Tag Archives: Book review

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 18: Everybody’s Song by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 18: Everybody’s Song     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 27, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Otcho and the others are searching for Sanae, who went to warn the Ice Queen to call off the plans for August 20th, panicking when they can’t find her. But when she does turn up, Otcho is amazed that she did make contact, and that the Ice Queen is none other than Kanna, although that is really no surprise to him. But Sanae was unable to dissuade her from her ill-advised plans. Sanae further reveals that a guy she likes at work was singing a song that Kanna played for her on a cassette tape, but that his version went beyond what was on the tape. There is a refrain at the end: Gutarara, sudarara. Otcho perks up at that, eyes wide with wonder. Could it be…. Dare he hope…

Meanwhile at the border, there is a report of an alien invader attempting to gain entrance… and apparently he was admitted. Although it is his day off, Chono is called to action to help find the alien in their midst. They say he is carrying a guitar-shaped weapon. Huh?

Otcho catches up with Kanna, who reveals why she chose August 20th for her plans, and why she won’t change her mind. Otcho tells her what her friends did for her, and how she has to do the right thing now. And how he thinks maybe Kenji is really alive. A DJ in the middle of nowhere continues to play a particular song, even though he receives no comments, no calls regarding it. But still he plays it, hoping someone is listening. And the so-called alien begins to sing. He tells the guards, “When somebody’s singing a song, you can’t shoot them.” Suddenly they are being attacked… by a group of hippies?

Otcho and Kanna find themselves apprehended by the Confidential Guard and taken to a secure location. There, waiting for them, is none other than Manjome. And what he has to say is shocking on more than one level.

Everything is moving now with lightning swift speed, and threads are weaving together more and more, as details we’ve been missing come to light. For one thing, we see more of what Manjome did to propel Friend to where he’s at, which makes what he told Otcho and Kanna actually not as surprising as it might seem. Kanna is undergoing a crisis of faith. Can the hope and belief that her beloved Uncle Kenji is actually alive spur her to do what is right? There can be no doubt of that now, too much evidence not to believe, and I am beyond excited to have been proven right in this regard.

We are barreling toward the end. To be honest, I really don’t know how this will go. I mean, the good guys have to win, right? Right? But at the same time, what is Friend and how has he done what he did? Or did we just get a clue to that question after all?

Great volume, anxiously waiting for more!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 41 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 41

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Although it appeared as though Ulquiorra defeated Ichigo, that turns out not to be true. But is the creature that rises from the proverbial ashes really Ichigo? If so, what is he now, and how did he arrive there? Neither Orihime nor Ulquiorra can believe their eyes. While Ulquiorra questions him as to who he is, he receives no response. But whoever this is knows how to fire a cero! That is something no mere human can do.

And so the battle continues…

Meanwhile, Rukia’s battle with Rudbornn is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Yammy, who is really angry with Uryu. Chad marvels at Yammy’s size, having fought with him in the World of the Living. “He was huge back then… but he’s a whole lot bigger now!”

Orihime realizes that this is still Ichigo, there to protect her, as he returns to himself. Ulquiorra is in bad shape. While he can regenerate limbs, that is not true of his organs. He wants to finish this now, but Ichigo tries to attain an even playing field. Ulquiorra tells him, “Hmmph. To the very end, you never do what I want you to do.” He asks Orihime if she is afraid of him and she says, “I’m not.”

Yammy is resolved to avenge Ulquiorra. The others are initially not concerned, as he is Espada 10, and they’ve defeated worse. But then Yammy reveals that they are wrong about the Espada ranks, and he is actually 0… and bigger and badder than they ever imagined!

The other captains’ fights continue. Shunsui receives the grudging admiration of Starrk, while Hitsugaya battles Harribel, and Komamura stands guard while Lieutenant Kira heals the others. Soi Fon and Omaeda face off with the old man, Berrigan, who reveals the true nature of the Espada’s powers – each governs a different form of death. His is senescence, or aging. When he touches Soi Fon’s arm, which begins to rot, she makes an instant decision and demands Omaeda help her immediately! Harribel thinks she has triumphed over Hitsuygaya, because she can also control water. But Hitsugaya lets her know she has far underestimated him.

