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Reviews

Review: Innocent W (Complete Series)

Manga-ka: Kei Kusunoki
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Volumes: 3
Released: September 2006 – September 2007

Synopsis: “From Kei Kusunoki, the creator of Sengoku Nights comes a twisted psychological drama about Makoto, a private eye with an uncanny, almost otherworldly, ability to get his man. When he is put on the case of a suspected witch, the trail suddenly takes a dark turn along the fine line that separates the guilty from the innocent…”

Innocent W is a three-volume horror story that follows a bus of witches into the deserted mountains. Waiting for them amidst the trees and darkness are those who look for retribution from these witches, for crimes against themselves and their family. Among the witches is a private eye named Makoto who has strange powers of his own. Unfortunately for him and the girls, the hunters aren’t looking for apologies; they’re looking for blood.

The story wastes no time in tossing readers into the bloody mix as a group of teenagers with seemingly nothing in common end up in a bus accident atop a mountain. Strange sigils found on each of their bodies shows their connection goes deeper than the current predicament and it doesn’t take long for a the gruesome future one of them predicts to come true. Witch hunters arrive one after another and the girls find themselves being picked off, one by one.

Innocent W is a Battle Royale type story, except here there are designated hunters and the hunted, at least in the story’s beginning. Those who survived the bus crash desperately cling to hopes of survival against those who’re after them looking to cause nothing but pain. Readers can be warned of some messed up stuff, including violence, attempted sexual assault and some ghastly curses that dredge up more than some creepy critters. The series manages to squeeze by with a 16+ rating but those who are easily squeamish may have trouble getting through some of it.

By the story’s end, the tables turn somewhat and the hunters’ lives become those in danger of extinction. There’re messy causalities on both sides and it’s a task in itself trying to figure out who you think will survive as the story goes on. My personal favourite enigma in the story is a young girl named Mahiro whose power is that of instructability. Other notables include a pair of twins who together can see and hear spirits, a girl with the ability to see the future, and a priestess in training who specializes in curing people of curses over casting them.

Those familiar with Kei Kusunoki’s work will find no surprises here with the art style, which maintains the same consistent look as their others. I liked many of the character designs in Innocent W, in particular the hunters, who ranged from camoprint clad with dreads to gothic-loli cross-dressers. I found some of the expressions on character’s faces a little flat, which took away from some of the dramatic moments, but overall the dark tone, detailed gore and creepy crawlers brought the story to eerie life on the pages.

Tokyopop did a classic job on this series: no frills, just the basics. But as usual it works for them, and it’s a smooth English translation. I like what they did with the cover and the logo, which does the series’ genre and mood a little more justice than the originals.

Overall, sadistic psyho killers, schoolgirls with unpredictable powers, and an underlying true plot that sneaks up on you at the last minute, makes Innocent W an entertaining series. It fits neatly at three volumes to deliver some chills and thrills, and while it’s impact may not be enough to leave you running for the light switch and blankets, it’s still the kind of story that could leave you reconsidering any future camping trips to the woods.

Review written October 14, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Books purchased from independant comic store, The Monster Lounge



Manga-ka: Kei Kusunoki
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: September 2006

Synopsis:
“From Kei Kusunoki, the creator of Sengoku Nights comes a twisted psychological drama about Makoto, a private eye with an uncanny, almost otherworldly, ability to get his man. When he is put on the case of a suspected witch, the trail suddenly takes a dark turn along the fine line that separates the guilty from the innocent…”



Manga-ka: Kei Kusunoki
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: January 2007

Synopsis: “Makoto, the uncanny super-sleuth who was sent on an ill-fated witch hunt, is not everything he seems to be – and a hidden dark side might manifest itself in the most wicked of ways as he and the girls try to find safety. When he reunites with the mysteriously invincible Mahiro, she finds that she may have feelings for Makoto. Meanwhile, Rinko encounters a hooded man who is a student of the dark arts… and has come to teach someone a horrific lesson in forgiveness.”



Manga-ka: Kei Kusunoki
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: September 2007

Synopsis:
“The final, chilling volume brings an end to the mortal combat between the witch hunters and the witches. Rinko, who strayed from the group, now faces a hunter with a personal vengeance. In order to fight back, she must cast a curse – on herself. Meanwhile, Tepeir joins Makoto, Mahiro, and Yunagi to help them fight off the hunters. But the witches may not be as weak as they seem…”

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.



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One Response

  1. […] Hearts. Julie checks out vol. 13 of Claymore at the Manga Maniac Cafe. Lissa Pattillo reviews vols. 1-3 of Innocent W and likes it a lot better than I […]

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