Foreign Friday: Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning

“The melody of logic always plays the notes of truth.” – Spiral

This week’s Foreign Friday is the manga series Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning by Kyo Shirodaira.

The Story

World-class detective Kiyotaka Narumi’s last words prior to his sudden disappearance continue to haunt his younger brother, Ayumu. The cheeky 10th grader becomes equally embroiled in the mystery of the doomed “Blade Children” when he is mistaken for the prime suspect in a murder at his school. Led by Ayumu’s sister-in-law, Kiyotaka’s wife and fellow detective Madoka, the investigation into the murder gives Ayumu a chance to clear his name. But in doing so, he not only uncovers ties to the Blade Children but also more questions than answers about who and what they are…

The Characters

Ayumu may occasionally be cheeky, but he is not playful. A genius of logic and a secret pianist, he possesses little self confidence in either due to the overshadowing of his older brother’s fantastic accomplishments in both. This lack leaves him with an apathetic demeanor and an often cynical outlook, but surprisingly remains endearing. His constant and un-asked for companion Hiyono Yuizaki is bright, cheerful, incredibly nosey, and hides a secret of her own.

What I Thought

….Hmm. It’s a good intellectual, mystery type story, but to be honest, I think it would have been better as a novel rather than a manga. The beginning of the series is a quick paced who-done-it style, but after a few volumes the plot makes a sharp turn and begins to twist into, well, a spiral. The plot gets more interesting, but the story pacing is forced to slow due to the need of a lot of dialogue and explanation. There is a lot of interesting ideas and curious developments, but some of it feels pretty forced. In the end, I’d say it was so-so. Also, the ending is on the bittersweet side (I say this not to give anything away, but to warn those empathic readers such as myself, so they can be prepared.) All 15 volumes are available in English, and if you like mind-twisters and Sherlock Holmes-style characters, then it’s worth reading.

Don’t get me started on the anime. The rundown is that it loosely follows the manga until about halfway (right before you get some actual explanations). The anime is interesting and enjoyable, but the two main questions throughout the series: “who are the Blade Children” and “where is Kiyotaka Narumi” is never answered. Trust me, I sat dumbfounded after the last episode when I realized it was over and I still had no idea what was actually going on. Some of the action and plot twists were better done in the anime, but if you actually want some answers, read the series.

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