First of all, my apologies for bailing last week. I had a really busy weekend. I was a featured cosplayer in the Texas State Fair Parade for a local radio station on Friday, and Saturday I was again a featured cosplayer at a local comic book shop for Batman Day. Both events pretty much took all day, and Sunday I was exhausted. I’d like to say I’m making up for it with a double feature or something, but I was busy all week, too. But you’re not here to hear about my personal life, so on to the review! A new series from Viz Media, from the creator of Dengeki Daisy. Although, while I have you here: Have you read Gotham Academy from DC Comics? It’s wonderful and deserves more support before some asshole decides to cancel it.
Fumi Nishioka has recently been abandoned by her guardians, right before transferring to a new school. Broke and homeless, Fumi wanders into an old building on campus, where she finds a clean, comfortable room to sleep in for the night. In the morning she’s discovered by Kyutaro Horikita, who promptly kicks her out. When she returns to the room later to collect her things, she finds it occupied by three students who have been skipping class and piling up garbage in the once spotless room. Furious, she begins to lecture them, and is soon joined by Kyutaro who, along with some very creepy insects, chases them away. While Kyutaro cleans up all the garbage and grime, Fumi discovers an extra door on the wall, and a voice calling out for help on the other side. Recognizing the voice of her classmate, Sakaguchi, Fumi steps through to help him, but finds herself in a bizarre hallway filled with doors. Realizing the door to the Void has been opened, Kyutaro rushes to rescue Fumi before it’s too late. The gateway Fumi has found opens a passageway into the minds of others, where people known as Sweepers can enter in order to clean out bad thoughts and emotions that are polluting a person’s spirit. A massive centipede has formed in Sakaguchi’s mind, and it takes both Kyutaro and, to his surprise, Fumi to defeat it. Realizing Fumi’s potential to be a Sweeper, the school’s principal and Kyutaro’s relative, Koichi Kitagawa, offers Fumi a job cleaning up their large mansion, as well as a position as a Sweeper. After passing a test by cleaning up a spare room, Fumi joins Kyutaro on her first official job as a Sweeper by following up with Sakaguchi to clean his bedroom.
This one just doesn’t pull me in. I found Dengeki Daisy interesting, so I can at least say it’s not Motomi in general. It’s cute, and I giggled a couple of times, but I have little desire to see where the story or the characters go. I’m also way weirded out by the gigantic hands everyone has, which is really my only complaint about Motomi’s style. A happy Fumi’s joy bounces off the page, and Kyutaro’s irritation livens up the panels. The characters are very expressive, especially around the eyes, and Motomi makes frequent use of ocular close ups to convey important emotions. Kyutaro isn’t thrilled to have Fumi hanging around and working as a Sweeper. It seems that in his past, a close friend of his was possibly lost in the Void, and he blames himself. He doesn’t want that to happen to anyone else, so he works very hard on his own. Koichi realizes that Kyutaro can’t possibly take on so much responsibility on his own, so he’s happy to bring Fumi into the fold. There are little teases that perhaps Fumi might be the same girl from Kyutaro’s childhood, but they’re likely meant to lead the reader astray. Her background is a mystery, however. Kyutaro can be a bit of an ass a times, and he is very strict when it comes to cleaning. But there’s a kind side to him, too, and he takes his job of helping people very seriously. One of the main themes in the book is a sort of “cleanliness is next to godliness” vibe. Keeping things physically and spiritually clean is the job of Sweepers, and a well cleaned room can actually ease someone’s spirit. A dirty room invites insects of both earthly and supernatural nature. So after a Sweeper deals with the filth polluting a person’s mind, they follow up by cleaning out the physical filth. In Sakaguchi’s case, this involved carefully cleaning up something that used to be very important to him, but that he’d neglected due to a bad past experience. The story has good elements, and I can’t really pinpoint anything wrong with it that leaves me disinterested. I suppose there are just other things I’d rather be reading, like My Love Story, which I’m going to go read now.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.