Friday, April 9, 2010

Manga Review: Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning Volume 11

The mystery manga series, Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, has been out for quite some time now. Originally the book by Kyo Shirodaira and Eita Mizuno ran for 15 volumes between 2000 and 2005 in Japan. In the States the manga's history is a little confounding considering Tokyopop had the license, but let it slide and Yen Press picked it up a couple years later. Along those lines Yen Press is releasing the eleventh volume of the book later this month.

In case you're unfamiliar with Spiral, you're not alone. In all honesty I've only seen the 25 episode anime that was released a few years ago, and I never went back to re-watch it. One thing to consider with that information is that the anime followed only through the sixth volume of the manga. So with that in mind my history with the series is a little fuzzy, though I'm familiar with the basic premise so it made what transpired in this installment relatively easy enough to figure out. Just keep that in mind, though truly if you've never read the manga before you're not about to jump in with the eleventh volume.

Spiral is a mystery book about a group of people known as the Blade Children. Basically the series follows Ayumu Narumi as he searches for his brother with "Blade Children" being his only clue. These people are apparently cursed, cat-eyed, and missing one rib. Bizarre to the say the least, but these people are considered dangerous in some circles, though looked upon as worth saving in others. There are Hunters who exist to track down and kill them, but in the case of Ayumu he winds up backing them and he's looked upon as the only one who can save them.

In this volume of the book things start out with Ayumu recovering in a hospital after a presumed attack or accident of some kind (as stated I didn't read the previous volumes, so I have no clue what happened). Basically all that happens in this volume is a month worth of Ayumu in the hospital talking to people and trying to figure some things out. He comes to a few conclusions and determines whose pulling the strings and why, but frankly nothing else really happened. I hate to say, but without knowing the plot up to the point just before this much of the dialogue and conversations were lost on me. You'll get much more out of this volume if you've been following the series, as some interesting revelations come through during these talks.

This installment of Spiral features some fantastic character artwork by Eita Mizuno. Faces offered lively expressions, clothing is detailed, and all around the look of the book is very attractive. There's hardly ever a background image though, so many panels look rather bare.

While this particular volume will hold more worth for readers of the manga, Spiral certainly is an interesting series. The anime was quite good and I appreciated the mystery surrounding the Blade Children. The situation Ayumu has been placed in certainly layers on the intrigue, and this volume sees some revelations to that end. It's a slow burn, however, and if you're not in the know then you're going to be totally lost from the get-go.

Review material provided by Yen Press. Spiral Volume 11 is rated Teen for Language and Violence.

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