Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Jiraishin by Tsutomu Takahashi

Tsutomu Takahashi

Kyoya Ida is a hard-nosed detective from the Shinjuku Police precinct. He is known in the force as an unreasonable type who would use lethal force to solve cases, making him unpopular with the enlisted and high-ranking officers in the National Police Agency. Despite this fact, there are some in the force that admire Ida for his bravery and cleverness in using lethal force to solve criminal cases whenever legal means are met in a dead end.

Alternative names
Ice Blade


Manga reader sites (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Jiraishin
This manga is definitely one for those who love detective stories with an edge. There's much in this that makes it for adults only, but it mainly falls into the categories of violence and random nudity (often connected with attempted rape). So if you're young or young at heart then this is probably not for you. Now, while I don't like to see rape thrown it willy nilly, I have to say that it is at least treated properly here, with none of the "she really wanted it after all" or the weird romantic overtones and with all of the violence and horror. While it doesn't make pleasant reading, these situations it at least sit well in the story and aren't sugar coated or distorted. As for the violence, it not only appears in the actions of characters but also in their attitudes and words. There's much a twisted character can do to others without actually physically harming them and such situations are often explored in Jiraishin.
Jiraishin is structured as a series of short stories revolving around a case and detective Kyoya Ida. As expected from a hard boiled detective story, while the criminals are insane, violent, misguided and/or self-involved the detective just has to be that one set further along the line of hard core than they. Ida seems to walk calmly through the blood and gore of other people's lives but inside he's personality and thoughts are just more distorted than anything he faces, meaning he can easily act calmly. As a result he manipulates his way through cases and often ends up killing the criminals, possibly for the hell of it. He's a hard character to understand, as much of his reasoning is kept from the reader, but as the crimes continue readers are afforded enough glimpses to pieces together just who and what Ida is.
There's something cold, reserved and yet brutal about Jiraishin that makes it a addition to the hard boiled detective genre that's well worth reading. The mood of the stories is just right and the art highlights the mood by the use of darkness, sheer lines and a focus on cold or mad eyes. The focus is on the people more than the landscape but both are treated with enough grittiness to build an enclosed world that is wrapped around Ida's viewpoint. The art is, while not always unique in style, stunning and engrossing. The art and the story match perfectly in their style and darkness, which makes Jiraishin a rather engrossing tale to read.

I'd recommend this manga to: fans of hard boiled detective stories.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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