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Prophecy, Vol. 3

Before we get to this Monday’s manga review, a quick programming note. Due to a combination of classes, homework and Anime Boston occurring this weekend I’ll be skipping the next two reviews. So, there will be no new review this Thursday, April 2nd, and there will be no new review a week from now on April 6th either.

Thank you, now onto this week’s manga Monday review!

Prophecy, Vol.3Prophecy, Vol. 3
By Tetsuya Tsutsui
Vertical Comics, 210 pp
Rating: Not Rated

As Erika Yoshino and the rest of the Anti Cyber Crimes Division close in on them, the four members of Paperboy gather as they attempt to assassinate Shitaragi, a member of the Japanese Diet. As their year long plan nears its climax, their motivations slowly become clear. Tetsuya Tsutsui guides his cyber crime thriller to a finale full of twists and turns in Prophecy, Vol. 3!

While I did miss the opening chapter of the series, Prophecy, Vol. 2 proved to be a compelling and engaging mystery involving a group known as Paperboy engaging in vigilante activities through the internet. Given the rise of online activist groups, “hacktivism” and anonymous communities, the premise was bound to strike a cord with the modern manga reading audience. While much of this continues, Tetsuya Tsutsui provides plenty of surprises as the story takes a rather unexpected turn in its final acts. Well, unexpected to me at least, perhaps the motivations and ultimate goals were more strongly hinted at in the first volume, but based upon volume two, it really felt like it came out of nowhere. The previous aspects of the social commentary fall away as the series takes a more personal approach to the story and the characters, shedding light on their actions and their reasoning. On one hand it rings true. The personal details revealed do, on a certain level, explain why they would take some of the actions they’ve taken. Given how we’ve been told how clever and resourceful the members of Paperboy are supposed to be, you’d think they’d have come up with a better plan than this.

A page from Prophecy, Vol. 3

A moment of levity!

Regardless of the head scratching climax, Prophecy, Vol. 3 is still a nice looking book. Tetsuya Tsutsui does a wonderful job with the artwork and there are some fantastic visual moments throughout the volume. The characters and the setting are appropriately contemporary and he does a nice job depicting the alleys and abandoned military bases that the story occupies. His use of body language with Nobita, a member of Paperboy, has been especially nice throughout the series. One glance at the character and it’s clear how uneasy, tense and awkward he feels. Likewise during a meeting with his friends, the guilt is spelled out so clearly upon his face that watching him attempt to evade questioning is almost painful.

While there are still some elements of social commentary spread through the final volume, Prophecy, Vol. 3 really feels like it’s shifting the focus from larger social issues to smaller and more personal ones. While it does still touch upon things like corruption and exploitation of workers, they often feel like more background trappings as the actual motivations are revealed and relationships are expanded upon. The ultimately resolution left me feeling a bit confused as Paperboy’s plan seems to be very poorly thought out in the end. Still, it was a short and enjoyable thriller which touched upon larger issues, which is a lovely change of pace from the fantasy that permeates America’s manga landscape. As a result, even though I was a little disappointed with the climax, Tetsuya Tsutsui’s Prophecy was an enjoyable breath of fresh of air!

Prophecy, Vol. 3 will be available on March 31st from Vertical Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. March 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm

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