Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Magajin R and iff

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

It had been brought to my attention that Motohiro, author of Q.E.D., had mentioned on his facebook page that Q.E.D. was going to appear in Magajin R with a name change - "Q.E.D. iff". Since there was a question of whether the original Q.E.D. was going to be ending, I decided to grab a copy of the magazine and check it out.

(Fold out poster for Noragami.)

This is a brand new monthly publication, and all of the stories in Magajin R are starting with chapter 1. A few of the titles were winners of an amateur manga contest, while others are by established artists. Some of the stories are very violent, and kind of disturbing, so I don't recommend them to anyone other than fans of things like Saw and Chainsaw Massacre. There are a couple exceptions, such as Invented Inference, Yoku Oni (pictured on the cover) and The Deep Sea Girl (a girl comes out of the ocean, and occasionally demonstrates that she's part shark, by Makoto Inaba).

(First page of Q.E.D. iff.)

As for Q.E.D., the story starts out with a question of why some people fight each other and others don't, then jumps to a sculpture artist who is discovered murdered (strangled) in a locked room, and finally joins Kana and some classmates. Her class is going to graduate from high school next year, and they're worried about the situation they'll be leaving in the laps of the younger students - the building used for the kendo dojo is really rundown. There had been money promised to the school for a new building, but for some reason it's failed to materialize. Kana and her friends decide to pay a visit to their delinquent donor, arriving at the sculptor's studio just as Kana's dad, the homicide detective, is questioning the victim's students and secretary on their whereabouts. The solution makes itself apparent - the money has been frozen while the police try to determine how the sculptor died.

Kana talks Touma into helping her, and he agrees only as long as she does all the work interviewing the suspects. She does this, while Touma works on moving into a new building (the caretaker at the apartment complex he had been living in had complained that the weight of the books in Touma's library was causing structural damage to the floor of the building. Touma solves this issue by buying a house with a sunken first floor for his library.) The suspects are: The artist's secretary (who is also one of his many former wives), his number one student (who is frustrated that his teacher has chosen to take a younger, female student to his latest exhibition in New York), the younger student (who wants the artist's money), and a young woman hired to act as a nude model for the artist's latest work (maybe she didn't like his sexual advances).

(Touma explains the idea of IFF.)

The story is 96 pages long, and of course Touma identifies the killer and the secret of the locked room. The only real difference in justifying the change to the name of the manga is that Touma is starting to use a new argument when making his deductive arguments - "iff"; or, "if and only if". As in"A can be true if, and only if, B is true". I guess that after 50 volumes, Motohiro was starting to feel a bit trapped with just using "Q.E.D." as a sign-off. It may also signal a shift away from the science-oriented stories. The first volume of Q.E.D. iff is expected out on June 17.

(Invented Inference)

I am somewhat interested in seeing how Invented Inference turns out. Written by Kyou Shirodaira and art by Chashiba Katase (or, maybe Shiba Katasecha), II is based on the original novel by Shirodaira, published around 2012. In the novel, a police detective is chasing after a faceless ghost. The manga version has a young girl, Iwanaga, living in a hospital. She becomes attracted to a boy, Kurou, that she saves from falling, but he's dating Saki, an older, overly protective woman. Kurou comes to the hospital every few months for check-ups, and at one point his girlfriend stops coming with him. Iwanaga talks to him, and he says that he and Saki had seen a kappa (a green water sprite), which had eventually led Saki to dumping him. Iwanaga believes the story because for 2 weeks, when she was younger, she'd lived in the world of yokai. The price for this was the loss of her left leg and right eye (both of which are artificial now, and the reason why she's in the hospital).

(Bottom left panel: "This is far enough, let's turn back.")

The two are interrupted by the appearance of a mangled samurai - it's a ghost, and one of Iwanaga's friends. He's trying to warn them of the approach of a big monster. The monster comes down the stairs of the building, and Iwanaga says "Yes, sure, this is a good time to leave now". The monster attacks, and Kurou protects Iwanaga by sticking his arm in the thing's mouth. It bites his arm off, but it grows back, while also killing the monster. Kurou says that he too had spent 2 weeks in the land of the yokai as a kid.

(Iwanaga talks about her past.)

The artwork on Invented Inference is very good, Iwanaga is very cute, and there's a good balance between the light-hearted humor and the gruesome monsters that populate the story. I'm looking forward to see what happens next. But, I'm not really interested in getting Magajin R on a regular basis, because II and Q.E.D. iff are the only two titles I care about right now (and I can always get them in book form when they come out).

No comments: