Bogle Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Greg Hackmann
Review Date: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Release Date: Monday, September 15, 2008

As implied by the end of Bogle's initial volume, this time around the stories are centered more around Asuka and her friends; but I wouldn't necessarily call it a change for the better.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Shino Taira and Yuko Ichiju
Translation: Christine Schilling
Adaptation: Brynne Chandler

What They Say
Asuka is getting to know her new teammates, and the jobs they've pulled together have all gone well... until they drop a priceless statue into the hands of an innocent bystander! Classmate Hirose has a major crush on Asuka, so it's probably a good thing he doesn't know she's the one who just got him kidnapped!

The Review!
The art caper storyline started in last volume is wrapped up in Volume 2's first chapter: conveniently, the note left by Fuki's older brother clears up any suspicions that Ryoma was responsible for his death and leads Bogle to the real culprits by way of another museum heist.  With that plot thread close, a new student name Toshinobu Hirose introduces himself into Asuka's life by asking her right off the bat for a date (she doesn't give him an answer one way or another).  His crush grows into a minor obsession after Asuka accidentally drops a stolen statuette in his lawn during one a robbery and Hirose catches a glimpse of her from behind while she tries to recover -- though he isn't quite sure that the bandit really was Asuka, he's curious enough to start asking questions around school.  Once again, Tair and Ichiju wrap the story up neatly a chapter later by invoking a plot twist that lets Bogle save face while simultaneously convincing Hirose that he's just imagining things.

The final storyline in this volume deals with the arrest of Masato's older brother.  It turns out that his legal problems have nothing to do with Bogle; he's actually facing charges involving the questionable death of one of his patients.  That doesn't stop Bogle from butting in to clear his name, of course, especially after Eiichiro fires everybody up with the story about how he got started with the group in the first place.

I'm basically indifferent to whether the series wants to deal mainly with the clients' stories or mainly with the group itself, as long as it can be entertaining either way.  Unfortunately, the move here from one style to another doesn't affect the things I disliked about last volume: Taira and Ichiju still haven't given me a good reason to care about any of the members of Bogle, since they'd rather set up a bunch of clichéd plot twists instead of taking the time to flesh out the manga's main cast.  Things like introducing one unnecessary love interest for Asuka are silly but excusable; but conjuring up a second one out of the blue with essentially no foreshadowing or explanation (other than the fact that it's shoujo manga, so by God, it's got to have a love triangle!)  smacks of pandering.

Even moreso than last time, how much you'll enjoy this volume is going to hinge heavily on how much you get out of high school melodrama.  If you're like me and don't have much patience for these kinds of things in large doses, then you're probably better off skipping this release.



Mania Grade: C-
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Go! Comi
MSRP: 10.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1933617978
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left