Decisive battles are being waged here, more enemies defeated. You just know that at some point, Aizen has to be let back into the fray, or what’s the point of him being there? I enjoy the strange relationship between Soi Fon and Omaeda, and I don’t think she really hates or despises him the way she seems to. And he isn’t as weak as he thinks he is. Shunsui is handsome, as always, always glad to see more of him. I loved the battle with Hitsugaya and Harribel. People too often overlook him because he resembles a child, but he is far from that and he is far stronger than people give him credit for.

The most touching part of this volume was the scene between Ulquiorra and Orihime, which made me tear up, and earned Ulquiorra my reluctant admiration. Still loving this series and looking forward to the next book!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 17: Cross-counter by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 17: Cross-counter      

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 11, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The unthinkable has happened… the world as they knew it has been destroyed. Three years later, Friend is the President of the World, ruling from inside the walled fortress that is Tokyo. The Global Defense Force ever keeps watch for the alien invaders that are predicted to be coming. But of course they are watching for humans as well, those deemed unworthy to be a part of society. What will they do to them?

Kamisama sits in a deserted bowling alley, waiting for bowling to become a thing again. The same bowling alley he built years ago that ruined the secret hideout of Kenji and his friends. With him are Otcho and the two young people who secretly helped him when he was injured, siblings Sanae and Katsuo. Kamisama recommends Otcho go to the Catholic Church for help with the Friend. He shows them a secret way to get there, but the passage is too small for Otcho, so they send the kids instead, as the passage is well marked, and he will meet them there. However, Katsuo becomes distracted by an old subway car, as he’s never seen one in his lifetime, and this small detour leads them to a member of the Genji faction. They try to help him but he begs them to take a message to the Ice Queen to warn her against going through with her plans, as there is a spy among them. The brother and sister have to split up. Sanae goes to deliver the message to the Ice Queen and Katsuo heads to the church.

Everyone who went to see the Expo was sent a vial of the vaccine. Those who didn’t go died of the virus. So vaccine is at a premium, and people are willing to take desperate measures to obtain it. Sanae finds the Ice Queen in a small ramen shop, and is surprised at how young she is. Turns out, she already had her suspicions concerning a spy in their midst and confronts him about it. Of course, it was all about the vaccine.

During Year 1 of the Friendship Era, Otcho is traveling with a group of men through the countryside, when a rider on a motorbike stops to deliver a package to one of the men. Turns out to be a vial of the vaccine, and what a can of worms that opens! Wounded in the scuffle, Otcho is helped by a man who lives in a nearby village. But things take a turn for the worst, and they aren’t what they seem. He remembers something Kenji told them when they were kids: “Justice never dies!” He also said, “…I’m saving this world from evil, no matter what happens!”

Back to Year 3. Kanna’s former associate, Officer Chono, is assigned to guard duty at a remote outpost where nothing ever happens, watching for aliens that may never come. He sees injustice all around him and he is incensed by it. By accident, he stumbles on a group of people who are illegally assembled in the quiet of the night, listening to a radio that should not exist… and he hears a song from long ago…

Gosh dang, this is so good. Every volume leaves me in great suspense to know what will happen next. I have my suspicions about the music, because it goes along with what I’ve been saying all along. Hopefully I will be able to crow about it in the next review.  The identity of the Ice Queen is no real surprise. I like the new kids, very brave and very strong characters. There is a brief mention of the Holy Mother, but no appearance. Also no Friend sighting in this volume, which works for me. He is beyond creepy, and the more I learn about him, the creepier I find him to be. I can’t help but wonder what’s with the Friend and aliens? A diversionary tactic or something more?

Great volume, can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 2 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 2     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga//192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

During the Final Selection to become a Demon Slayer, Tanjiro encounters a very old and very strong demon that recognizes him as a student of Urokodaki—and has a grudge against Tanjiro’s sensei. Even though he has to kill the demon, Tanjiro shows compassion to him at the end, and helps to ease him into death. Only four of the original twenty candidates remain, and now they learn about what will happen. They each have the rank of mizunoto, which is the lowest. Each will receive a katana and a crow. They will choose the ore for the katana, but it may take a couple of weeks for it to be finished.

