Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Land of the Blindfolded, vol. 1

The story: When high school girl Kanade bumps into people, she sometimes catches a glimpse of their future. One day in school, she bumps into the new transfer student, Arou, and finds out that he shares a similar power, only he sees a person's or object's past. While Arou subscribes to the rule of not intervening in situations he's "glimpsed," Kanade can't do that. She's always compelled to help if she can. Will she be able to convince Arou that helping people before the future comes to pass is a good idea?

Reaction: I found the unlikely scenario of seeing people's pasts and futures fascinating. I also liked Kanade's metaphor for her power -- it's like everyone wears a blindfold, but hers slips from time to time, revealing the future. Upon hearing her metaphor, Arou notes that he simply has no blindfold, as he sees the past whenever he comes into contact with someone or something. The premise, along with these likeable characters, is really enjoyable to watch unfold. I also liked the two one-shots at the end of this volume, "After the Festival" and "The Mistaken Man."

Deep thoughts: Throughout this volume, morality is called into question. If you had the power to help others by seeing their future, would you? What if you might be harmed or hurt by intervening? Would you still feel the need to help? As an optimist who believes in the best of people, I like to think that most people would want to at least try helping. Then again, when you look at how much people do (or don't) help one another, it's hard to keep that belief steadfast. But, somehow, Kanade stays determined to help others, no matter the consequences.

Artwork: The artwork here is well done, despite the frequent presence of blushing cheeks. The characters are all attractive and distinguishable, and the flashbacks and flash-forwards are all well integrated into the story. Lastly, I liked the recurring theme of an unwinding blindfold, or bandage, throughout this book. It's like a visual metaphor for the loose strands of time that Kanade and Arou hold, or the ties that bind people together.

The verdict: Highly recommended. Sakura Tsukuba does a great job blending high school life with this unlikely premise with a great amount of skill. The romance that builds is also a pleasure to watch and doesn't come off as unnatural or forced. Land of the Blindfolded is available in the U.S. from CMX.

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