Exotic, smart and lethal, Number Nine is a field operative for an organization committed to fighting injustice. Little is known about "Ultimate Blue" except that they're the last line of defense against battalions of terrorists and criminals. Even less is known about its field operatives—though it's whispered that they possess the ability to change the course of world history. And Number Nine is one of them.
“The history of mankind has been one of wars. Race, religion, philosophy --the causes are untold. The combatants have their own justifications, but on occasion, some create a volatile situation that threatens to destroy the world. Ultimate Blue. An organization shrouded in complete secrecy. Also known as ‘the other United Nations’. Nobody knows where it was created. Nobody knows where it is based. The blue of the seas. The blue of the skies. The blue of the Earth. The last line of defense against chaos.”
Oh yes, Musashi #9. One of the few reverse gender-role mangas actually done right. Yes, it is indeed a shoujo --despite how shounen it can be-- but it’s far more reminiscent of older spy movies. Musashi #9 isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly a very rare gem to read, especially when compared to the newer mangas. And in my honest opinion, far superior to them too.
(For the sake of this review, I’m not going to touch on the first volume, or the majority of the second, which is a series of one-shots involving the female lead. The real story begins in chapter 7, which is in volume two. Believe it or not, you could -probably- just start there if you wanted to, since none of those side characters of vol. 1 or 2 come back).
From the summary, we’re introduced to #9 (codename Musashi, aka. Shinozuka Kou). She’s cold, calculating, and cruel when she needs to be. And she definitely won’t be like all other strong, female protagonists. Whether or not she’s involved with a guy will never interrupt her missions. Her missions -always- come first.
And then in the second volume, we meet a pretty boy (not a god-like bishounen with sparkles and fluff, but he is supposed to be attractive) named Tachibana Shingo, who is heavily mourning over the death of his best-friend, and is being harassed to the point where he simply gets dozens of threats per day. No one understands what he’s going through, and recently, he’s begun to feel so out of place in his all-boys school. Musashi #9 almost immediately transfers in (of course, for a mission involving Shingo, a typical shoujo set-up), which probably changes the sour boy’s life forever. The manga then chronicles both of their lives for the next 5 years or so from their mid teens to early twenties, and, of course, lots of development happens. The two, although completely opposite and raised in different worlds, are completely stuck on one another as they face tragedies and hardships head on. Even their speech patterns are characterized (Shingo using a lot of slang and slurs, while Kou using very formal speech and big words), which only goes to show that the character’s personalities are so detailed oriented. Both leads, Shinozuka Kou and Tachibana Shingo are great, simply because they are very fleshed-out individuals.
But it’s not always about them. Despite the little arcs, it’s mostly episodic; following Kou around on her missions. Shingo does make appearances here and there, but he is hardly ever in the limelight (which then goes back to the action>romance I mentioned before). The narration is something that needs getting used to: they purposefully hold back information as to the reason why most of the missions are...well, missions. Sometimes, it makes you feel as if you missed something very important. Depending on how long some of the episodes/arcs are, then that feeling can drag on. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but keep in mind that it’s supposed to be suspenseful as it holds back useful info.
And this is a manga that actually uses it’s setting correctly. It’s not overpowering to the point where it takes away from the reading experience, but you -always- know where characters are situated in a room. It never fails to forget to inform the reader what is happening in the setting, compared to the characters in it. It’s not like CLAMP’s style where it’s gorgeous and artistic, but it’s more technical and practical (which is kinda what the story of Musashi #9 is about). And just like it’s characters, it’s very detail-oriented.
This manga is not thought-provoking or beautiful, but it has a very solid story (that sadly, occasionally pulls a deus ex machina). Though it can be sometimes repetitive, this is probably the shounen portion of it: we know that good will always beat evil, and yet, we keep on reading just to find out -how- they will defeat the bad guys. It is above average. If there are cliches, then they will be done just like the role-reversal subgenre: exceptionally well. There are also some small plot holes and some discrepancies in here, which most likely won’t be noticed until the second time around. The flaws actually do have a considerable weight on my scoring, which then brings it to a 8.0 / 10.0.
Musashi #9 is a very good, fast-paced episodic story, with a nice setting, a badass, genderbending heroine and a mismatched couple. Though it does feature a girl, it will (as Shingo says) remind you of a “Jane” Bond.
Universal Blue also known as UB is an organization that fights all injustice. Around the world they are the last line of defence anyone who threatens justice. Such a big organization but their existence is only rumors. Rumors also has it that all members have a number and amoung them the single digit numbers are so powerful they have the power to change the corse of the world. The story is about one of these numbers number 9 during one of her mission a boy named Shingo fell in love with her. Even though they are worlds apart dose Shingo have wat it takes to go as far as it takes to just see her?read more
Ok, great manga. It's hard to find but definitely worth the read. The main character is a girl who's worked under this organization since childhood. She's essentially a genius who has NEVER failed a single mission. A lot of the manga is comprised of separate missions. Towards the middle of the series, Shingo, another character enters. Here begins an actual plot in the story. It's a love story (but a lot more on the action side and not mushy or gooey at all). Shin go lives in the regular world. Will the two of them really be able to get past that barrier? I mean, #9 carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, as well as being able to change the fate of the world.
This manga really is good. I personally would rate it a 10. Even if this review doesn't make it sound that appealing, I urge you to at least read the first 2 chapters before rejecting it. It'll definitely be worth your time.
Sorry! This is only my second review ever. Seriously, try it!read more