|Manga-ka: Ryo Saenagi
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: March 2008Synopsis: “Our hero, Nanaki, is training to be a psychic investigator for the Lock Agency. His cocky attitude gets him into trouble often enough, but now it’s his psychic abilities that giving him a headache. First he has a female stalker trying to prove he is psychic, and then his partner, Aoi, is kidnapped by a crystal gazer! Will Nanaki be able to dodge the stalker and save his partner in time?”
The contrasting duo of Nanaki and Ao return in this second volume of Psychic Power Nanaki. Recap: After getting hit by a car, Nanaki awoke to discover he has numerous psychic abilities, ranging from telepathy to teleportation. Recruited by the mysterious organization known as the LOCK Agency, Nanaki is partnered with the youthful-appearance, but dry in personality, Ao. Random adventures insue.
Nanaki continues his training to better control his powers, though his ego and disregard for authority makes this more difficult than it needs to be. During another slack-fest in school, Nanaki meets eyes with a female classmate who later confronts him with knowledge of his psychic abilities. The girl is determined to prove she’s right about him leaving Nanaki left trying to deter her. Two new female characters are introduced, one of whom offers a little more information about Ao’s previous partner, and Nanaki finds his worth in comparison sorely questioned. Enter a fortune-teller who feels a connection to Ao, and you yet another excuse to prod at the Nanaki-old partner comparison.
The next story offers the obligatory hot-spring visit and is a fairly tided up story as the (repeatedly pointed out) unlikely duo help a girl, with the ability to see the future, save the boy she has a crush on. It offers the introduction of yet another character who will most likely return in future issues. He could cause some confusion for readers at first as he looks a lot like the main character, short of having some hair that actually looks brushed.
The final story is given to Ao, as he and one of LOCK’s higher-ups visit a haunted house. While the role of dark, emo character with a sordid past usually doesn’t make for the most immediately appealing, nor original, character, Ao manages to stand out as a strong point for this book. It may be mostly in contrast the often irritating and obnoxious Nanaki who comes across as more a jerk than charismatic, but none the less, Ao is an interesting character whose occasionally prodded at past in this book is just enough to make the next volume worth considering.
Readers of Ryo Saenagi’s other series will no doubt recognize the art style (manga-ka of Satisfaction Guaranteed and Sequence, both also out by Tokyopop). Coming after the longer running series, Satisfaction Guaranteed, it’s evident that their art style is becoming a bit more solid. Psychic Power Nanaki sports more consistency panel to panel for character illustration and some toned down proportions from the often ridiculously long-limbed full body shorts of SG.
While only at its second volume, readers may already feel Psychic Power Nanaki running a little thin on substance. While some aspects may peek the curiousity of the interested, there isn’t a lot here that seems up to the task of sustaining a longer series. It may yet surprise us but for now it’s a series best left to fans of the artist.