Telepathic Wanderers (aka: Nanase) Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, November 17, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Writer/Artist:Story By: Yasutaka Tsutsui / Artwork By: Sayaka Yamazaki
Translated by:Asuka Yoshizu
What They Say
Nanase, a beautiful young telepath, comes back to her hometown to settle down... but her life soon becomes more than unsettling. Using her telepathic powers, Nanase combats vengeful enemies and stumbles across others possessing telepathic powers. On a train, she meets Tsuneo, a man with the power to tell the future. What dire prediction does Tsuneo have for the riders of this train? Will Nanase find her way to safety in time?
Based on a novel from famous science fiction writer Yasutaka Tsutsui, this seinen title has some interesting commentary on the dark side of society via telepaths and offers a decent psychological thriller.
The cover uses the illustration of the scantily clad Nanase from the original Japanese tankoubon release, with TOKYOPOP adding in some grainy textures and background elements to enhance whole supernatural feel. The English title, which is the same as the Japanese subtitle, is across the top in a bulky font and contrasts a bit with the simplistic design of the rest of the cover. The print reproduction is definitely on par with most of the releases out there, with a couple instances where the tones looking a little muddied. There are chapter headers and next volume preview, but no extras in this volume.
Character designs are based in realism with a good amount of detail, with the close-up headshots looking very refined. I always like it when an artist creates hair that gets close to looking like real hair, instead of the spiked templates that are used in so many other titles. The one little thing that bugged me was that the tones for the hair changed throughout the panels as a stylistic touch that was a bit overused. There are a good amount of facial expressions, mostly surrounding shock or horror given the mood of title. There are a lot of headshot panels, but when backgrounds are present they are rendered with good detail. The tone work also creates a nice texture and depth in each panel.
With a couple of exceptions, the SFX are not translated. For a title that is a psychological thriller, the SFX play an integral part in setting up the suspense and mood. There are quite a few instances where a translation is required. There were a couple “WAHHHHH!” translations during the train story. This is too bad as I’ve really liked seeing what TOKYOPOP has done with recent titles with their subbed translations.
The translation reads just fine, maybe a little flat at times, but I have mixed feelings about the adaptation. At points it tries to match the vulgar personalities of the characters, but at points it’s a bit too much. The teacher in the first story is pretty vulgar, which fits his character, but I’m unsure how I feel about a later man’s comments about Nanase being a “splooge siphon”. The point is understood but I’m unsure about the choice of words.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Yasutaka Tsutsui’s psychological thriller about telepaths is one that definitely does not glorify the ability, but instead reveals the hardships and struggles with dealing with such a unique gift as well as portraying the darker side society through the mind of the telepaths. In the first two-part story, we are introduced to Nanase, who is visiting her home town after being gone for quite some time. While strolling the town, she comes into contact with an old teacher who has quite a grudge against Nanase for what she did to him back in high school. This revenge story ends up becoming quite disturbing at Nanase is kidnapped and taken to the teacher’s apartment where she is bound and slowly tortured until Nanase is forced to reveal her secret gift of telepathy, which she uses as a tool for revenge herself.
It is an awkward way to begin the story, throwing Nanase straight into the mouth of the lion within the first chapter, but it does quickly reveal a decent amount of Nanase’s past with this high school incident and how that has possibly shaped her presently. I couldn’t help but think this first story would have had more impact if the title and summary of the book hadn’t given away the premise about telepaths. It’s not until Nanase decides to use her power to get away from her attacker that you learn that she has these abilities, a turning point that was slowly built up throughout the two chapters.
The rest of volume takes place on a train as Nanase leaves her hometown, without a clear destination in mind. She’s definitely a wanderer; her ability has left her feeling isolated not just because she is different, but also because she dislikes everyone as she is able to see into the darkness in everyone’s private thoughts. It seems as though every man she comes in contact with mentally rapes her. This darker portrayal of the telepathic ability was well done and really helps illustrate Nanase’s hesitance and nervousness she displays while in the public eye.
While on the train, Nanase has a vision that the train is going to be destroyed by a landslide. But Nanase is not a psychic, so where exactly did these thoughts come from? She meets a lonely and worried young boy on the train who is also a telepath, but has not quite figured out exactly what powers he has. Also on the train is a psychic, whose visions entered her mind and show the three of them escaping alive, leaving 9 dead and 121 injured. The question becomes does Nanase try and help the other passengers, knowing that changing the future is impossible, and how she will be able to get the boy off the train and away from his abusive mother.
Based on the 70s novel Nanase Futatabi by famous science fiction writer Yasutaka Tsutsui, which has since then spawned live-action TV dramas, this manga adaptation explores the darker realms of the human psyche through telepaths set in a modern day setting. Nanase is an isolated and ostracized character not only because of what other people may think of her abilities, but because of what goes on with their private thoughts. Men are constantly undressing her in their minds and other people’s darkest and deepest thoughts can be quite disturbing. The only person Nanase felt comfortable around was the mentally disabled boy from her past, who had no “evil” in his mind.
The two stories so far presented in this volume are for the most part disconnected, each of them creating their own commentary on society about the dark side of human nature and thought. They are interesting short stories that carry a great suspenseful mood, but lack a lot of that punch I was hoping for that could have been accomplished with a bit more setup and a different pacing. However, at four volumes total this is a title that requires little investment for something that is slightly off the beaten path.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left