Welcome to another edition of Off the Shelf with MJ & Michelle! I’m joined, as always, by Soliloquy in Blue‘s Michelle Smith.
This week’s installment includes titles from Yen Press, Viz Media, Tokyopop, Del Rey Manga, and Digital Manga Publishing.
MJ: The air is like soup here in western Massachusetts this week, which means there’s been nothing for me to do but huddle against the air conditioner with a volume of manga. What about you?
MICHELLE: I’ve certainly been staying inside as much as possible, though in the South central air conditioning is a must so there’s no actual huddling required. :)
This weekend, for example, I passed a lovely afternoon binging on Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning, the first of the series I sampled in our Shounen Sundays experiment that I have managed to continue (though I promise not to abandon the rest!).
MJ: Oh, really? Has your opinion of the series changed after a bit of total immersion?
MICHELLE: Mm, a bit, though I liked it to begin with. It began as a mystery series in which high schooler Ayumu Narumi gets involved in investigating the Blade Children, the same topic that his genius detective brother was looking into before his disappearance. Then it morphed into what the author called a “showdown manga,” in which various members of the Blade Children issue challenges (at his brother’s orders) designed to awaken Ayumu’s potential.
This weekend I read volumes four through six. As volume four begins, Ayumu has just been duped by one of the Blade Children and is feeling pretty crappy about it, but his clever and useful sidekick, Hiyono, arranges to get herself taken hostage, knowing that when someone *else* is on the line, Ayumu will forget his worries and do his best to save her. What follows is a really awesome challenge in which Ayumu and the Blade Children engage in a game to see who can secure both Hiyono *and* a tape containing evidence of crimes committed by the Blade Children. There are a lot of clever twists and it’s a lot of fun to read; even the character who in earlier volumes screamed moe to me is revealed to be a lot smarter and stronger than previously suspected….