Tokyo ESP Vol. 1 (Omnibus) by Hajime Segawa

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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Someone once said: There are only two ways you can live your life. Either you live your life as if things like miracles don’t ever happen, or you live your life as if perhaps everything is a miracle.

This has turned out to be one of my most anticipated reads this year! Say nothing for all the gorgeous covers, this has been a very interesting story. The anime adaptation by the same name is what first thing to get me onto the manga (which is complete in it’s country of origin Japan, but just started printing 2-1 omnibus editions in English late last year), but as the anime has some odd pacing issues the manga is definitely the better pick. 

Not giving anything beyond the 1st chapter away, Tokyo ESP kicks off with main character Rinka Urashiba, a poverty stricken young teenager, as she wakes up one morning to call her father in a panic- suddenly falling through the floor and household furniture tends to do that to a person. A flashback to the previous day reveals Rinka’s encounter, along with a fellow high school student, with a very strange and mysterious event: A small African Penguin flying through the sky following a school of small, glowing, flying fish, one of which flies right into her. While she puzzles this out with aforementioned school mate, her protective father (a retired police officer and single parent since his wife took off) attempts to run home after receiving Rinka’s panicked message. A  very difficult task when you have every car in the area flying toward you like your a magnet. After witnessing this event and Rinka’s role in putting a stop to it while protecting dozens of nearby citizens, Kyotaro Azuma (the fellow high school student) lends a helping hand in their get away…by using teleportation to whisk them away.

With the mystery and issues that arise from dozens of magical fish flying through the city and gifting ordinary citizens with an array of superhuman abilities, it follows that groups of justice seeking masked vigilantes and super-powered villains would arise. This is a story that caters to superhero lovers as it centers around Rinka, Azuma, and their new friends as she incorporates her father’s morals and fights back against the raising tide of public chaos, and struggles with her own weaknesses in order to protect everything she holds dear. As you could probably already tell this story is a classic that has been told plenty of times, though as the story progresses (and boy does it ever), characters overcome and challenge themselves, mysteries arise and questions are answered, and both antagonist’s and protagonist’s pasts’ are revealed it gathers plenty of originality to keep readers coming back for more (I’ve read up to the fifth 2-in-1 omnibus volume). As for the art…I’m a bit conflicted on it. It’s different from what I’m use to and at times it’s very well done (those front and centered coloured pages in every bind-up are GORGEOUS!!), but it can sometimes drop in quality and become a little disjointed (never to the point the story-line can’t be followed). 

This was a really great find! I’d recommend it to anyone who loves stories with supernatural elements, superheroes, an undercurrent of romance, complex villains, kick-ass heroines (Rinka can hold her own against the best), and themes involving crime and justice.

8/10 Unicorn Horns!

I’m totally fangirling here but just look at all those beautiful covers!!

*Omnibus volumes 1-7 are currently all available in English. The last omnibus (volume 8) is scheduled to be released April 25th, 2017*

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Nailbiter,Volume 1. by Joshua Williamson & Adam Guzowski

 

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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“I cannot rest until I solve this puzzle. Until I know what changes the citizens of this town into serial killers. Are they born here…or are they made?”

Nailbiter surrounds a diverse set of characters, Sheriff Shannon Crane, Nicholas Finch a former army intelligence officer, and a very famous (alleged) serial killer known as Edward “The Nailbiter” Warren. The story begins with a grizzly background scene of when Warren was first captured by authorities, before jumping to the present (3 years later) to main protagonist Nicolas Finch as he gets a call from an FBI buddy, Elliot Carroll, calling him to a small fictional town in Oregon notorious for turning up “16 of the world’s worst serial killers” within a few generations alone. This chilling and abnormal mystery captures the attention of media and detectives alike (as is the case with Carroll). Unfortunately for Finch trouble begins to snowball the moment he arrives in town, and with the disappearance of his friend Carroll, burning building, and unexpected corpses pilling up he’s got no better choice than to team up with the local sheriff Shannon Crane and even, reluctantly, get some clues from the local serial killer- The Nailbitter. 

