Thu, 17 July 2008
Manga Review of Psycho Busters Volume 2. Story by Yuya Aoki, creator of Getbackers. Manga by Akinari Nao. Translated and adapted by Stephen Paul. Originally published by Kodansha in Japan. Published by Del Rey in US, $10.95, Rated Older Teen 16+.
Kakeru and his new psychic friends are holed up at his house after being attacked by two Category Ones last volume. They won't be disturbed since Kakeru's mom and sisters are on vacation in Hawaii and his dad has been out of the country on business for 3 years. He doesn't exactly have the most tight-knit family. If you remember, there was a ticket mix-up in volume 1 and they were short by one ticket. Instead of cancelling the trip, they dumped Kakeru and went without him! Pretty ghetto if you ask me. We learn a bit more about the "Greenhouse" facility that Ayano, Xiao Long, Kaito, and Joi escaped from. Psychics are taken there by hook or crook and experimented on or made to serve the ends of its directors, the Frontier Committee. Some of the psychics were driven insane or even killed due to the methods the Greenhouse used. Ayano, the faculty member of Kakeru's school is still along for the ride as well, and is beginning to show that she is more than just a simple teacher. While the kids try to get some downtime at the school pool, the Greenhouse sends out one of their most powerful Category Ones, Takemaru, who has a serious inferiority complex, which causes to kill a lot of people with his powers and suffer from delusions of godhood.
I'm beginning to really like this series. Mainly because of the changes that are occuring with Kakeru. In Volume 1, he was a computer game geek who looked forward to masturbating to his dad's high school girl porn. Slowly, he has evolved into a hero willing to sacrifice his life for his new friends. This is due mainly to his growing affection for Ayano, to whom he was attracted at first sight when she appeared in all her naked astral form last volume. As he gets to know her, his initial attraction is developing into love, even if he doesn't know it himself. Kakeru wants to protect Ayano even though he is not really aware of what his psychic power is or how to activate it. It's always nice to see a cliched horndog manga character go beyond themselves and think about something other than sex. The art by Akinari Nao, while not great, is pretty good, and is an odd mix of bishonen and bishojo art styles that will appeal to both genders of manga readers. The story too, is a mix between superpowered battles combined with almost slice of life storytelling showing how all the kids are cohabitating. That's probably another reason Psychic Busters is growing on me. It takes some well known manga conventions and puts them together in an interesting mix.
My Grade: A
Check out Podcast Episode 100 for a review of Volume 1