After a better-than-usual previous volume, can Shiki Tsukai keep the momentum going?
Writer/Artist: To-Ru Zekuu and Yuna Takanagi
TRanslation: Mayumi Kobayashi
Adaptation: Mayumi Kobayashi
What They Say
A MAGE IN THE MAKING
Akira is a Shiki Tsukai�"a warrior who magically manipulates seasons. Protected by his friends and a beautiful, mysterious Kijyuu named Koyomi, Akira must wake the powerful Shinra inside him and defeat those intent on destroying humanity. But first, he has to survive the crazy Christmas party Satsuki has planned!
At first Shiki Tsukai was a series that tried to do a number of things and didn't do any of them particularly well. The plot didn't make a lot of sense, characterization was pretty bare, action was sporadic but decent when it did occur, and comedy fell flat. Volume three made me think the series was starting to change. It seemed to put most of the elements on the back burner and concentrate on the one thing the series wasn't lame at, which was action. It wouldn't have been a standout volume in any above average action series, but it was significantly better than the other two volumes of this one. It read quickly and it didn't confuse or annoy me. I couldn't help but wonder if this signaled a change in the wind. Had Shiki Tsukai figured out its strength, and if so, would it stick to it from now on?
Unfortunately, the answer seems to be no. After taking a couple of chapters to wrap up the fights from last time, volume 4 of Shiki Tsukai slides back into its earlier manner. There's more of the muddled plotting that I'm not even going to try to figure out. The parts of the plot that do make sense seem almost arbitrary. Remember Akira friend suddenly acquiring special powers in the last volume? It turns out his other friend has a secret, too, and one that comes from just as far out in left field. The merciful exception is when Akira figures out something important about Koyomi, and she sits down with him and puts the rest of the pieces together. It's a simple scene, but it's the one part of the book that has a genuine spark of life.
In a way that's how the whole series feels to me. I can't help but think that there really is a good story somewhere inside the tangle of confusion and cliches. Every now and again I see a flash of something that makes me think Shiki Tsukai can transcend itself and become something well worth reading. But it never lasts. Before I know it I'm back to having to remind myself to keep turning the pages. It's not that the series isn't trying. All that supplemental material in the back shows that somebody put a good amount of involved thinking into this. It's trying; but it's not succeeding.