Telepathic Wanderers (aka: Nanase) Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, April 01, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Writer/Artist:Story By: Yasutaka Tsutsui / Artwork By:Sayaka Yamazaki
Translated by:Asuka Yoshizu
What They Say
Three months after her train accident, Nanase moves to the city, where she tries to blend into society and lead a normal life...but she soon realizes the challenges of getting lost in the crowd. So when she meets Henry, a fellow telepath, she discovers a kindred spirit--who chooses Nanase as his new mentor. But their partnership is soon put to the test, though, when Nanase is forced to come out of hiding to confront a vicious predator, who uses clairvoyance to lead his innocent victims down a path of utter darkness...
Be careful about wishing for the ability to read the minds of others; you may not like what you see.
The cover illustration is the same as the original Japanese tankoubon release, although I do like the feel of the original, much simpler cover. The English cover elements feel a tad bit tacky, especially the logo. The print reproduction is good, with a few areas where the ink is a little too light. The opening volume header with the same illustration as the cover does not use color plates. There are chapter headers and a next volume preview, but no extras in this volume.
With very realistic and ordinary character designs, the art style does a nice job keeping with the "normal people with powers" motif while also presenting some very well done suspense sequences. The panels during the heat-of-the-moment sequences, where Nanase is in trouble, are put together in a way that allows the situations to come alive. There is also a fair bit of female nudity here that is tastefully drawn and can either be sexy or disturbing given the context. One thing I noticed was that the character designs do get off-model on quite a few occasions, especially when characters are more in the background of the panels.
SFX are not translated, which continues to frustrate me to no end. This is especially true with a thriller title that uses SFX as part of the overall mood with the style of storytelling. The English scripts reads a bit better this time around, with the vulgarity feeling more appropriate with the characters with the exception of a couple phrases (Dump her like 4th period French!?!?).
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Three months have since passed since the train accident that Nanase and Norio escaped from using their telepathic abilities, and they now reside within the city trying to keep a low profile. Nanase has taken up a job as one of the hostesses at men's club, where she is known as Yuko and is secretly keeping tabs on two males who also exhibit paranormal powers. One is a foreigner named Henry, a bus boy at the club and telekinetic. The other male is a nasty serial rapist and blackmailer named Nishio, a client of the club whose clairvoyance allows him to see through any object at any depth at his control.
"Evil Gaze" is another multi-chapter thriller story in which Nanase finds herself in a tight situation where she must use her powers to take down Nishio. Of course, I have to ask why Nanase even got herself a job at a men's club in the first place, seeing as she understands how men stare at her with lustful intent. It seems that a men's club would be the last place she would have gotten a job. Since these stories were taken from novels, I wonder if there is some introduction here that has been left out for the adaptation.
When one of Nanase's friends from the club, Yae, gets herself in a bad situation with Nishio, who is using secret information against her for sex, Nanase goes into action to save her. One bothersome aspect is why has Nanase chosen now as a good time to rescue one of the girls? If she has been watching him for a while, she must also know what he is up to. The conclusion is a little hazy; the panel direction and script were not quite clear as to how events went down and it took me a couple reads to get understand the whole picture.
The final story, "A Momentary Lapse", is another multi-chapter story featuring Nanase, Norio, and now Henry as they escape to a new hideout on a cruise ship headed towards Hokkaido. Norio finds out a dark secret that a man is carrying regarding his girlfriend, and it is up to the group to keep the situation from spinning out of control without giving up their identities and special abilities. The story will continue into the next volume, but the setup is promising with a couple good twists that will have Nanase scrambling to make good use of the group's powers to escape.
Telepathic Wanderers has the potential to be quite the captivating read, and for the most part it makes good on that potential. There are a few little issues with the progression of events, but for the most part the encapsulated stories featuring Nanase and her psychic friends are quite suspenseful. I do wish there was more background information for these characters, but seeing how this is a shorter title (4 volumes) and is adapted from novels, it is not that big of a concern for me. The view of humanity from Nanase's eyes is also quite disturbing and nasty; everyone has dark secret thoughts that no one should ever hear and digging into those secrets reveal harsh truths. This is a very interesting point of view, but I do think the scales are a little too tipped in favor of the dark side.
With more suspenseful stories and quite the nail-biting setup for the next volume, this installment of Telepathic Wanderers is a good entry into the mystery, psychological thriller genre of manga that I think is quite misrepresented in English.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left