Tanjiro heads for Urokodaki’s home, to find Nezuko awake and happy to see him. His sensei is also overjoyed and embraces both children. He later tells Tanjiro that he believes Nezuko sleeps the way she does in order to recharge her energy without consuming human blood. Fifteen days later, Tanjiro’s katana is delivered by a man called Haganezuka. He refers to it as a Nichirin sword, a color-changing sword. Excited at the sight of Tanjiro, he refers to him as a child of brightness, and hopes that his sword might turn red.  But it turns black instead, which they say is a color rarely seen.

Tanjiro learns that his crow actually talks when he receives his first assignment as a Demon Slayer. He is to go to a northern town where young girls disappear night after night! Urokodaki makes a very light box for Tanjiro to carry Nezuko in during the day, made of kirikumo cedar. On arrival in the town, he finds a very distraught young man, whose fiancé is missing. Suddenly, Tanjiro smells a demon, and he springs into action! Urokodaki had told Tanjiro that only one demon has the power to turn humans into demons, and that is Muzan Kibutsuji. So Tanjiro is determined to question every demon he comes across for information regarding Muzan.

Tanjiro has the demon trapped in an alleyway, but the demon is able to split himself into three. Nezuko helps him, but then he tells her to keep safe the young man and the young girl he just saved while he faces the demons. Immediately after this job, he is sent on a second mission, to Asakusa in Tokyo, where a demon is rumored to be hiding. He and Nezuko stop by a udon vendor’s cart. Suddenly, Tanjiro smells the same scent he detected at the scene of his family’s murder. Can he have found his prey already?

Tanjiro has come a long way in a short time. But despite the tragedy that has befallen, he maintains his loving nature, especially toward his sister, whom he would do anything to bring her back to the way she was. The battle with the first demon was great, and I won’t say anything about the trip to Tokyo. I’ll save all of that for the next review, to avoid spoilers lol  You just know Tanjiro’s journey to seek normalcy for his sister won’t be an easy one, and it’s hard not to root for him. I certainly do.

Looking forward to the third volume.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 1

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 3, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga//192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro and his family have a hard life, being rather poor. But Tanjiro works hard and does what he can to help provide for his mother and many siblings after the death of his father. Hoping to provide for a happy New Year for his loved ones, the weary Tanjiro wants to go into town, despite the weather, to sell more charcoal. But he is prevented from getting back and ends up spending the night there, heading home at first light. Upon his return, he is met with the horrific sight of his family, dead and bloody from some sort of massacre. The stricken Tanjiro realizes his sister Nezuko is still breathing, and hurries to get her to town, where she can be helped. When he slips and accidentally drops her, he realizes that Nezuko has become a demon, turned by the same creature that killed his family!

Just after this realization hits him, as he attempts to keep his demon sister from biting him, a stranger unexpectedly swoops in and attempts to kill her. He is confused as to why Tanjiro, a human, should be protecting a demon. But Tanjiro tells him that she’s his sister and he will do everything he can to help her become human again. He tells the stranger that Nezuko hasn’t killed anyone and won’t harm anyone.  He finally persuades the man, whose name is Giyu, and Giyu tells him to go to see an old man named Sakonji Urokodaki at the foot of Mount Sagiri, and to tell him Giyu Tomioka sent him.

In order to travel that far, Tanjiro realizes he can’t avoid sunlight, much as Nezuko would like to, so he acquires an old basket and fixes it up for her so he can carry her on his back. On the journey, they are attacked by a demon, but luckily they are met by Urokodaki, in a tengu mask, who was apprised of their arrival by Giyu. Giyu told him Tanjiro seems promising, and has the same strong sense of smell that Urokodaki does.  The older man makes Tanjiro figure out how to kill the demon himself then leads both him and Nezuko back to his mountain, never cutting the boy any slack. He leaves Tanjiro at the top of the mountain and says he’ll train him if he can make it down by morning. Tanjiro thinks that’s easy, with his sense of smell, but of course it isn’t.

