Story: Ryohgo Narita
Art: Yōichi Amano
Distributor: VIZ Media
Number Volumes: ?
Price Point: Only in Weekly Shonen Jump right now
I read this in last weeks episode of Shonen Jump. I wasn't too sure about it as it had a floating mask things. WTF does a floating smiling rabbit mask have to do with this manga? I also wasn't too sure about it as they had a large explanation for the title as well. Here is the screen grab of what they said. No sense in repeating the explanation since they did it so well. It wasn't something that peaked my interest, but it was a free chapter, so what the hell.
The story is by Ryohgo Narita (Durarara!!) and the artwork is from Yōichi Amano. I liked the art style right off the bat and now reviewing to see what Yōichi has also done. I wasn't so sure about the story however due to the review of why it was called Stealth Symphony. Sometimes you need to look past the cover and read the story to get an understanding. I also wanted to read the second installment from Weekly Shonen Jump before making my review.
Borrowed Synopsis from ANN:
Jig is a young boy who has an unfortunate curse. He embarks on a journey to the town of Jinbo-cho seeking someone who can help him remove the curse. Little does he know he's starting the adventure of a lifetime!
I have to admit that I did like the first chapter of this manga and the second one sealed the deal. It seems to be your normal, young kid on hard times on a search story. The more we look into his past, we find a boy that has been used. With reading the second chapter, you find it will be one of self discovery as well. Sounds to me like we have the great start of an amazing journey.
What caught me was something that everyone knows, but ignores. It seems that difference in appearance cause indifference from those around you. The main issue surrounds Jig's attachment on his back as it is huge. However it is a pretty impressive as a defensive weapon once activated (on its own). No matter what is thrown at him or if his life is in danger, the thing on his back dishes it back out to the source x2. Not always the right thing he wants however. It gives you a hard look at that issue and the difficulties / isolation of having to deal with it all.
What surprised me though was that I could see my son as Jig. He has been going through a lot this year at school and this resonates similar pains. Like Jig, my son is always moving forward with his issues. Jig also doesn't want people hurt while he has this on his back. Another thing that my son is about as he wants to help others even at the cost of himself sometimes. So how can Jig do that when the very thing that is suppose to help him is hurting others?
After a near disaster in the city, he gets some advice and goes to V & V Total Security Protection for a body guard. In what you would think to protect himself in this new city, he actually wants them to protect the people around him from the thing on his back. This is where that freaky floating mask comes in. This is actually Troma who will be Jig's body guard. In what is a cool twist, we find that Troma is actually an Invisible Dragon - which is another thing my son loves. DRAGONS RULE!!!
Some back history ~ we find that Jinbo-cho was built on the ruins where Dragons used lived. In this city, people look for heirlooms that were left over from the Dragons. These can be simple items of great power that people can use and/or sell to become rich. The item that the 'doctor' put on Jig's back to 'save' him turns out to actually be one of these. It seems his doctor hired and assassin to kill him and take the item off his back once he got to the city. Not the best idea since anything thrown at him is shot back. After a failed attempt on Jig, we discover that there is an Assassins Guild which is at odds with the Protection agency (rivals?). There is more to the story, but I don't want to give away too much here. I will say that once this comes out in a full volume, I will be buying this for myself and my son to read.
Also, if you ever visit Jinbo-cho, make sure you lock your wallet in your underpants. Their pick pockets are exceptionally good at their jobs ;^)
Here are some of the inserts from the English version for your viewing pleasure:
Let me know your thoughts on this series and if you think if VIZ has another hit on their hands?