Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Text/Translatin Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Released By: CMX
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 200
- ISBN: 1-4012-1052-X
- Size: B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
- Series: Land of the Blindfolded
Land of the Blindfolded Vol. #09
By Sakura Eries
August 08, 2007
Release Date: September 13, 2006
Land of the Blindfolded Vol.#09
Translated by:Sheldon Drzka
Adapted by:Sheldon DrzkaWhat They Say
Events race to a dramatic conclusion in this series finale!
With Arou's birthday approaching, Namiki plots to spoil Kanade's plans for a surprise party and drive a wedge between the couple. But when Kanade and some classmates find themselves lost in the mountains during an unexpected blizzard, Arou takes matters into his own hands, pushing his powers to the limit in a desperate attempt to save the girl he loves!The Review
The Land of the Blindfolded series ends with the secret behind Arou's "no limits" power and Arou once again exerting that power to the max when Kanade gets lost in a snowstorm!
Tsukuba tries to conclude her nine-volume series with the dramatic punch of a desperate rescue in the mountains. She has a decent build up of tension going into this final arc, but she doesn't quite pull it off. Part of the problem is that the resolution to Kanade's dire situation is rather weak. Much like in Volume 5 when Arou "saves" his friends at the beach, Tsukuba depicts Kanade and the other lost snowboarders as "rescued" the moment Arou finds them despite the fact that they're still stuck on the mountain and the snow hasn't stopped. In addition, Arou's power enabling him to also dematerialize and teleport himself (and his clothes!) still strikes me as rather illogical.
Compounding the final arc's weaknesses is the way the series is laid out overall. There's no ultimate goal that the characters are trying to achieve, no mystery to be solved, no foe to be vanquished, no relational tension to be resolved. As such, there's no real finale that readers are anticipating by the time Volume 9 rolls around. Land of the Blindfolded has largely been a series of short vignettes about teenagers with extraordinary powers that still live mostly ordinary lives. Even in this final volume, inserted between the darker "Arou's past" and final "Snowstorm" story are two fluffier high school stories that don't really have much to do with either of the larger dramatic arcs. Land of the Blindfolded does have endearing characters, and there are good introspections on relationships, isolation, belonging, and purpose. However, our three main characters' world and impact lie almost entirely within their school and homes. As such, if you don't fall in love with these characters within the first few chapters, you may not be interested in following the manga through to the very end.
By the way, it's interesting to note how both CMX's packaging and Tsukuba's artwork have changed over the nine volumes. The changes were gradual enough for me not to notice as I was reading through the series, but if you put Volumes 1 and 9 side by side, you can see how the character designs, especially for Arou, have changed from a more angular, mature look to a softer, cuter look. In terms of production, the quality seems to have dropped between Volumes 1 and 9. The printing in the final volume is dark and muddy compared to the much crisper first volume. In addition, the binding in the first volume feels a lot sturdier than the final volume's. I don't know why production quality changed, but it's really too bad.
This volume includes a table of contents and a slightly expanded version of Tsukuba's "Sakura Mail" that includes two very short mini manga.