published by Viz
published by Del Rey Manga
Review by Ed Sizemore
All books were provided by the publishers for purposes of review.
Togari Book 8
by Yoshinori Natsume
Viz, $9.99 US
Tobei is trying to win his redemption from Hell. He has 108 days to collect 108 sins. The series is named for the sword Tobei is given to accomplish this task. To complicate things, there’s a man called the White Darkness trying to force the world to conform to his own twisted vision of reality. In this volume, we also learn Detective Sawazaki’s past.
I got halfway through this book before noticing the ad on the inside front cover said this volume was the series finale. This struck me as odd, since it was evident that the book wasn’t tying up any loose ends, and events didn’t seem close to a conclusion. My suspicions were correct: this series is just like Ranma ½, it doesn’t have a proper ending, the author simply stops telling the story.
To pour salt in the wounds, the last four pages of the book are an advertisement for “Togari: The Perfect Edition” where all story lines finally converge and conclude. The last sentence of the ad says, “Sorry, this was all a joke! Thank you all for reading.” Thankfully, this is the only volume of the series I’ve read. I don’t think I’d find those final pages funny if I was a follower of this series. I also didn’t find anything in this volume that made me want to go back and read the first seven volumes to see what I missed. Both art and story were decent, but neither were distinctive enough to warrant any further reading.
Hayate the Combat Butler Book 8
by Kenjiro Hata
Viz, $9.99 US
Hayate is a butler working to pay off his parent’s debt. Nagi, Hayate’s employer, is feeling ashamed after he saw her nude. Hayate is given a few days off and asked to lodge elsewhere until Nagi can regain her composure. Of course for Hayate, it can’t be as simple as staying in a hotel. His kindness and bad luck make the next few days a small adventure.
I haven’t read the previous seven volumes of this series. This means I’m missing out on a lot of relationship history. In this manga, that’s very important, since there are several unrequited love triangles. Viz didn’t include a character guide or a plot summary, so this book isn’t a good place to pick up the series. The artwork is average. There needs to be more visual distinction between characters. I occasionally didn’t know who a character was and couldn’t tell based on appearance. The manga does have a good sense of humor and likable characters. It comes across as an enjoyable light read. However, the book didn’t grip me enough to make me want to go back and pick up the series from the beginning.
Air Gear Book 9
Del Rey Manga, $10.95 US
This volume is the finale of the battle between Team Kogarasumaro (Itsuki Minami & Akito Wanijima) and Team Behemoth (Akira Udou & Mitsuru Bandou). It’s also the conclusion of the entire tournament arc. Typical to any fight manga, there is a break in the action to give us the back story between Akito and Akira.
I’m not a fan of fight mangas, and this volume didn’t do anything to change my opinion. It reminds me of superhero comics in that there are pseudo-scientific explanations to explain each skater’s abilities and special powers. I can see where a fan of inline skating would find this an exciting manga. The art is good. The battle scenes are dynamic with some nice splash pages. If you’ve been following this series, I suspect this book will be a pretty intense read. However, I didn’t find anything here that I connected with.