Maoh: Juvenile Remix 6

April 16, 2012

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

The last volume of this just came out! I need to catch up. It is very, very good, and I think not many people are reading it.

One of the things I’ve always had a bit of a problem with was the fact that Ando has a “special power.” The power of this series is that it does such a good job illustrating crowd mentality, and just what a horrible and ugly thing it really is. Inukai seems to believe in his cause, and he is charismatic enough that he’s won over many followers who will go to great lengths to see that their town isn’t destroyed with a new shopping center. Ando disagrees, and finds it disturbing that Inukai’s followers are willing to go to abusive lengths to ostracize anyone having to do with the construction, including the families of the tiniest peons that work for the company that owns the site.

This is a fine story in and of itself. At that level, this volume advances it by showing us yet another example of Inukai’s followers abusing their power, but this time it backfires. Rather than anyone learning a lesson, it only incites them to near-riot levels of excitement to their cause, and they blame the backfire on how evil the corporation they’re fighting really is. Inukai is hosting a massive rally in the city, but the location is not made known. Ando has to get there to try and stop Inukai from riling up the city’s population any further.

And with just that, this is already an intriguing series, much different than most shounen manga. It’s very dark and cerebral, and both the art and writing do a good job of conveying just how terrifying the mob really is.

But the “special powers” are there as well. I’m dubious of the necessity. But this volume… this volume does amazing things with it. As good as the mob mentality plotline was here, it’s the special powers storyline that really won me over. And it’s more about using your head and not giving up than it is about the powers. I know most shounen manga are about using your head and not giving up, but here it really matters, because it is simply Ando and a man that wants to kill him, and Ando will certainly die if he lets his guard down around this man.

The man also has a “special power” that he’s using to try and kill Ando. Ando’s ventriloquism is merely a parlor trick, but this man can kill with his power. So Ando has to try and determine the limits of the man’s power, and keep himself in areas where he knows he can keep an advantage. It is always a near thing. There is never any doubt that Ando is scared nearly witless through this entire volume, and he has no problem admitting this. A big part of his battle is not panicking so that he can keep a clear head and one step ahead of his attacker.

The last eleven pages of this volume are ones that I will never, ever forget. They are absolutely triumphant, and they make a huge impact.

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