Tanjiro has taken his first step toward becoming a Demon Slayer and recovering his sister’s lost humanity.

I have been watching the anime, and just started reading the manga. I really like it, and I think they complement one another well. It’s a sad story about bravery in the face of tragedy, of a brother’s love for his sister and his determination to give her back the life she had before, as well as a supernatural story about demons and humans. Tanjiro is a sweet boy, and very kind. Sometimes too kind, to the point of being indecisive, which his mentor fears in his nature. But he also has a steely quality that I think will stand him in good stead in the future.

Urokodaki’s tengu mask is intriguing, and I’m sure there’s a story as to why he always wears it, one we will find out later.  A side note, the actor who voices Urokodaki in the anime is the same one who voices Jiraiya in Naruto (win-win for me because I love Jiraiya lol) The story of how Tanjiro splits the boulder is sadly sweet. Tanjiro’s trial as part of the final selection to become a demon slayer is filled with intrigue and potential death for all involved. Not all the candidates will come out alive.

I like the artwork very much, and I look forward to reading more volumes.

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 5 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 5

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 6, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Playing the giant chicken Bo on television is exhausting for Kyoko, but she’s actually grateful the producer gave her a second chance, after the fiasco with Sho. But apparently the viewers loved her and thought the old Bo was boring, so now she is determined to make the most of this opportunity. To do her best, so she can succeed.

Kyoko runs into Ren at the agency, and his being nice to her and smiling at her has even more freaked out than before. She forgets to inform the agency that she has an audition for a commercial scheduled for the next day. Of course they are happy for her, and Ren tells her to do her best. At the audition, Kyoko unexpectedly runs into Moko, and an entitled blonde who is sure the world revolves around her and her money. Apparently, she and Moko go way back, and she is very condescending and mean to Moko. But instead of fighting fire with fire, as only Moko can, she is down and almost defeated! Kyoko can’t believe what she is seeing. What’s going on here? After the first round of auditions, Moko is ready to quit, but Kyoko slaps some sense into her!

The commercial’s director, who missed the first audition, overhears the discussion between Kyoko and Moko, and is curious to see what they can do. So he changes the casting call from one to two girls, and all the girls have to team up to audition.  Kyoko ends up with Moko. When the others girls, including the rich one, find out that Moko and Kyoko work together at LME, they claim their pairing is unfair. So to even the playing field, they demand that they can’t rehearse together beforehand. Moko is appalled, but Kyoko agrees. But can they play upon one another and bring out the emotions the director and his team need for the product without even being able to discuss it first?

This is a big deal for Kyoko, auditioning for this commercial. No chicken suit to hide inside, only her. Plus she is auditioning against Moko, whom she strongly wants to be friends with. Moko is resistant to her overtures of friendship, but Kyoko isn’t the type to give up easily. I enjoyed watching the director of the commercial as he watched them carefully, sensing something special there. And of course he was right.

Poor Kyoko has no idea that Ren has finally realized how and when he knows her from because she has changed so much, and she has no idea who he was to her. All she knows is that she is afraid of his gentlemanly side as much as his colder side. I love watching the two of them together, but I know they have a long way to go. Lots of fun in this volume, can’t wait for more!

Book Review: The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book #1) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games Trilogy, Book #1)   

Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

American release date:  September 14, 2008

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/YA SciFi Action/384 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

In the aftermath of a devastating war, what was once North America is now a nation known as Panem, comprised of the Capitol and twelve outlying districts. Once there had been thirteen districts, but the thirteenth had rebelled against the Capitol, only to be destroyed. As a reminder of what happens to those who don’t obey, the Capitol conceived the Hunger Games. Every year, each remaining district provides two contestants—one male, one female—who are chosen by lottery to represent their district. The contestants are sent to the Capitol to participate in the games, pitted against one another to fight until only one person remains. The last person standing is then crowned the winner, their district receiving benefits from their win. All of which is televised to the entire nation.

Times are hard for everyone. Catniss Everdeen lives with her mother and younger sister Prim. Catniss supplements their meager diet by hunting, which is illegal as it takes place outside the area where they are allowed to go. But survival calls for desperate measures, so Catniss continues to hunt, along with her hunting partner, Gale. She also forages for various herbs and vegetables, which she has learned from her mother, who is a healer.