To be honest I was getting a bit tired with all the Halloween horror reads I’ve been doing this month-some with much less horror than others-and seriously considered just reviewing a random romance novel for the heck of it, but Nailbiter is one of the comics that have been calling my name for awhile now so I decided to give it a go. It is the type of story that’s right up my alley, and isn’t big on the horror-I wasn’t the least bit horrified reading this despite the touch of gore- but has a really good story-line going for it. Though I wasn’t the least bit surprised with any of the events throughout the story, I could still feel the build of of suspense in each chapter as things snowballed to the climax. While getting to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the small town is the main goal here I found the the idea of uncovering the lingering mystery behind the main characters’ pasts to be something I was occasionally looking forward just as much.There is still tons to learn as the mystery of the town has only begun to be uncovered by the end of the volume leaving me with more questions than answers. 

Though the story as a whole feels like it has all the right pieces going for it (including the well rounded and divers characters) it doesn’t yet stand out much for me in the pool of others similar to it. However, there is quite a bit of promise for it to become one of my favorites in later volumes. 7.5 Unicorn Horns

Immortal Hounds by Ryo Yasohachi

*This Review is Spoiler Free*

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I randomly happened to pick this one up during my “walk through” the bookstore a.k.a 3hr book hunt. I’d never heard of this fairly newly released book before, the mangaka a.k.a author or the manga itself, but I decided the bad-ass looking cover coupled with the interesting title made it worth checking out, though to be honest I actually thought it wouldn’t be interesting enough for me to want to keep it. I was wrong. This was a really good read that exceeded my expectations on every point. The characters weren’t bland, the plot, though consisting of themes not entirely original, wasn’t at all generic and I think Yasohachi successfully made the story his own. 

I won’t go into much detail past the first couple pages or reveal anything past the 2nd chapter as the mystery and desire to put all the puzzle pieces together is part of why I’ll now be stalking each release date, but this story is set in an alternative universe where humans are immortal.  Things start off with a bang…literally, and surrounds two opposing characters- Shin’ichi Kenzaki, a young detective hunting and detaining humans infected with RDS (Resurrection Deficiency Syndrome), and a mysterious woman part of those known as ‘Escape Artists’ who show up to snatch such humans away from the Task Force, generally in a very violent manner. In a world where humans have taken to killing themselves to ‘reset’ and heal from any illnesses/injures RDS is a new and very terrifying disease that turns humans mortal. Kenzaki’s job (which he is hell bent on completing) is to hunt these offending people, called Vectors, no longer considered human by the government and send them to a facility for extermination, but the Anti-Vector Police Task Force begins to meet opposition when an Escape Artist comes tearing through the scene sending limbs flying to rescue these infected humans (though actual deaths are rare queasy readers should stay clear).

Though the whole immortality thing has been toyed with many times already I don’t know of any other stories that have put this type of twist on it. It was very interesting to see the Yasohachi’s take on how widespread human immortality would change and effect human society and can’t wait to delve deeper into this world, no seriously, why isn’t the next volume out yet?! Yasohachi’s world building and pacing are great and I’m pretty surprised it’s not more popular…could be that I’m just really out of touch lol. One thing I absolutely love about this series so far is how everything is just a big shade of grey. The good and bad sides are not clearly defined leaving readers to make their own conclusions, and the character’s moral stances are often in question. The story is amazing so far with tons of unanswered questions I’m dying to have answered, and (THANK GOD) the story ended with me needing more in my life ASAP but not feeling like I’d go completely insane, wondering about in a confused daze, having violent outbursts directed at the people in charge of the release dates, and not knowing what to do with my life while waiting. Though the 3 week wait helps. As you could probably already tell, I despise cliffhangers lol.

 

Clearly there were plenty – characters, events, hints towards future events, and lack of information- to keep me coming back for more I’ll definitely continue collecting this series and recommend it to anyone looking for a good sci-fi, mystery, action, or really to anyone who wouldn’t be put off  by the violence. 

7.5 Unicorn Horns for now, but with the exception of getting a higher rating in later volumes.