Manga-ka: Shin Mashiba
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: June 2008
Synopsis: “Dreams on the menu in this volume: a telephone operator who may be the girl of another patron’s dreams, a blind girl whose hearing is driving her mad, a missing fiancé who may be trapped in his own painting, and a mysterious lodger intent on discovering Hiruko’s private past.”
Those plagued by their nightmares continue to seek help from the mysterious dream-eater, Hiruko, here in volume two of Nightmare Inspector. Things are still not always as they seem which becomes even more evident with the revelation of the delirium shop, a place that deals with people’s fantasies much in the same way the Silver Star Tea House deals with dreams.
While under whelmed by volume one of Nightmare Inspector, I sat down to give volume two a chance to redeem the series. To my surprise, this book starts off immediately where volume one left off. This was interesting but also took away much of the ironic twist of volume one’s abrupt end. The stories in this book continue to be pretty episodic, each one with their own Shyamalan (yes I made the comparison) –type ending. I still find some of the surprises a little more absurd than neat but at least the stories remain pretty entertaining.
While overall I really enjoyed reading this volume, I found it suffered from pacing issues. With all the twists, new characters and back-story revelation, I felt like the artist was over-eager to get there. Interesting stories lost much of their mood when they happened far too quickly, as if there was no patience getting to the ‘point’ of the story. Because of this several times the book felt more like reading a detailed list of plot-surprises over following a story.
Shin Mashiba’s artwork still doesn’t stand out too remarkably but I found I liked it more this time around. It’s really attractive and adds a lot to the intended mood of the story. I really like Hiruko’s androgynous design and the combination of Japanese and Western styles in the clothing and architecture.
While it still has its flaws, this second instalment brings back the elements of the first that I enjoyed as well as some new quirks. Though I didn’t see myself continuing with Nightmare Inspector after the first, my thoughts have been turned around and I’ll be following these interesting tales with honest enjoyment from here on out. And if the book itself hadn’t managed to cinch my liking for it, the giggle-worthy short comic at the end still certainly would’ve left me smiling.
Review written June 21, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo
Book purchased from independant hobby store, The Batter’s Box