Apr 28, 2014

Manga Review -- "Mikado Boy" Volume 2

Title: Mikado Boy (ミカド*ボーイ) Volume 2
Mangaka: Riko Miyagi (宮城理子)
ISBN: 9784088451251
Publisher: Shueisha
Publication: Margaret Magazine
Purchase: Amazon JP / Yes Asia

Hide and Gin are given their second mission to investigate a teacher at their school who has been accused of espionage.

Mini-Review -- A:
I've been gushing about this series on Twitter, so obviously I'm enjoying the heck out of it. This volume is jammed packed with intrigue and surprises.  By the end of it, I was somewhere I didn't think I would be and, quite frankly, this volume ends on a deliciously unsettling note. I have to ask myself is this shoujo? And how on earth is this series in a magazine like Margaret?!

Once again Hide is thrown off balance by his emotional attachments and his assumptions about the fundamental nature of people. He's slowly being forged into an adult as his childish notions are pounded away. Until the end of the story, this is subtly done by Gin who has a gentle touch as he asks Hide to objectively look at all of the evidence. The delicacy of all of this sets the reader up to be blindsided at the end. It's brilliant. Yes, like Hide I got suckered by the characters in this chapter. And yes, like Hide I was horrified and dumbstruck when it became clear what happened. And now what? Running through the story is the thread about the state of pre-World War II Japan as it becomes increasingly militaristic and a threat to it's citizens and it's neighbors. We start to get a peek into the upcoming decisions Hide will have to make. I imagine the fundamental question will become what will Hide fight for.

The artwork is solid and was a key driver in misleading the reader. After getting passed the exposition at the opening of the volume, the story is fast paced and the book was hard to put down. Like the first volume, there's a good mixed of action, mystery, humor, and emotional impact. We are always reminded that these are child soldiers who are too young to be soldiers. By the end of the volume I was quite upset in a good way. I love it when manga makes me feel.

I'm extremely sad that Shueisha publishes this series because Viz/Shoujo Beat is very unlikely to license a series like this. The two volumes I've read so far are some of the best shoujo I've experienced. As far as scanlation goes... this is not a project I want to take on at this moment because I don't know how long this series is going to run. If it keep up the momentum and ends within 10 volumes I can see us translating this series, unless, by some miracle, it gets licensed in English.

Question:  If you are interested in getting formal summaries of this series let me know in the comments If I get enough requests, then I'll take the time to write blog posts. Otherwise, keep an eye on Twitter because I do live Tweet as I read this series.