A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 09 Manga Review

とある科学の超電磁砲(レールガン)/Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 09 (manga review) 


SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:  

A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 09Mikoto is summoned to a meeting by KOUZAKU Mitori, who has kidnapped Mikoto’s mother and Uiharu. Mikoto saves Uiharu, but to Mitori’s surprise, Mikoto has brought Kuroko along to save her mother. Mitori escapes as her ability allows her to create a metal clone of herself, which is what they’d been dealing with.  Despite Kuroko still not remembering Mikoto, she allows her access to Judgement computers, where Mikoto restores Data Uiharu deleted under Misaki’s orders and discovers more info on Misaki. Mikoto tracks her down, so Misaki briefs Mikoto on why she did what she did to Mikoto’s friends (to protect them) and informs Mikoto that their opponent is KIHARA Gensei, the one responsible for the Level 6 Shift project. When they reach their destination, the two spit up to search out the building while Uiharu, Kuroko, and Saten do more research.

Saten goes hunting on her own and ends up being captured by one of Mitori’s confederates, who then accuses Mitori of being a traitor, forcing her metal form to retreat under the threat of magic. The woman then escorts Saten to safety.  Meanwhile, Misaki discovers the Gensei decoy, where he has planted a message in the mind of the decoy for Misaki. Racing by car with Mikoto to the Exterior site that had been mentioned in Gensei’s message, Misaki is worried and is forced to use her “Exterior” power to cause cars to open a lane for them in traffic. Mikoto is amazed by this as Misaki recalls her childhood in the institute and befriending a prototype clone of Mikoto named Dolly.  After Dolly’s death, Misaki manages to take control of the people in the facility despite their precautions and learns the truth.

Arriving at the Exterior facility, they discover it has been broken into, but there’s no resistance. Misaki shows Mikoto Exterior, the giant brain created from Misaki’s brain, which was created to give anyone Misaki’s Mental Out ability. Misaki reveals that Misaka-10032 is getting treatment, but when she contacts Keitz, he reveals he’s had to get Misaka-10032 to safety. However, Gensei takes over Keitz using Mental Out, using the Level Upper technique to attune his brainwaves to Exterior. He then sends a virus through the Misaka Network, which ultimate targets Mikoto, whom Gensei wishes to see if she will now evolve to Level 6. Meanwhile, Saten has contacted Touma, whom she’d earlier lent a charm to, that she’s figured out that Mikoto is being targeted.


Heh! Man, I was completely wrong about Misaki. Hat’s off to you, Kamachi-sensei (and Fuyukawa-sensei).

In reading volume 8, I had been figuring that Misaki was probably the antagonist, but I wasn’t completely sure because there were things about her that weren’t quite jiving some of her behavior. As such, discovering her motives behind changing Kuroko’s, Uiharu’s, and Saten’s memories so that they didn’t know Mikoto was just part of the picture of seeing that despite her elitist, ojousama attitude, Misaki is actually not evil.  If anything, she was making sure that Exterior doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, but alas, she failed.

In failing, I liked what this brought out of Misaki. Prior to Gensei taking over (or at least being able to use) Exterior, Misaki was all confident and in control. Ever since she discovered the truth about Dolly and the plans the adults had for her once her usefulness had come to an end, Misaki has set up things so that she is in control. She reads peoples minds, manipulates things to protect herself and Exterior, and goes on smugly with life.

Now, she’s not in control. Her carefully laid plans and protections weren’t enough. Gensei easily overcame them and even left Misaki a message in the mind of the decoy without directly addressing her.  As such, I liked seeing her have to deal with not being in control for once.  It made me actually like the character more. I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes from here.

Speaking of Misaki, I hadn’t considered this before, but her memory wipes and modifications leave a pretty big trail to follow. So it was interesting to see Saten trying to figure out why she had Mikoto’s name in her phone when she didn’t remember being Mikoto’s friend.

Speaking of Saten, just who is this girl/young woman who’s helping Saten? It seems that she has some kind of connection to Saten, but what that could be, I couldn’t say. I find it interesting that this woman mentions being a mage, which would make her the first mage to appear in Railgun story (not counting splash pages).  I would like the magic elements of Academy City to take a bit more of a role in the Railgun manga.

