Feb 18, 2023
A detective agency whose members have supernatural skills. Why? And how far can this premise be carried? In hands of authors less capable, not very far at all. But no. Yes! It's the sort of work where things simply come together--the premise couldn't matter less. Unbothered by the fact that it's supposed to be a series of still images boxed into panels, this manga rises from the pages with impressive effortlessness and manages--god knows how--to feel animated. I struggle to think of any other title pulling this off this well. And swear, I can almost hear the score at times.
The narrative is delivered as
a continuously guard-lowering workplace sitcom featuring sharp-tongued coworkers with oddball personal issues which every now and then breaks the spell with shattering plot turns and disquieting reveals of character history as if on a whim, from the very offset instilling a subliminal sense of awareness-eluding, back-of-the-mind tension that any one thing has the potential to happen at any point. Yet, thanks to seemingly offhand details scattered nonchalantly across the chapters, when the turn does arrive, it does not feel unannounced--good efforts are made to make the reader delighted to have been provided a crucial part of the story rather than cheated by it having been hitherto withheld. People involved actually possess an air of having lived a life prior to being introduced--affected and changed by individual struggles which light will be shed upon somewhere down the line, and then the cards will fall into place as to why they act in ways they do, and even say things in ways they say them.
Final warning--things can and do get heartbreaking and violent, and as for myself, I had to put reading on hold because as much as the book manages to repeatedly provide a sensation of being delivered a good piece of writing, what happens to characters every now and then can be quite unexpectedly depressing, and for that reason my feelings about it are mixed. You might've experienced this in Cowboy Bebop. Might've, in Dark Butler.
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