Maoh: Juvenile Remix 5

December 3, 2011

Megumi Osuga / Kotaro Isaka – Viz – 2011 – 10 volumes

I’m just so torn with every volume of this series. On one hand, I get a little tired of the main character witnessing the madness of crowds, then taking several chapters to decide he’s going to be different. On the other hand, it’s a manga about the madness of crowds and how to corral and control them. It’s extraordinarily interesting in that way, and worth a read.

On that note, the ventriloquism that Ando can perform really is the perfect weapon to fight Inukai with. He demonstrates just how wickedly effective it can be in this volume, and it’s by far been the best scene in the manga so far. The way Ando dissects the crowd mentality to come to his conclusion, and use his weapon effectively, is also quite fascinating.

The mobs themselves in this series are also quite terrifying. They really are driven by revenge, and no logic or morals stand in their way. In this volume, they burn down a house with two elderly teachers in it because the teachers were seen eating with the son of the man who was trying to develop the town. It’s brutal stuff.

Elsewhere, assassins fight. One of them… well, is “known as a ‘suicider.’ One look into both of my eyes amplifies the inner guilt and futility that rest within every man, thus turning one’s every moment into a lifetime of mental agony.” Basically, if he takes off his eyepatch, with one look, he will drive a person to suicide. It’s so silly, and doesn’t quite fit in with the mood of the series. All the same, he’s effective on Semi, the cocky and unstoppable assassin we’ve seen a lot of so far in this series.

Unfortunately, both Semi and Ando rally themselves into action using lengthy self-motivation monologues, along with a lot of reflection. These slow things down, and are fairly redundant, especially in Ando’s case. They simplify things, and are ruining what is otherwise a really fascinating story. I had a hard time getting into this volume, because I could not bring myself to get through the lengthy scene where Ando sobs his way through the mob setting the fire to the house. I keep giving each volume the benefit of the doubt, thinking that the last volume had the final monologue, that the moment was so decisive and the reflection so long that we certainly have to be getting on with the story now. But they keep appearing.

All the same, the premise and plot are interesting enough that I’m going to keep reading. And hey, maybe the monologues really are finished now, and Ando’s going to start fighting back along with his brother and Semi and his friend. That would be awesome, because it seems like they’re going to put up quite a struggle. I’d love to see them fight back with the crowds that Inukai is so good at controlling. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, which is why it deserves to be read… I just hope it can lay off the weak character development from here on.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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