Another element I really liked about this volume is how Mikoto really comes to rely on her friends despite the danger it puts them in and despite the fact that they don’t remember her. During the Sisters arc, Mikoto goes solo and nearly dies for it. Had Touma not been there to bail her out, she wouldn’t be around. Now, Mikoto has learned her lesson and after Mitsuko is hurt and removed, Mikoto brings in Kuroko. I think it shows how Mikoto has grown as a character. She doesn’t want her friends harmed, but she knows that despite her massive power, she has limitations.  It makes me like Mikoto even more.

Then there’s Kuroko. Her “oneesama” obsession with Kuroko has never been played up as much in the manga as it was in the anime, but having Kuroko not know Mikoto and even protest that she’s straight after Mikoto helps her to walk made me laugh.

So from a story perspective, this volume is packed full of stuff. The new organization (MEMBER) is intriguing with its mix of psychics and mages. Gensei’s actions are interesting with his continued work to get a Level 5 psychic to Level 6. Then, there’s that cliff hanger by which we see Mikoto being affected by Gensei’s virus to make her power up.  And if that isn’t enough, Touma is racing to the scene, where I hope he isn’t annoying like he is in the Index series.

On the Seven Seas side of things, the usual Japanese honorifics are here, which is always going to be a huge plus for me. There are no translator notes. There are two color pages, including a clean cover image. There are a couple of congrats art/notes from other mangaka and a couple of pages of 4-koma comic strips.

Sadly, volume 10 won’t come out until NEXT YEAR. ^_^; It isn’t Seven Seas’ fault as volume 10 hasn’t even come out in Japan yet.  Well, that’s the problem with a monthly series — a max of 12 chapters a year means a max of two volumes a year.  Still, I’m glad Seven Seas has this and is doing a good job with the manga.  The series is well worth owning.

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50 Responses to “A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 09 Manga Review”

  1. Random_Passerby says:

    The girl who’s helping Saten-san plays a minor role in later Index novels and a significantly more important one in the Liberal Arts City side story. There, she also rescued Ruiko when she had stuck her nose where it didn’t belong. Here, she’s disguised, so Ruiko doesn’t recognize her.

    • Random_Passerby says:

      …or, since I’m failing to make my point clear, her appearance is a gratuitous cameo of a character from the other works in the franchise. Personally, I was disappointed that Member didn’t get a larger role here – they aren’t major players in the novels so despite their interesting composition and personal qualities, they don’t get much attention or spotlight.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        I would have thought Member would have played a bigger role further into the story. Bummer.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Are the Liberal Arts City side stories taking place at the same time as the Railgun/Index stories? I ask because she seems to know Saten, implying they’ve encountered each other somewhere.

      • Random_Passerby says:

        Liberal Arts City is a single story that takes place in the first days of September, which places it over a month after the Level Upper incident, ~10 days after the end of the Sisters arc, and three weeks before the current events of the Railgun manga… On a side note, I find that timeline ridiculous, as it gives Xochitl less than 3 weeks to get into Academy City, join Member, and gain enough experience with its workings to recognize false orders, but Kamachi rarely cares for such plot holes.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Interesting. Thanks for the information. I take it that “Xochitl” is the girl’s name? I didn’t remember seeing it in this volume (I could have missed it) and I didn’t look it up.

          As to plot holes, I had thought that Kamachi-sensei had a tighter rein on things. But, there are a lot of Index franchise books and such, so I suppose it is too much to keep up with. ^_^;

          • Hiss13 says:

            Technically it’s not a plothole considering that her name is mentioned multiple times in all of the other media. Hell, most people wouldn’t recognize that girl as Xochitl, who has a connection to a character you met a couple of times in Index, unless they read through Volume 15 of the Index novels.

            Speaking of the Index LNs, it seems like Yen Press has licensed them and the first volume is to be released in Winter. Sadly, it looks like it’ll take a good 5-8 years before they even catch up to the current point in Index New Testament (which had its 10th volume, also the 32nd volume in the full Index main series, released just today) and by that point, Kamachi will have probably wrote anywhere from 15-24 more volumes of Index or will have finished Index by that point. Considering a major development regarding a certain upside down man in a tube in the current Index volume…we may be approaching the end (or are at least 2/3 of the way through the Index story).

