Fire Investigator Nanase Vol 2 by Hashimoto & Ichikawa Manga Review

 

Title: Fire Investigator Nanase Vol 2

Story by: Izo Hashimoto

Art by: Tomoshige Ichikawa

Publisher: CMX

ISBN: 9781401220440

May Contain Spoilers

Things are a little crazy with the holidays looming so closely, so please bear with me as I try to muddle through these last few days of craziness before I finally get a break.  Things will be a little slow here for the next couple of days, but then I should be back on track.  Now, on to the review:

Nanase Takamine lives a very exciting life.  It’s a little too exciting, if you ask me.  She’s a novice at her job, but she is working hard to learn all the secrets that lurk in the searing flames of a raging fire.  She’s receiving a lot of guidance from “Firebug,” an arsonist with a track record for causing destruction and death.  With friends like him, she certainly doesn’t need any enemies, because now her colleagues look at her with suspicion and distrust.  She did allow the notorious arsonist to escape capture, and now everyone has some doubts about her loyalties. Can Nanase solve the mystery of Fire Chief Tsuruga’s death, and prove that she’s a team player?

Sometimes I feel sorry for Nanase for all of the grief her co-workers give her.  She is so dedicated to finding out the cause of every fire that her gung-ho attitude has alienated some of the people she needs help from the most.  Instead, she has that creepy arsonist whispering hints to her, then trapping her in deadly situations where she needs to use her noggin or get turned into a charcoal briquette.  It is a good thing she can think on her feet!  I’d have been barbequed back in the first volume, so I have a lot of respect for the over-achieving Nanase.

Fire Investigator Nanase has some decent who-dun-its, and even if I figure out who caused the latest inferno, it’s fun to follow along with Nanase as she sniffs out clues and recreates the blazes.  She really sticks her neck out, which leads to plenty of suspense; while you know that she’s not going to meet a fiery end, you still get caught up in the story arcs and wonder how she’s going to get herself out whatever trouble she lands herself in.  She’s got the arsonists to worry about, but an even more ominous character to look out for is “Firebug.”  What is this guy’s deal?  He loves setting things on fire, especially if those things happen to be alive, and he seems to have a soft spot for Nanase.  But is he just setting her up for a painful fall?  Their unconventional relationship keeps me engaged in the story, and I can’t help but wonder when he is going to turn on her.

This series isn’t getting nearly enough attention, and I can’t figure out why.  It’s got pulse-pounding excitement, mystery, and even some gruesome corpses.  You’d think that would give some people a little incentive to at least pick it up and give it a quick run through.  The art even manages to give the illusion of searing heat and out of control flames.  Fire Investigator Nanase will appeal to fans of thrillers and psychological suspense, so if you like those, give it a try.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Grade: B

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