Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun Vol 1 by Shin Mashiba Manga Review

Title:  Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun Vol 1

Author:  Shin Mashiba

Publisher:  Viz

ISBN:  9781421517582

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.

Grade:  C+

Rated for Teen

Review copy provided by VIZ

10 thoughts on “Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun Vol 1 by Shin Mashiba Manga Review

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  • April 14, 2008 at 9:15 pm
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    I agree with what you say. There IS little character developement. And the chapters are quite predictible. But I admit, I still love the book, and can’t wait for more to be released. I hope the developement picks up in the next volume, and I hope that the series doesn’t get discontinued.

  • August 24, 2008 at 10:47 pm
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    I very much agree with the reviewer! After reading the first 3 books, it seems that nightmares have humongous impacts on the characters acts and lives! This made me to believe that the author/authoress is trying to make nightmares a fairly important factor of imagination for this unique manga. The manga also made me wonder on which side it is that the Nightmare Inspector lies on, shojo or shonen?BTW, yes, it irks me very much that the author/authoress does not give more information on the characters backgrounds… but all in due time just like the beginning of D. Gray-man! XD

  • August 24, 2008 at 10:51 pm
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    Sorry for this second review but i just remembered that I’m making a Wikipedia page on this manga, a.k.a. the Nightmare Inspector… so please help and contribute!!!! >.< yes, I’ll still be using this same username… ;D

  • September 23, 2008 at 1:26 pm
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    I hope people keep up with this. I know it’s been a common complaint that there’s a lack in character development, but please keep reading! ^_^ Since I own the entire series in Japanese, I know that character development occurs between the 4th and 5th volumes and then that becomes the focus.I enjoyed the review. It’s very true that the series cosnsits mostly of the short chapters which can get a little repeatative, however, I espeially liked that you pointed out the qualit of the art. :3 Thanks for providing a positive review. @LadyKandaYu, I own a website dedicated to Shin Mashiba’s works. You may find some information that will help you with that Wiki page.

  • September 28, 2008 at 12:44 am
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    I love Nightmare Inspector. I think part of the character devolpment is just a matter of patience. It’s a very interesting manga, and a nice change of pace from the usual stuff.
     

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  • December 21, 2008 at 6:13 pm
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    There is character development in the story, you just have to be patient. The artwork is absolutely amazing and its historical setting also makes it a great book. The short chapters are kinda interesting and different from other stories out there. Many says its similar to xxxHolic? Well I dont think they are the same since this book grabbed me attention while the other one put me to sleep (feel free to disagree). Overall, its a good series and I cant wait for the next volume :D

  • August 2, 2009 at 11:44 am
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    personally i think the short stories make the manga a nice easy read and a nice relief from all those ridiculously long series that hav virtually no conclusions!!! also each story offers something to think about. Hiruko’s interest in making dreams more tasty is a interesting quirk to me =]] like everyone else says character developement comes later ;) i doubt anyone can disagree about the art being fantastic!

  • August 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm
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    I have read all the books, I own them all and the manga is actually very good. There are 9 volumes and you eventually see that Hiruko develops or already has a small tingue of compassion for most of his costomers when he’s compared to “the rival Baku”. I suggest you keep reading.

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