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            I’m pretty sure I know nothing about Xochitl since I’ve not read any of the novels.

            Speaking of the Index LNs, it seems like Yen Press has licensed them and the first volume is to be released in Winter.

            I’m hoping they’ll do a good job with them. If they don’t, sales will suck and they’ll end up not doing many volumes.

  2. Bryce says:

    If I had to say, I am more annoyed that this volume was not released in 2013, the same year its Japanese edition was released.

    Anyway, from what I could dig up in earlier searches, the person who commented before me seem to be right that she first appears the Liberal Arts City Arc, or maybe the Index volumes, which Yen Press just license, that is currently light novel exclusive.

    As for Touma, he was great in the Sisters Arc (Railgun), but the way things have been going in the later chapter, not yet published in volumes, I do not think that he will be that impressive, and back to the way he was in the Magical Index anime, where he has got to be one of the worst characters ever created.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      If I had to say, I am more annoyed that this volume was not released in 2013, the same year its Japanese edition was released.

      I hadn’t checked on when it was released in Japan. I’m betting volume 10 will be released this year in Japan.

      BTW, I hadn’t realized that Yen Press licensed the Index novels. Man, I hope they do those right and keep the Japanese honorifics in.

  3. WMC says:

    Ya. Great stuff. Takes me five times through to catch all the continuity, but it’s there! I haven’t found one scientific goof or continuity glitch, making suspension of disbelief very easy. That Misaka gradually matures, as all 13-year-olds do, really gives life to tthis manga. And that Shokuhuo’s prior actions mean something much different, but very plausible when her past is revealed is very cool. I had no idea she had been countering that snake Kihara Gensei. ALL of her previous actions yeild a much different, and plausible interpretation. Love that kind of thing and these authors do a great job of it. Too bad their backgrounds are so primitive. Story, characters and plot: 5 stars. Backgrounds: 1 star.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I think Mikoto is 14, but same difference. ^_^

      But yeah, the Railgun manga has been a very pleasant surprise for me. I enjoyed the anime (and with the Sisters arc, the anime had the luxury of telling both the Index and Railgun sides of the story), but I’ve found I’ve really enjoyed the manga to date.

      • WMC says:

        I thought Misaka was second year junior high, which would make her thirteen. But so much has happened since then it’s probably at least another year later. My discontinuity.

        The plot lines and jumps between continue to fascinate, even after five read-throughs. Whoever finalizes the story boards does great work.

        • Random_Passerby says:

          She is born on May, 2 – after the start of the school year but before the events of the Level Upper arc. As such, she is is already 14 at the start of the story.

          • WMC says:

            Thanks. You forced me to go read the whole thing. Again. :o)

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            *lol* You’re welcome. I usually reread an entire series when I get a new volume in the series. Fairy Tail is an exception because sometimes I have two or three new volumes to read.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Thanks for the info.

    • WMC says:

      In response to my entry of May 6, 2014 above, in ranking their backgrounds with only one star, I meant buildings, streets, vehicles and parks. They could do a LOT better. In contrast, the anonymous bystanders are excellent. They each have a small, but clear little story provided just by their postures! Such interesting but irrelevant background details always fascinate me. The first half of “Negima!” contained tons of these “details.” In “Railgun” they provide the reader with a visceral feel for reality — a great effect, that pulls the reader deeper in and makes his suspension of disbelief very easy.

  4. John says:

    The character who helps Satens, played a role in one of Toaru Light Novels ,and she also had meet Saten in another arc, when misaka and her friends go to the America.

    As for Misaki, i think this volume shows two important things: the first one is that not only her, but all level 5 have some sort of psychological problem, in Misaki´s case is the thrust issues, as for Misaka is the fact that she´s too thrustworthy and she can´t accept that a level 0 has defeated her a couple of times.

    The second and last one is about Misaka and Misaki relantionship, i think this arc shows that they are the completly the opposite of each other, like ying and yang, which helps the story arc in terms of drama and comedy.

