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23 home / october 2002 / reviews Turn Page BackwardBack to HomeTurn Page Forward

Silent Mobius Vol.8
Left-Right Manga
192 pages
Asamiya Kia
VIZ Communications
It's easy to understand why this action/science fiction/supernatural manga has been a long-revered fan favorite over the years. With sharp illustrations, complex characters, and a tightly woven plot, this story should appeal to both Japanese and Western fans equally.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Silent Mobius Vol.8
By Patrick King

I first heard about Silent Möbius back when the Sci-Fi Channel began to show anime on Saturdays. Inspired by their Saturday Anime block, I rented some anime with a few friends and saw a trailer for the dubbed movie. I didn't buy anime at the time (because even then I preferred subtitles to dubs, and subbed VHS cassettes were way too expensive for a high school student) so it dropped off my radar for nearly a decade.

Then on one particularly lucrative (for the company) "Employee Night" at Borders (I'm an employee of theirs), I noticed they had the entire Silent Möbius manga collection in stock. I grabbed them (along with all of Maison Ikkoku and about 14 other titles) and one credit card swipe later, they were mine. Now I have to say I'm hooked on the series. If you don't believe me, then notice the DVD review I wrote for the anime version of Asamiya's flagship manga. Lately, I've been assaulted by Silent Möbius from every venue. That's enough of the background, though - on to the review!

I really dig the plot for this series. The first few volumes focus on each of the characters of the collection. Like Bubblegum Crisis, Silent Möbius is set in Tokyo and features a team of all-female heroines. Each woman is a member of the elite A.M.P. department, a subset of the normal police devoted to containing the supernatural attacks of "Lucifer Hawks." These entities are invaders from an alternate dimension trying to worm their way into our reality so that they may claim it as their own. Why can't beings from alternate realities just stay in their own damn universe? Rhetorical questions aside, tensions are high in this volume of Silent Möbius. Katsumi Liqueur is still missing from the events of the last issue, and the A.M.P. is in danger of being disbanded. This volume seems to be a pivotal turning point in the series, upsetting the previous order of things and tossing an extra dash of crazy into the mix. Plot twists are always welcome, in my humble opinion.

I'm not sure if I like the character designs for Silent Möbius or not. The artwork is reliably good-looking, but something about the characters' faces throws me off a bit. Perhaps they're too long? Essentially, sometimes the characters are attractive, sometimes they're not. The story is strong enough to allow me to easily overlook such surface traits, but this is a review, and so they should be addressed here. The cover is appealing, and the book is a good size, if a little expensive. As usual, I wish this could be presented unflipped, but it seems like most publishers are rather hardheaded about such things.

Another technical complaint I'd like to voice is the long spans of time between the publication of successive volumes. Volume 7 was first published in January of this year and this book was just published in August. Perhaps I've been spoiled by TOKYOPOP's incredibly aggressive release schedule, but it's nice to be able to have a series all at once rather than wait seven months for the next installment. Then again, it means that there are no noticeable spelling or grammatical errors, a trait somewhat common to the lightning-quick printings in TOKYOPOP's library. I suppose everything balances out, in the end.

This is a great, creepy series that should have no trouble entering the North American mainstream comic book market. It displays a nice mix of strong female characters with interesting technology and magic simultaneously, scoring points for touching upon so many genres at once. It contains some violence and a slight amount of casual nudity (maybe three pictures in this volume), but more mature readers should be able to handle this series with ease. So long as you don't steer clear of the mainstream, this is a fun series to get into and should become increasingly easier to find as more volumes are released. Let's just hope the next volume is released before another seven months go by.

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