MAOH Juvenile Remix, Vol. 1 by Megumi Osuga (Canada) - (USA)
Pages: 200 pages
Finished: May 31, 2010
First Published: May 11, 2010
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: manga, urban fantasy
He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster himself.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.
Reason for Reading: I was drawn to the urban fantasy angle of the plot.
Ando, a high school student, has the ability to make others say what he is thinking. He used this power as a child, but stopped when he told about it and was ridiculed. Now he is discovering he still has the power and putting it to good use. At the same time a group of vigilantes called the "Grasshoppers" has become very popular as they protect citizens from crime and the greedy businessmen who want to turn the area into a big city metropolis of shopping malls. They have a very charismatic leader who seems to hold a spell over all who meet with him, but Ando has seen him at his worst and starts to follow him to find out what he's really up to and how his group's numbers are increasing so fast. The man may seem angelic to all who follow him but Ando wonders if he might actually be a devil with ulterior motives.
I found this story very intriguing. Ando and his brother are orphans so they are able to come and go as they please. All the art is very detailed with none of the usual manga gimmicks except in the character of the Grasshopper leader who is the stylized man who looks like a woman. This makes his character stand out right away and adds to his charisma. There are also a few s*xually suggestive representations of females which are obviously meant to appeal to the male readers. As Ando tries to help a school mate who is always picked on by bullies he finds the Grasshoppers have got to him at some point too, altering his character, making Ando very leery of this group and the leader in particular. There is quite a bit of violence but not excessive. Then there are some downright creepy scenes which just added to keeping me glued to this story. The ending is quite intense leaving one very anxious for the next volume. A shadowy glimpse is given on the next page with some intriguing phrases and just barely visible illustrations which then placates us with the words "Coming Soon". But a quick search gives me Aug. 10 as the release date for Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 will be out before the year is over. I will certainly be continuing on with this series!