    Finally about Kuroko, don´t forget that she will do everything to protect Misaka ideologies and smile, even if she dies. To me one of the highlights of Toaru universe, is her central role in vol 8 and her fight agains Awaki. I think that fight show eda lot of Kuroko haters the true resolve of her feelings for Misaka.

    Off topic but you know that because of the speculation about who she was before her appearence in the manga and about one mention in a novel, her personality and looks and her brief appearence in the anime, Misaki was the number one most popular character in 2013 in terms of fanart and doujiins. Another scary creation of Kamachi i must say.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      As for Misaki, i think this volume shows two important things: the first one is that not only her, but all level 5 have some sort of psychological problem, in Misaki´s case is the thrust issues, as for Misaka is the fact that she´s too thrustworthy and she can´t accept that a level 0 has defeated her a couple of times.

      That is a very interesting point that I had not considered. All of the Level 5 folks we’ve met to date do have some sort of psychological problem. Accelerator was just psychotic and Mugino seems somewhat disturbed during her fight with Mikoto.

      Off topic but you know that because of the speculation about who she was before her appearence in the manga and about one mention in a novel, her personality and looks and her brief appearence in the anime, Misaki was the number one most popular character in 2013 in terms of fanart and doujiins. Another scary creation of Kamachi i must say.

      I was unaware of that. I wonder what it is about her that makes her so appealing to folks.

      Thanks for writing. ^_^

      • John says:

        My pleasure, again off topic but are you thinking of doing some reviews from other manga, i would love to see your reviews about these two manga:

        A) Ao Haru Ride

        B) Akame ga kill

        Please think about it

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          You have just mentioned two manga titles I’m not aware of. I’ll have to look into them. Thanks for the recommendation. ^_^

      • Mathias Rosier says:

        Mugino seems somewhat disturbed during her fight with Mikoto.

        I just have to lol especially at the thought of her doing something in the Index series with this being pretty much nothing compared to that sh*t(I mean how she acted because holy sh*t was she crazy)

  5. WMC says:

    Except of course for her fantastic ability to control electromagnetic force, Misaka is normal — the only one of the 5’s that is. Obsession with Touma? Some, but after chasing him all night, trying to get him to fight so she can beat him, she sleeps it off the next morning. Normal. If you’re the best at something, being a 5 for example, having someone who can beat you at it is very irksome, which is normal. Loving kiddie toys and collectibles — normal. Being responsible, polite and trusting is also normal for a person with a good heart, as Misaka has, in spite of her encounters with the most realistic, nasty villains I’ve seen in manga. [The Id Monster in “Forbidden Planet” and Cobb in “Tales of Earthsea” are still my champion villains, but they’re in movies] If Misaka were a weirdo, she couldn’t make friends so easily, thus her join-up with level 4, Kongou Mitsuko, in Chap. 40 (Vol. 7) establishes her firmly in the normal tribe of 14-year-old girls. Her elderly female mentor with the grey hair bun (what’s her name?) protects her because she is normal, in Chap. 43 (Vol. 7). That Misaka can retain her open, trusting nature among friends, in the face of so much iniquity around her, is very attractive. As I have no doubt the authors intend.

    • John says:

      WMC, while i agree with you, don´t forget that she´s still delusyonal about the dark side of academy city and we almost see Misaka breaking down in the Sister arc.

      All level 5 have some sort of mental or personality problems, speccially the one who are involved with the dark side of academy city ( accelerator, Kakine and Mugino). We can also clearly see in this volume Misaki problems and she also made some good about Misaka problems.

      Is Misaka the most stable in terms of all the level 5? Sure she is, but one problem with Misaka is that while she´s always there to protect her friends, she can´t put others in face of her own burdens ( this happens in the sister arc and in toaru novel 8).

  6. WMC says:

    Delusional, John? You mean she knows about it but denies it’s existence? Don’t think so. She remembers the con job for her DNA, learns of the resulting clone project by zapping her way into a deserted room and hacking the info about it’s failure. Then she meets a sister and learns of the level 6 project. All very stressful. Instead of putting her head in the sand, she confronts Accelerator (whose ability to change ANY vector’s strength and direction [acceleration] is godlike and not my cup of tea), goes after the dark side’s labs and systematically blows most of them up. That’s a normal response. And entirely feasible because she’s the “Rail gun.”. Not delusional.

