Monday, November 17, 2008

Manga Monday: Astral Project

Astral Project (Volume 1)
marginal & Shuji Takeya
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Astral Project in a new manga from CMX, written by the author of Old Boy (as marginal is an alias for Garon Tsuchiya). The book is about Masahiko, whose sister has just died. He doesn't get along with his family, but takes a keepsake from his sister's room - an unlabeled CD that was in her player that must have been the last thing she listened to before she passed away mysteriously. On the CD is some jazz music that sends Masahiko outside of his physical body. He finds he can fly across the skies and move objects, unseen by others in his astral form, and can repeat the experience whenever he listens to his sister's CD. But this ability also raises plenty of questions, about his sister's death, about where the CD came from, and it only gets more complicated when he realizes that he's not the only one with the ability to leave his body.
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I was really impressed with this manga. It's a great story, has a cool protagonist with a real past and a dark attitude, and contains some really intriguing mysteries. The art's a little "moody," I guess is how I would describe it, and it really fits the tone of the book overall, kind of creepy with a lot of exploration yet to be done in this world that's being built of shadow-lives and creatures floating in the night sky. And there's something really kind of freaky about the jazz music from the CD and where it comes from, especially as the mystery surrounding it gets a little more in-depth. But even looking passed the mysteries of Masahiko's sister's death and his new-found abilities, there's a lot of stuff going on with Masahiko himself and the people he interacts with. This is a great debut volume.

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