Time for the Hunger Games again, and everyone attends the drawing of the two participants. Catniss only wants her family to be safe, so is unprepared to hear the first name drawn is Prim’s. Without hesitation, she volunteers to take Prim’s place, and her offer is accepted. The male volunteer turns out to be Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son. Catniss and Peeta are escorted to the Capitol by Haymitch Abernathy and Effie Trinket, the former a drunken fool and the latter an excitable fool.

Catniss hopes that she isn’t killed too quickly, not holding out hope of winning the games. But she is tougher than she realizes, and maybe, just maybe, she can survive this thing if she tries.

This is a really creative story about a dystopian future society filled with barbarism and inequality. The poor have a rough life, while the idiots in the Capitol go blithely about their merry way, watching the annual slaughter that is the Hunger Games. Catniss is a very good, well-written heroine, and Peeta is easily her counterpart. Watching them grow and develop throughout the book, and watching them work together to defeat the others, is priceless. Catniss is a typical teenage girl in that her emotions are all over the place, especially under the circumstances. But she comes through it all with great grace and aplomb.

I really hope this sort of society never comes to be, but I can also see it happening, too, especially in an oligarchy, such as we in the US live in now.  The first book in the trilogy is riveting. Looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 40 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 40     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As Ichigo and Ulquiorra battle, they assess one another to see in what way their opponent has become more skillful since their last encounter. Orihime stands on the sidelines, helpless to do anything but offer her support to Ichigo, ready to heal him if necessary. Behind her back, though, others are plotting against her. Namely the two girls who were previously the object of Lord Aizen’s wrath for what they tried to do to her. They know Orihime is  no longer under his protection, so she is fair game. And they intend to get even for their imagined slights.

At that moment, Yammy arrives, eager to be part of the fight against Ichigo, although Ulquiorra has certainly not called for him and doesn’t want his help. Too bad for the girls that one chooses to be mouthy, since he obviously doesn’t like them to begin with. But luck is with them, thanks to the arrival of Uryu, but for how long? It’s getting to be a regular three ring circus there! And Uryu knows how to handle the big dummy… with a little help from Mayuri Kurotsuchi.

Turning back to Ulquiorra, Ichigo apologizes for the interruptions, saying “This is what you’ve been waiting to see” just as he goes Hollow. Ulquiorra reveals that Espada above quatra are forbidden to release beneath Las Noches’ canopy. But never fear, he knows how to remedy that. And so the fight continues. As usual, Ichigo never backs down, never considers the possibility of defeat, even though Ulquiorra insists, “I’m telling you – it’s futile!” Ichigo replies,” You thought I’d give up just because you’re stronger than me?” Uryu carries Orihime up to where the fight is taking place. Why is Ulquiorra dismayed to see her there? Is it possible he has a heart and in this heart he cares for Orihime?

This volume of Bleach is all about Ichigo and Ulquiorra, as if to make up for the lack of Ichigo in previous volumes. Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you, but in the end, Ichigo is the star of the show. Still, doesn’t hurt to let the others shine too. They’re all part of the story. But as the hero, we also know in our heart of hearts that Ichigo can’t fail, not even against Ulquiorra. So how bad will the defeat be for the powerful Espada? Only time will tell. But it’s obvious one of them must fall, and logically it can’t be Ichigo.

A riveting volume of Bleach, look forward to the next one!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 15: Expo Hurray by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 15: Expo Hurray     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 21, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Despite warnings advising against it, the Pope’s visit to Japan is moving forward as planned, including the opening ceremony of Expo 2015. Brother Luciano has returned to his home of Italy, after spending some time in Argentina, arriving too late to attend the funeral of his friend and mentor, Father Perrin. He finds the priest’s desk in the same disorganized disarray he remembered. Searching through the mess, he discovers a particular book with a receipt, which he tracks down to a bookseller of antiquities. However Brother Luciano knows this is not an old book and traces it to its forger. He is confused as to why Perrin would trouble with such a book, which is jumbled and confused, containing prophecies such as history will end in 2015. Brother Luciano realizes Father Perrin believed in this book, and did not believe they would ever see 2016 because history would end in 2015.He takes his concerns to his Cardinal, who tells him he is very wrong, and hints that he should return to Argentina. When Luciano returns to his room to find it stripped of everything, he knows what he has to do.

