|Manga-ka: Shin Mashiba
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: April 2008Synopsis: “For those who suffer nightmares, help awaits at the Silver Star Tea House. Hiruko is a special kind of private investigator. He’s a dream eater. And he’ll rid you of your darkest visions… for a price. Dreams on the menu in this volume: a restless soul, a murderous beauty, a woman afraid of falling apart, a grieving lover, an unforgiving son, a suicidal actress and a mysterious voice on the other end of a lovely young man’s phone.”
Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun is another take on the episodic mysterious shop genre, similar to series such as Petshop of Horrors and Nightmares for Sale. Hiruko, an androgynous in appearance dream-eater, runs the Silver Star Tea House. He solves people’s problems by entering their nightmares in exchange for being able to eat the dreams when he’s done. Throughout the book, different people seek out his shop and his services, often with unseen circumstances.
Unfortunately Nightmare Inspector takes a rather unoriginal concept and doesn’t do much unique with it. The stories are completely episodic and stand alone, with no connecting or linear plot aside from the recurrence of Hiruko and his shop-help. It’s evident that the author tries to grip readers with unexpected twists in the end but falls short of really accomplishing that sense of surprise. Most of the endings can be easily deduced mid-way either by simple thought or by reading Viz’s synopsis on the back of the book.
Shin Mashiba’s artwork is pretty but unfortunately like the stories, falls short of being anything remarkable. The characters have sharp, shoujo features but often look too young for their actual ages, due to more rounded facial structures and big eyes.
The release job Viz did was nice and stands out from their other books which all tend to have the same general appearance. The book itself is black with silver font and a coloured image. Some may find the font and layout used for the title of the book is a little difficult to read.
In the end, there isn’t much about Nightmare Inspector that readers wouldn’t be able to find done better elsewhere. The stories manage to be a little interesting but sadly fall short of entertaining.
Written April 20, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased in-store from independant novelty shop, The Batter’s Box