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June 27, 2012

Bento Bako Lite: Psyren volume 4

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Written by: Drew
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Psyren volume 4
Publisher: Viz (Shonen Jump Line)
Writer/Artist: Toshiaki Iwashiro

Psyren (pronounced “siren”) volume 4 continues it’s cool streak in the latest volume of this Shonen survival/sci-fi/horror manga.

As our heroes awaken in this world from their second trip to Psyren, it becomes clear right away that they all need to practice their psi-skills before they are called back again, or they might not even make it back by the skin of their teeth next time. Matsuri brings her friend Kagetora Hyodo (whose is also a closet-yakuza to a few gags) to train the group on the Psi-skill of “enhance,” so they can charge up and use their bodies to their best limits in Psyren. Kabuto decides he doesn’t need it, and runs off to his Uncle’s cabin with a plan in mind, while one by one, Ageha, Hiryu, and Oboro master their “enhance” skills. However, Ageha also has to concentrate on controlling his psi-skill, the black hole that practically consumes everything after he creates it, called Melzez Door. Soon though, Oboro is called to visit the old billionaire psychic Elmore Tenjuin. Old Tenjuin knows the three cannot talk about Psyren or Nemesis-Q will kill them, but knows about it from her late husband who was brought into the game and killed after he revealed to her the secret. Tenjuin has brought it upon herself to raise children with psi-powers at her mansion, and help them control and train their skills so one day when the great disaster that causes the future to turn into Psyren, maybe the children she’s training can prevent it from happening. She simply explains all of this to them, just as some sort of closure for herself, and to let them know she realizes what they are going through even though they can’t say anything. Ageha is impressed with the way the children can control their deadly power, and decides to stay at the mansion a few days to learn how, so he can control Melzez Door. After he gets a grip on it, he returns home just in time to be called off on his third Psyren trip. Ageha crosses into the future with Hiryu, Amamiya, and Oboro, but they realize Kabuto is no where in sight. After getting their map and exit location, they notice fresh tracks and follow them towards the mountain, thinking it’s Kabuto. Turns out they are right, and Kabuto has gone to his Uncle’s cabin in the future to find the bomb-shelter he built beneath it. His Uncle in the past built this shelter to withstand radiation and war, and kept all his information as a news photographer there for safety. Kabuto wants in so he can get newspapers from the future and get things like winning lottery numbers and stocks to invest in from the past, so when he jumps back in time he can make a ton of money. Turns out the bomb-shelter didn’t hold up and was damaged, with the skeleton of Kabuto’s Uncle still inside. However, they do uncover newspaper articles that show that a year from the time they exist in back home, a group called W.I.S.E. will show up and claim to be able to cleanse the Earth. Stumbling upon a video tape, they see the day W.I.S.E. reveals itself to the world and starts wrecking Tokyo with psi-powers, followed by a cliff-hanger ending that I won’t give away here.

Iwashiro does a great job advancing the story quickly within one volume here. He expands on the characters, at the same time giving us a ton more information about the mystery, making us feel one step closer to revealing it with them. His art is great, and some of his sci-fi monsters in the future world of Psyren are simply nightmarishly cool. Psyren is probably the biggest cross over title from the Shonen Jump line. It’s a survival manga, it’s sci-fi, it’s horror at times, and although there are a few gags, it is pretty much serious and has a darker adult tone, giving considerable appeal beyond its original Shonen audience and into the ranks of adults. Psyren is a sure winner for sci-fi fans, and is available in both print and digital formats from Viz.

Drew McCabe

Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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