    Misaka defeats Mugino the Meltdowner and her crew of thugs, but Mugino utters the classic excuse of a sore loser, to the effect that she’ll let Misaka go for now “while she sinks to the dank, dirty bottom of Academy City’s darkness.”. Mugino’s jealous that Misaka does NOTembrace the darkness in spite of all her contacts with it. The traditional attraction of the dark side has always been ultimate power, fatal for otherwise powerless, wimpy losers. Like people who collect Darth Vader dolls. Misaka does not qualify as powerless. She will not join the bad boy’s gang. All normal behavior. Does Misaka have problems? Of course, but her responses to them qualify as heroic, not delusional.

    • WMC says:

      To continue my response to John: in your “but one problem with Misaka is that while she’s always there to protect her friends, she can’t put others in face of her own burdens” do you mean she is reluctant to ask for their help with her problems? If so, my answer is that she knows none of them are level 5’s and would therefore be hopelessly out gunned. They would be killed. Look what happened to the very powerful level 4 Mitsuko when Misaka asked for her help. Mitsuko didn’t die but she was seriously hurt, maybe with a permanently degraded mentality because of the nanodevice that was injected into her. Misaka’s secrecy is honorable, not delusional or psychotic. She does successfully enlist Kuroko, in a very clever way, in her fight with Kouzaku, the liquid metal manipulator in Chap. 54 when Kouzaku holds Uiharu and Misaka’s mother hostage.

      My only contact with this story is in “A Certain Scientific Railgun,” the recent manga. Did Misaka change character from novel to anime to manga?

      • John says:

        WMC, first of all i´m not delusional, you don´t agree with me, and that´s fine, but i think it´s unreasonable to call me that just because our opinions aren´t the same.

        About Misaka, you can clearly see in the Light Novels her ignoring or not beliving the dark side of academy city, after everything she went through in the sister arc and in other arcs. In fact in the most recent Light novel of Toaru, she was ordered to kill toma by the higher ups and she coudn´t believe that such an order was given. (if she knew some dark secrets about Academy city, she would probably had another crisis of ideologies and identity because everything she fought in terms of her own ideologies would be crushed.
        Even some of the most recent comedy of toaru show Misaka useing her powers in such a way that most of the readers desagread about such an act (and before you insulting me again ,the guys from animesuki and a/ are hating the character like never before and its not only because about the comedy, it´s also because of some choices she made that have some importance to the plot )

        About Misaka trust issues,because she went through the burden to herserlf she almost had a mental breakdown in the Sister´s arc, because of her not trusting in her friends, she almost got kuroko killed in vol 8 ( and even if you say kuroko made her own decision to fight awaki, if Misaka had trusted in kuroko about the recent events, it wouldn´t had Kuroko injured), in the world war III, she hijacked a plane to save touma, without telling kuroko and her friends, and many more…

  7. WMC says:

    I didn’t accuse you of being delusional, John. I never thought you were. Now maybe I should change my mind? If you’re not delusional, then English can’t be your first language.

    I was just answering your charge that Misaka is “delusyonal”. I probably should have put quotes around my first “Delusional,” but it never occurred to me that anyone would construe that paragraph as an accusation of your being delusional. It’s only a rebuttal.

    Are you reading the same text that I wrote? Are we looking at a bad computer translation of “delusional?”

    If English is your native tongue and you’re not delusional, then you are absurdly paranoid. Unnecessarily.

  8. WMC says:

    Volume 10 of “Railgun” just out and after three readings I think I get Shokuhou’s trick:

    [spoiler]by using the mental out “channel changer” on herself to switch the limiter-release code and the self-destruct code in her own thoughts, and then to forget the switch, she gets Gensei to self-destruct when he thinks he’s reading Shokuhou’s mind for the limiter-release code. After the switching and forgetting, she somehow knows she has to lose their fantastic battle to that snake for the trick to work. She has to fight him and lose in order to get him to invade her mind with his own mental out ability and steal what he thinks is the limiter-release code. If she hadn’t forgotten the switch, he would see that and the trick would fail. But it doesn’t fail. Gensei quotes the self-destruct code to himself. Blip. He’s gone. VERY cool maneuver.

