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Anne Freaks Volume 1 (Anne Freaks) by Yua…

Anne Freaks Volume 1 (Anne Freaks)

by Yua Kotegawa

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Yuri, a rather soft and meek high schooler, has killed his mother. Mitsuba's family has been murdered, and he's is willing to kill to avenge them. Both are approached by the cool and mysterious Anna, a girl each remembers from perhaps dream or memory. Anna offers them a chance to run away and become her partners in her mission to kill her father and bring down a terrorist organization, killing any who stand in her way.

This manga was an interesting read, but I don't think I'll be following it up with the next volume. The setup is intriguing, and as more bits and pieces of the characters' past connections with one another and the organization are revealed, the more room it opens up for the possibility they have been, or are being, mislead. Anna is ostensibly looking out for the other main characters, yet her unfeeling to almost playful ability to kill does not instill confidence (at least for the reader). In addition to the mystery of the plot and the action (though I'd really more call it just "violence" than "action"), the manga also attempts to follow the psychological development of the boys, newly murderers, as they now must reconsider who they are, where they belong, and whether they can still be good people after what they have done.

Unfortunately the manga's execution of the psychological side of things is a little lacking. Though the characters sometimes have conversations that are clearly supposed to give us a better look into their psychological state, the dialogue in them isn't particularly revealing, and all such scenes seem to start and end too quickly, making room for the next advance in the plot but not leaving enough time to really flesh out what it was getting at. The characters have internal monologues telling us about the conflicting thoughts swirling in their heads, but their actual behavior on the page usually seems like normal cheerful high school students, sometimes making them appear (probably unintentionally) rather shallow when considering their situation. Their lack of fear or misgivings concerning the thoughtlessly violent and possibly psychopathic Anna is also unconvincing, to the point of seeming like a sort of emotional/psychological plot-hole.

I was left mostly only wondering about the mysteries of the plot, which is rarely enough to make me keep reading something. I was open to the idea the mangaka might slow down and do a better job with the characters in future volumes, but a quick glance at the comments of others on future volumes don't lead me to be hopeful, and in fact seem to hint at an unsatisfying ending for the series, anyway. Still, the plot is interesting, and while the manga may not have been able to deliver the (perhaps too lofty for the mangaka's skills) psychological exploration it set itself up for, the characters were sympathetic. It's not what it could be, but still perhaps better than average, and not a bad option for someone looking for some mystery and violent action. ( )
  narwhaltortellini | Nov 21, 2010 |
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A trio of mysterious and troubled youth work together to bring down a terrorist organization.

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