Monday, October 22, 2007

Psycho Busters, vol. 1

Manga By Akinari Nao and Story by Yuya Aoki
Released in the US by Del Rey

Slugline: A main character in a manga who has brains and is on occasion is clever? Pardon me as I go check the Book of Revelations for signs of the End Times.

Kakeru is alone in the house, the rest of the family off on a family vacation. Like any teenage boy, he looks at his dad's hidden porn stash and leers at the naked ghost girl that shows up. Well, maybe not every boy has a naked ghost girl show up when they read porn, but he discovers that there are a group of psychic teens on the run and their badly injured leader who for some reason thinks Kakeru, who craves some excitement in his life, is going to save the world. Kakeru does go along with this, if for no other reason to stay close to Ayano, the formerly naked ghost girl who is now solid (which Kakeru likes) and clothed (which he doesn't.) Despite being sure that he doesn't have any psychic powers of his own (an assertion I doubt) he helps the three teens find their missing fourth member, and by using his head contributes to defeating the two psychics that were after the group.

The beginning of the volume, I was prepared to be heartily disappointed by this. There are some cliches and genre conventions that seem to pop up over and over in manga, and the beginning of the volume had them galore. But then the main character,Kakeru, when under pressure started to use his brain. He isn't Light from Death Note (check out our reviews of Deathnote 1-6 and 7-10) who is so preternaturally intelligent that is almost beyond belief. But he does surprise, relying on more than just willingness to absorb ludicrous amounts of punishment, to show that he is worthy of being the main character. It is this willingness to surprise the reader that makes me want to follow the series, because I want to see where the next surprise is going to come from.

Psycho Busters, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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