June 11, 2014
Shirow Miwa – Viz – 2012 – 9+ volumes
Ugh… it’s been awhile since I’ve read this one. It was a bit rougher than I remember.
First, there’s the art. I’ve said before I like Shirow Miwa’s style, and I still do. It’s slick and fluid, and the design on the main characters is nice. But… that’s about it. There are almost no backgrounds. Not even pretend backgrounds. Just white space. It read as a stylistic choice in early volumes, but at this point, the contrasting spot blacks have also mostly disappeared. We’re left with some ink outlined characters standing around talking to each other (there is little fighting in this volume). Character designs are becoming harder to differentiate now that there are a lot of regular characters.
Also, way too many characters in a needlessly complicated story. The train blew up, so the main action is split between the over and under city, which are now isolated from one another (don’t worry, there are no backgrounds to tell you where stuff is happening). Most of what happens here is that Naoto’s “brother” shows up. He tries to (finally) explain her past, but then pinstripe lady shows up and we find out… well, at least a couple different scenarios. They are left vague, and may or may not tie back into the experiments done on Heine.
Which is my problem right now. Granted, I took a break, but this series is terrible at hinting vaguely, then explaining with more vague hints. There isn’t enough of a story to really get into, and I don’t care enough about the characters anymore to be enticed by the vague hints.
Elsewhere, Heine and company are recruited under mysterious and dubious circumstances. Naoto’s brother wants to fight Heine… because he autoregens? Badou is out of info and needs more? The twin girls are like Heine, but not, and maybe like Naoto too? Pinstripes has at least two names?
Nothing that happened this volume felt purposeful, and my opinion of this series fell precipitously. But I do have one more volume backlogged, so I’m going to try it back-to-back with this one to see if the story makes sense in larger chunks.