Friday, October 25, 2013

Q.E.D. volume 41 review

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Q.E.D., vol. 41, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: C+

(When Touma met Shinri.)

Barukia no Tokishi (Special Envoy for Balkia, Monthly Shonen Magajin Plus, no year given). Three years earlier, Al Walsh was a computer sciences student at MIT, and was good friends with Touma. His father, Paul, worked with a politician named Mantory for the president of Balkia, Swami. Swami gutted the country's banks and used the money to buy blood diamonds, which he then smuggled into Belgium. Unrest grew and resulted in a civil war, so Swami fled to Europe and Mantory assumed power to try to reunite the people. Swami surfaces in Belgium, where he's given refuge. Mantory gives Paul a letter to take to The Hague on behalf of Balkia in order to demonstrate that Balkia is now stable enough to properly try Swami for swindling the nation, and to have him extradited back. Unfortunately, Paul disappears, so Al enlists Touma to help him present their case to the International Court of Justice in his father's stead. However, the envoy of Belgium, who doesn't trust Balkia to not summarily execute Swami, is assisted by Shinra (from Motohiro's other series, C.M.B.). Without the letter from Mantory, Touma doesn't stand a chance against Shinra's logic. Fortunately, one of Swami's bodyguards sneaks a list of churches to Touma, and he discovers that Swami had hidden packets of the diamonds within angel statues that were sent to each church. Paul sees one of the packets and pockets it to be returned to Balkia.

(Kana is scary.)

This is a bad move, because Swami's sympathizers, mainly angry young mercenaries, notice the missing packet and figure that Paul, who was hiding out at an inn near the church, is the thief. There then ensues a big hand-to-hand combat between Shinra's martial arts-loving friend, Tatsuki Nanasae, Kana, and the mercenaries. Guess who wins? When Paul recovers from the hospital, he delivers the letter to The Hague, and Touma and Kana return home to Japan while Touma leaves the details of confiscating Swami's assets to Shinra.

No science, just a lot of explanation of how the International Court of Justice works, and a mention that all of the world's diamonds originated from one place - Gondwana, some 100 million years ago.

(Caff recalls getting married.)

Kafu no Tsuioku (Caff's Recollections, Written specifically for this book, no year given). The end of the year is coming up again, and the Mizuhara family wants to enlist Touma in their annual house cleaning. This time, Kana's mother offers to give the boy a free meal as a show of thanks, and Kana has to ask what he wants. Rather than picking something easy, like nabe (beef soup), he chooses hand-made gyoza. So, Kana has to spend the next day handmaking gyoza from scratch, and her mother refuses to help. Anyway, dinner is in 20 hours, and Touma suddenly gets a call from someone representing Lin Darby. Lin had come from Taiwan, and Touma had helped her learn English. She asks Touma now to fly to a federal prison in the U.S. to help save her husband, Caff Darby. Touma rushes to the U.S. by jet in the hopes of getting back to Japan before New Year's dinner. At the prison, Caff is an angry, belligerent prisoner that demands better treatment since he had been such a celebrity before. For some reason, Touma doesn't try acting friendly towards him, and keeps showing him a photo of an old man and asking if Caff recognizes him. From here, Touma has Caff explain all the events that culminated in his current situation.

(Kana and her mother, before Kana learns that she's on her own in regards to the gyoza.)

Caff had been a smart kid in Thailand, but rather than stay in school, he left home and did a little globetrotting. He encountered a fortune teller who had a reputation for being really accurate, and she told him to be careful on his way back. By accident, he missed his bus, and the next day he saw a news report that it had run off the road and gone down into a valley. Convinced, Caff went back to the fortune teller, Lin, and studied her as she worked. He published a book on his findings, called "Ultimate Diviner", and from there the two of them got married and became rich and famous. One day, Caff met Floyd, the third son of a family that owned a real estate corporation, and Floyd suggested that he and Caff form an investment company using Lin's predictions to make the investments. Things go great, until someone shoots Lin and Floyd and the gun and a pair of gloves are found in a closet in Caff's mansion. Caff is arrested, convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Questions: Can Lin really predict the future (Touma doesn't think so)? Who was the shooter? Was Caff sentenced for 1 crime, or 2? Why doesn't Lin, who survived the shooting but was crippled) visit Caff in prison? Who is the old man in the photo? With flights being cancelled because of a snow storm, does Touma make it back to Tokyo in time for dinner?

No science. Just a repeat of the selective memory trope.

Comments: What can I say? Two high school girls that know martial arts and 2 guys with no training go up against a gang of mercenaries and win. Granted, the fight scenes look good, and Kana especially looks desperate while facing a guy with a machine gun, but this goes into the box marked "wish fulfillment". And, as mentioned above, the second story recycles a previous plot device to hide the identity of the villain until the end. It's an interesting psychological concept, but it doesn't really work all that well. The only part of this book that makes it worth buying is that we finally get a good view of Kana's mother (she looks much heavier than in previous cameos).

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