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Amnesia Labyrinth Vol. 2
Russell Phillips
Author: Russell Phillips

Russell has been a semi-regular reviewer for UK-Anime since 2005 [mainly specialising in non mainstream manga titles].

Amnesia Labyrinth Vol. 2

Distributor
Seven Seas Entertainment
Author/Artist
Nagaru Tanigawa / Natsumi Kohane
Price
£8.50

After reading the first volume of Amnesia Labyrinth a while back (and despite being less than impressed with the result regardless of it being written by Haruhi Suzumiya author Nagaru Tanigawa) I did promise myself to give it another chance – as Robert Frazer noted in his own review of the first volume, maybe Nagaru needed another volume to pull the disparate plot lines together.

Yet, despite my own reservations about it, I will grudgingly admit that at first this seemed like something that he had managed to achieve. This volume does a good job of both revealing answers posed by the previous volume and also posing more questions:

  • We now discover that in fact Souji Kushiki does indeed have a twin brother, and one with a definite Hyde persona to Souj's Jekyll! But what does this revelation portend for the future? 
  • Could the twins announcement that the otherwise innocent looking youngest sister Harumi may also be a suspect the truth, or is this just one of his head games with Souji?
  • Just how far will adopted sister Saki be prepared to go to protect Souji, and do her feelings go beyond merely being his “mistress”?
  • And as Souji's classmate Sasai's investigations (spurred on by the death of another student with links to her) bring her ever closer to the Kushiki family, is she at risk of becoming the next victim herself?

All of these things, along with the continuing well-detailed artistic quality of Natsume Kohane's artwork in both with the background and characters, made me think that this might be a good sign for the series......

Right up to the point that Nagaru, like some kind of deranged chef, suddenly throws magical powers into the pot.

Yes, you read that right - without giving too much else away Nagaru incorperates magical powers into an already convoluted series - so sudden was it in fact I had to check that Seven Seas hadn’t bundled an instalment of Naruto into the volume by mistake! To make matters worse, apart from the first chapter and a two part flashback, this very same plot line never appears in the main storyline, nor does it seem to affect the story in any noticeable way – in fact it could have been removed and no-one would be the wiser.

Why do this Nagaru Tanigawa? Seriously... why, after you went to so much trouble to finally develop this story into something that was starting to make some sense, did you suddenly thrown THIS into the mix? It seemed to be totally out of place with the theme of the story and indeed only serves to make the story all the more confusing and convoluted.

And yet, even after all this I still want to see what he does with the next volume and find out if this new plot twist will make any sense or if, as I'm dreading, this series will just continue floundering around like a ship without a rudder, never really sure where its heading.

5
Somewhere there's a good manga series here – but by the gods is the author making you work to find it!
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