Back in Japan, Detective Chono goes to work, only to be given the task of interrogating someone who doesn’t speak Japanese. But Chono doesn’t speak Italian. How is he going to get through to him? And why does this man sound so urgent… maybe even desperate? Meanwhile, the virus is spreading at an alarming rate and cautionary travel measures are being taken.

Chono gets in touch with Kanna, takes the strange man to her, although she isn’t sure why, but they go to the church and the man confesses to the priest. The priest believes his story and tells Kanna and Chono that the plot to assassinate the Pope is still on. And there is worse… someone thought to be dead has been seen alive by multiple people, including Otcho and Yukiji. Friend alive? How? Now it’s more imperative than ever that Kanna remind the gangs of their promise to stand behind her and protect the Pope. They know the assassin is #13, but can they track him down and stop him before he carries out his mission? And is it possible that Friend has prophesied everything… including his own resurrection?

This volume is intense, so much going on, and omg, Friend alive? What’s up with that? Why? It can’t bode well for anyone. The virus is spreading, the Pope is due to die, can this get any worse? Especially if Friend gets back in the saddle again, what can stop him? I loved this book, and can’t wait for the next one. Especially as… dare I hope it… something I’ve wanted, longed for, and yearned for… is about to come true!

*crosses fingers*

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Monster, Perfect Edition, Vol 4 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 4   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 21, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/438 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

A PI named Richard, who was thrown off the police force for shooting a kid, is in therapy to deal with that, as well as the addiction to alcohol that almost killed him and cost him his wife and his daughter. Even now, his daughter won’t see him, although he’s on a better footing with his ex. Richard asks his therapist, Dr. Reichwein, to look at a photo and see if he can tell anything about the man in the picture. Turns out, things are starting to work out for him and his daughter has agreed to see him the next day. When that doesn’t happen, though, he contemplates turning back to drink.

Neuman, who still hasn’t revealed his true identity to the billionaire Schuwald, has introduced Johan to him, and Johan has become indispensable. Neuman’s foster parents reveal that they wish to adopt him. Without giving them an answer, he calls his employer and says he is leaving his employ, but the old man wants him to read to him one last time. Richard, the PI, tries to report to Schuwald what he has learned, but the man is no longer interested and insists the matter is settled.

Dr. Reichwein remembers a former student of his who has done very well, Dr. Gillen. He’s recently read an interview Gillen did with a serial killer named Jürgens who claimed a “friend” ordered him to commit the murders. He also asks him about a former classmate of his who did well, a doctor named Tenma.

As Richard continues to investigate the people who surround Herr Schuwald, he is starting to uncover a disturbing pattern… plus he finds himself the object of some near-misses that could have hurt or killed him. He ends up at the home of Johan’s current adoptive parents, the Lieberts.

When Dr. Reichwein  receives some devastating news, as he tries to figure out what happened and he is almost killed! He chases down his would-be killer and confronts him, demanding to know who is paying him to do this. Later, his life is saved by Dr. Tenma, and meanwhile Dr. Gillen is visited by BKA Inspector Lunge. Nina Fortner is hot on Johan’s trail, while Johan is teaching children a terrible game, and Tenma lies in wait to rid the world of a monster…

Not as much of Tenma or Nina in this volume, but the other characters and their stories are definitely riveting. The PI who is trying to redeem himself for his daughter’s sake, the therapist who has ties with two former students, including Tenma, and who is determined to unravel the mystery he’s begun to see. The obsessed Lunge, whom I suspect no longer cares if Tenma is innocent or guilty, he’s just going to bring him down no matter what. I can’t help but compare the so-called “friend” of Jürgens, who forced him to kill, with the sinister Friend of Urasawa’s Twentieth Century Boys. Both Johan and Friend are definitely evil men. I really hope Tenma doesn’t go through with his plans.

Another great volume, can’t wait for the next one.