Title: Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun Vol 1
Author: Shin Mashiba
May Contain Spoilers
Hiruko is a baku, and when he’s not hanging out at the Silver Star Tea House, he’s helping people find relief from their nightmares. In exchange for rescuing them from their torment, he only wants to eat their dreams. Sounds like a fair price to pay. But is it, really? Are dreams really that cheap?
While I found the illustrations in Nightmare Inspector very appealing, I thought the stand alone chapters were a bit mediocre. Hiruko is indifferent to his clients’ plights. He only cares about eating people’s dreams, and since they are more tasty when tinged with tragedy, he doesn’t exactly go out of his way to ensure that everyone has the best outcome possible. In “Writing,” he even makes things worse, at the request of the troubled would-be murderess who has hired him. Talk about not thinking things through!
Each of the chapters end with a good old dash of irony, and that’s what really kept me reading. The chapters are fairly short, and there’s little character development. There’s no background on Hiruko, and without knowing what makes him tick, all the rest of the action is a little boring. It seems like he’s just going through the motions of investigating the dreams, without any real interest in the task at hand. All he wants is his pay off, the client’s dream. Hopefully future volumes will address this shortcoming.
The art is lovely, with deft, exquisite lines creating a visually engaging world. The backgrounds are lavish and contain more detail than the chapter plots, as Western influences mesh with traditional architectural styles. Set at the end of the Taisho Era (1912-1926), the characters are dressed in both Western and Japanese clothing, making for a fascinating blend of fashion. I loved the flowing kimonos, with their billowing folds and textured patterns. The page layouts also managed to grab my attention, and I will pick up the next volume mainly for the artwork, as the rapid-fire chapters didn’t really win me over.
Rated for Teen
Review copy provided by VIZ