    The drafting for Touma”s dragon-arm is so way good it’s hard to describe. — eight heads, all different and all VERY nasty — chomping and slashing the bad guy’s electromagnetic construct that had been forcibly elicited from Misaka. By whom? Gensei, of course.[/spoiler]

    The ending of this volume is guaranteed to give you a smile for all the girls’ fates. So far.

    • WMC says:


      [spoiler title="talk of Railgun volume 10"]Shokuhou gambles dangerously with the switch that she will lose, but during the ensuing battle she does not know the importance of losing because she had forced-forgotten the switch on herself to keep Gensei from guessing the switch when he reads her mind! This maneuver is dangerous because what if Gensei doesn’t fall for it? She thus fights Gensei with all the slick tricks she has, taking the unaware reader along with her, cheering her on to victory, not realizing that’s counterpoint to survival. Great paradox. How many readers knew ahead of time the first time through? I’ll bet not many. The authors strung out the panels and sequences long enough to confuse the most attentive of us. Luckily for us and Shokuhou she indeed loses and thereby wins.[/spoiler]

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        I wrapped the text in spoiler tags since I won’t get volume 10 until Friday. ^_^;

      • WMC says:

        Add “Railgun Vol. 10,” of April 26 above: The reason for this confrontation between Gensei and Shokouko is that Shokouko is the only person who has the limiter release code, which will allow Gensei to take over the world, or something. He has avoided killing her because that would make the l. r. c. forever lost. Very well plotted details in the text gradually come to light.

        I’m continually impressed by the authors’ plausible scientific vagaries and techno lore. They make a small change in a scientific law and take the consequences to outrageous limits. I like the girl who can change Archimedes’ Principle; that is she can change the bouyancy of herself or something she touches with relative density < 20. This means she can plausibly fly in the air or walk on water! Or as in the story make a person being carried by a slight girl very light. Pretty neat.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          It is certainly a very good story. ^_^ It is just a shame the manga is a monthy publication in Japan. I think it went on hiatus for a bit. There was certainly a delay in Japan, which delayed the US release, of course.

          • WMC says:

            I don’t mind delays if it means continued great work. Sometimes one’s inspiration lags and a total time out is necessary.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            That’s true. I’m not sure what the case was here. Ditto another favorite series of mine, Yotsuba&!

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I wrapped your remarks in spoiler text since I don’t have volume 10 yet. Hopefully, it comes in on Friday. 🙂

      • WMC says:

        Fine with me. I’m not gonna say, “No problem,” because that would imply that there was going to be a problem! There would never be a problem with your blog. You’ll love this volume of “Railgun.” The usual great plot workings, very plausible psy-action, characters developing and lots of loose ends gathered.

        I now have no personal internet — destroyed my Android [WAY too intrusive to the point of invasive not to say expensive], and my Dell PC just crapped out its internet reader. This text is from the county library! Works great.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          You’ll love this volume of “Railgun.

          I have it. Now I have to read it.

          I now have no personal internet — destroyed my Android [WAY too intrusive to the point of invasive not to say expensive], and my Dell PC just crapped out its internet reader. This text is from the county library! Works great.

          Well, I need my smart phone (Galaxy S5) for work, so no giving that up for me. 😉

          • WMC says:

            Yeah, but I bet you’ve hacked it so you can actually use it. Among other transgressions, my server constantly downloaded a ton of data to me that I had NO access to nor had acquiesced to. By their accounting my data transfer was always at least 2 times and sometimes 3 times what my cellphone itself said it was! And mysterious, inaccessible “updates” invaded my machine routinely. I do NOT trust those people.

          • AstroNerdBoy says:

            Yeah, but I bet you’ve hacked it so you can actually use it.

            I haven’t hacked anything, but so far, no problems.

            As to data transfers, yeah, that can be a problem. I’m with Sprint, so I have an unlimited data plan, which is REALLY nice. The only reason they have it is because they jacked things up so much a few years ago, they felt the need to keep an unlimited data plan to keep customers.

