Saturday, July 4, 2009
Land of the Blindfolded, vol. 2
To all of my American readers, happy Fourth of July!
The story: In this volume, more is learned about Masahiro, who also sees the future, but sees it all the time. So he, Kanade and Arou form an awkward threesome, with Masahiro's cynical exterior being slowly melted by Kanade's ever-cheerful demeanor. Throughout this volume, Arou and Kanade become an established couple, while the three of them form an odd friendship of sorts. Another one-shot ends this volume, "The Devil in the Flowered Office."
Reaction: This volume was full of cute -- from the puppy Masahiro and Kanade rescue to the little lost boy at the amusement park. I liked the underlying theme of resilient friendship, too, despite the competition between the two boys. While a love triangle often creates a deep, antagonistic rift between the two people pursuing the same person, Masahiro and Arou seem to deal with each other well enough, considering their gifts. I also liked the one-shot at the end; it presented an interesting and unique view of the Devil.
Deep thoughts: There's an abandoned puppy in this volume, which is both sad and cute. I was surprised to learn that thanks to a declining birth rate and the recent pet boom, there are now more pet dogs in Japan than children. Of course, there's a problem when dogs simply become popular -- more people see them more as a profitable revenue stream and less as living creatures. This leads to puppy mills, abandoned dogs and, oftentimes, dogs put down for lack of available homes. It's sad to say the least.
Artwork: Besides the infectious adorableness of the puppy and the lost little boy, there's Kanade. Her positivity is simply infectious and it shows in her interactions with Masahiro and Arou. Whether it's a simple smile or a wide-eyed look, the characters' emotions come through clearly regardless of the text accompanying them.
The verdict: Highly recommended. This volume seemed to move a little slower, but it was well worth it in order to revel in the storylines that much more. I found myself flipping back through this volume and rereading various scenes. That doesn't happen often and, when it does, it's only for manga I really adore. Land of the Blindfolded is available in the U.S. from CMX.