|Manga-ka: Yumekui Kenbun
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: August 2008
Synopsis: “For those who suffer nightmares, help awaits at the Silver Star Tea House, where patrons can order much more than just Darjeeling. Dreams on the menu in this volume: an amnesiac with a misplaced sister, a voice actor who can no longer be heard, a wall that blocks true love, an author with a mythical case of writer’s block, and a boy who literally masks his feelings.”
Tales of trial and salvation continue here in volume three of Yumekui Kenbun’s Nightmare Inspector. The Silver Star Tea House receives more patrons seeking help from Hiruko to rid them of their nightmares, from a young man trying to reach an X on his mind’s map, to a boy whose emotions are trapped behind a mask.
There were a couple scenes in this volume that surprised me as they felt darker than previous tales. Sure there’s been suicide and death explored a bit before but here it’s showcased in plot, and visually in the art, in a way that’s certainly much more sinister. I got that feeling from the first story inparticular.
Like many similar series, endings are never as happy as readers are led to believe, and while Nightmare Inspector has never really wowed me with much in the way of unpredictability, some of the stories still leave me with a bit of a chill. My favourite story here was one about an author who can no longer see the story in his dreams, because it’s ending actually caught me off-guard (though the first story had me on my toes for a moment as well).
Overall, however, volume three left me with many of the same feelings I had about volume one. The episodic storytelling seems a little too choppy, feeling repetitive before its time, and the recurring characters felt more like shadows in the background over fleshed out plot-elements. I really enjoyed the character development in volume two so I’m hoping that future volumes of Nightmare Inspector are able to balance the tales and characters more fluidly. In the meantime, volume three still made for a fairly entertaining read, and with a couple sharp surprises, so I still plan to continue with this gothic teahouse fantasy a while longer yet.
Review written August 21, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from independant hobby-store, The Batter’s Box