume of it so far. It reminds me a lot of Law of Ueki in that, but the difference is that I’m a huge fan of Law of Ueki, and you should be reading that right now instead of this sentence.

But anyway, back to Itsuwaribito. This volume starts off on the island of outcast Itsuwaribito criminals, who are being terrorized by a criminal. Utsuho and the criminal match wits, have a shounen manga moment where they see eye-to-eye and heroic things are done… it works because Utsuho’s such a fun and completely unpredictable character. I love the fact that you really can’t see what’s coming next, because Utsuho may be lying, he may commit a crime for the greater good, or he may just do the right thing. Who knows? He always seems to, but sometimes he takes a roundabout way of getting there.

I just couldn’t get into the itsuwaribito island story, though. There’s a second part to it after the criminal is defeated where Neya inevitably joins Utsuho’s traveling party, and I liked that better than the confrontation with the criminal, but rather than the involved plot here, I enjoyed the simple bad-guy confrontations that Utsuho was dealing with earlier. This series is best when it’s just Utsuho outsmarting bad guys in increasingly elaborate bluffs. It’s great at that, and that’s the reason it’s worth reading. It goes back to this formula in the second half of the book, and improves upon it, much to my pleasure.

First, Utsuho and company confront a man who has swindled an entire village out of their money and property. The downside to this story is that how this man did the swindling is never explained, and it’s a little hard to believe he took the entire village for a ride. Hmm. In any case, in true Utsuho style, he sides first with the man, then with the village, though in this story it’s not hard to see who Utsuho is trying to help. Seeing him do it is the fun part, though.

Later, he helps a young man win the lady of his dreams. You’d have to read this one. It’s another great con, though. So selfless, Utsuho! That his personality goes completely against his chivalrous nature is also wonderful.

It’s worth reading! Pick it up and give it a try if you’re a fan of shounen. So far, it’s got a fairly simple premise that isn’t bogged down in a lot of terminology, items, flashy gear, legends, and whatnot. It’s just a boy and his lies, and I like it quite a bit for that.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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