      • WMC says:

        I recently picked up the manga “Your Lie in April” because the graphics were very good. Turns out the Nibleys are the translators, so the dialogue’s very transparent for us Americans. And perfectly consistent with the art. Good story about the usual nerdy boy and two girls, a Japanese one and a “half” one, and the theme of international concert level music performers engaged this reader instantly. The lore of that life comes to life. The protagonist, who had been the best concert pianist of his age at 8 yrs old, can’t hear the music when he plays now, at age 14, and hasn’t played seriously for two years. The half-girl, whom he meets fortuitously, plays a very individual, and glorious concert level violin, and by the way, is gorgeous. She has mysterious problems as well, for we see her crying at inappropriate times. This girl grabs the boy to be her accompanist because her usual one had had enough of her out-of-line playing. He is living a monochromatic, static life while she sparkles and shines brilliantly. The story will proceed from this excellent starting point.

        The endnotes are much better than normal — good explanations, by apparently world-class musicians, of music and music pieces, like Beethoven’s 9th Violin Sonata, in which the violin and piano parts are equal.

        Kodansha, but strongly recommended nonetheless.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Thanks for the tip. ^_^

          • WMC says:

            Add “Your Lie in April” Kaori, the beautiful violinist, invokes a demonic spell just before putting bow to strings in her performance, which the audience loves. Also, the black cat which follows the pianist Kosei for a whole chapter represents his bleak life at the start of the story. Traditionally, black cats portend nothing good, unless you’re reading “Railgun.” Kaori exhibits an almost schizoid behavior when she first meets Kosei, alternating between angry attack and normal cute modes. [Is this a universal trope in Japanese manga?] Do I detect a dark, devilish back story for Kaori? Has she sold her soul to be able to play so gloriously? Is she bait for Kosei, the frozen pianist? Finally, she suddenly cries copious, desperate tears, and Kosei agrees to be her accompanist.

            Could be an interesting plot line, but . . .

  9. WMC says:

    Add “Your Lie in April:” On what I think is page 66 in Vol. 2 there appears another landmark manga panel. Kaori looks at the reader, who is inhabiting Kosei at the moment, and says, “Again.” The occasion is the their aborted performance for her second round in the violin competition with Kosei as her accompanist. In the middle he thinks he sees his dead mother in the audience and stops playing because his neurotic malady has overcome him. He can no longer hear the piano notes that he’s playing! Kaori plays a little by herself, then stops also, in sympathy with Kosei. She turns a little to her left, towards the reader, who is actually Kosei, and says, “Again.” The graphics in this full-page panel are simple but excellent. This beautiful, sweaty girl has stopped her extremely taxing effort to play the violin and patiently exhorts Kosei to start again. Great stuff! Their subsequent disjointed but very spirited performance thrills the audience. That panel reminds me of Asuna’s iconic panel in “Negima!” in which she’s standing on a slanted roof watching fireworks and turns to the audience and winks.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thanks for the info. 🙂

      • WMC says:

        I eagerly await the next installment of “Your Lie.” It’s nonlinear and lots of fun, especially in print form. How will the four kids pair up? Will Kosei be able to transcend his malady? Will Kaori survive, and “why hasn’t anybody heard of this girl?” Which of two possible pairings will evolve?

        Now, in response to the wired generation, my answer: So far, IT has been disappointing to me. It’s way too linear, camouflaged by way too much man made static, making it harder than necessary to find things in spite of the gargantuan info-files available, and way too passive for my taste, It’s so full of programming detours and misguided and unnecessary mistakes that it’s doomed in its present form. See the canonical slug in front of his PC, his mind “crawling like a toad,” and slowly descending into intellectual coma. Our minds’ ability to process in a massively parallel manner, ignore 99.999% of the information that it deems irrelevant, and think unconsciously but productively hasn’t been approached by the computer world yet. Not even close, They’re working on parallel processing, but they’ve got a LONG way to go.

        In contrast, my manga library glows in the dark, inviting me actively to contribute to the story whenever I read a selection, which has beckoned me from across the room. Several sensory inputs always make reading on-paper print much more fun.

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