Tactics Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Release Date: Saturday, October 23, 2004
Writer/Artist: Sakura Kinoshita/Kazuko Higashiyama
Translated by:Madoka Moroe
What They Say
Goblins Galore! Kantaro Ichinomiya is a studious young boy who fancies folklore, so it's no small wonder that his eye for the fantastical leads into a career among the world's ogres, goblins and boogeymen, all of whom he can help to live in harmony. Moonlighting as the ambassador to the goblin population, Kantaro - flanked by his own ghoulish sidekick - roams the streets of feudal Japan, hoping to solve instances of goblin abuse and bi-species confrontations. But unleashing peace between rivaling humans and beasts could open the door to something much more mystical, and much less welcoming...
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kantaro has always been able to see goblins and demons, but instead of being afraid of them, he's always wanted to be their friends. As a young boy, he first heard the legend of the demon-eating goblin, a decided to find him and make him his friend. Many years later, Kantaro is now a young teenager, and he's found the demon-eating goblin. He binds him to himself by giving the goblin a name, Haruka. Now the precocious Kantaro, the devilishly handsome though somber Haruka, and Yoko, a cute little maid/goblin girl help people by solving mysteries. In the first story, Kantaro attempts to help a young woman who's boyfriend has disappeared, and finds and releases Haruka from his confinement. In the second story, we learn more about Haruka as he and Kantaro dig into the secrets of a circus owner who is keeping goblins as sideshow attractions. In the last chapter, Kantaro becomes a prophet of the Word, a strange little cult. Shinnosuke, the son of the founder of the cult, holds the book that all their beliefs are based on, but he isn't a believer himself. Soon, it becomes apparent that someone is trying to kill Shinnosuke, and Kantaro hatches yet another clever plan to save Shinnosuke and help him come to terms with his late father's overwhelming memory.
As this is an uncorrected galley proof, I can't comment on the quality of the art reproduction or cover, as they haven't been finalised yet. I can comment on the content of the story, and the original art, though. I haven't the slightest idea why this book is titled "Tactics", but it's a fun little read. The story appears to take place in the Taisho era, with it's characteristic mix of traditional and western clothing. Automobiles are present, and in one city scene, we see a cinema advertising a movie starring James Cagney. Kantaro prefers to wear traditional clothing, but Haruka wears a very handsome Victorian style western suit. There is plenty of comedy in how Kantaro manipulates Haruka into helping him with his investigations. But Kantaro always has a noble goal, the befriending of people, whether human or goblin. There is a shonen-ai element to the story as well, with Kantaro's total devotion to the demon-eating goblin he dreamed about for so many years, and Haruka's gruding acceptance of Kantaro's friendship. Yuko is a great sidekick to the two of them, being an enabler to Kantaro's hijinks, yet a confidant and catalyst to Haruka's annoyance. Higashiyama's art style is perfectly complements Kinoshita's writing style, with a light, easy-going style. There are plenty of comic takes on the character's expressions and super-deformed gag panels. The character designs and especially the clothing are all well-thought out. I highly recommend this clever and light-hearted comic fantasy.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: n/a
Text/Translatin Rating: n/a
Age Rating: All
Released By: ADV Manga
Orientation: Right to Left