Amnesia Labyrinth vol 1

When i first heard that Nagaru Tanigawa [of Haruhi Suzumiya fame] was releasing a new series i jumped at the chance to read the first volume to see what he had to offer….

What he had to offer though wasn’t quite what i was expecting.

First released in japan by Media works in 2009, and licensed by Seven seas, this first volume of an intended ongoing series, introduces us to Souji Kushiki, son of a rich family, whose forced to return home upon the mysterious disappearance of his brother Kazushi, only to find a household changed – for one thing his younger sister Youko, and his two stepsisters Harumi and Saki are not only
keeping secrets from Souji, but they also seem to act…..differently to him, and in ways that sisters shouldn’t normally act to their brother.

Add to that the fact that at his new school he’s suddenly tangled up with school council member and “intelligence committee”[read: propaganda] member Sasai Yukako, whose quest to discover the secret around the suspicious murders of three fellow school members may lead directly back to his own family – And may in turn put Sasai herself at risk of becoming the next victim!

“Murderers, in general, are people who are consistent, people who are obsessed with one idea and nothing else” Ugo Betti

One thing that drew me was the fact that Seven seas are all but shouting from the rooftops that this series is from the creator of Haruhi Suzumiya – from the belly cover, to the back cover it seems to try everything short of having a man with a megaphone attached to it announcing the fact!

The artwork for this volume comes in two clear standards – the main characters always seem well proportioned and detailed, while the backgrounds appear sketch like and less developed – although this does help to make sure we keep focused on the characters it wouldn’t have hurt to have left more art pieces now and again.

“Passion is a positive obsession. Obsession is a negative passion.” Paul Carvel

Finally The volume is then finished off with a preview of seven seas upcoming release of Gunslinger girls omnibus edition, which I hope to soon be reviewing.

All in all, while having hints of an interesting plot, it seemed at times that there were in fact two different novels – one a high school murder mystery, and the other a mystery with a harem [although I at times got hints of lunar legend Tuskihime, minus the magical schtick], that had accidentally been mixed together – in fact I felt that if Nagaru had stuck with one or the other plot, it would have made for a more intense story. But still, there was something niggling me about this story……

And then I saw his authors notes which reads, and I quote –

“Although an overall plot does exist for the story, when everything was said and done, i sort of ran out of things to write, and therefore i admit there are a number of lazy, phantom passages scattered throughout. This work was based on a story that, while it didn’t have enough to become a full-fledged novel, had been kicking around my head for years now”

Anyone else hearing alarm bells right about now?

Okay,okay – now maybe I’m being too negative – it’s still the first volume, and maybe, like many authors, Nagaru just needs time to develop more of the plotlines and characters [fans of Higurashi with no doubt agrees with me on this] and so we just need to wait.

The problem is though, is it going to be worth the wait?

“All persons are puzzles until at last we find in some word or act the key to the man, to the woman; straightway all their past words and actions lie in light before us” Ralph Waldo Emerson


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