Story and Art by Megumi Osuga. $9.99. Publisher: Viz Media
Corrupt businessmen, profiteers, and criminals plague the ailing city of Nekota, the new target of modernization. But between the desires for a quick buck and techy shopping centers, an uncanny force is overtaking the streets: Grasshopper. This vigilante militia, led by Inukai, opposes all progress and claims to protect Nekota from this emerging wave of pillaging forces. Nevertheless, for teenage Ando, something is not right about Inukai and Grasshopper. Using his ability to make others say what he’s thinking, he’s intent on uncovering Inukai’s true motive.
Based on the work of novelist Kotaro Isaka, Osuga’s adaptation brilliantly captures the tense mystery enveloping this teenage drama. Maoh, after all, is about two things: the supernaturally gifted Ando and the enigmatic Inukai. Each is seemingly ordinary, yet both retain unexplained powers. Let the unraveling mystery begin!
In volume one, thugs are inexplicably conforming to Inukai’s ways overnight, and politicians are committing suicide after one meeting with Grasshopper. Worse still, the victims of high school bullies are suddenly retaliating with deadly force, the gift of confidence bestowed by persuasive Inukai. Surrounded by such murky events, Ando finds himself pushed to the brink. He must resurrect a dormant power that may help him discover the face behind the Grasshopper mask.
How can that not peak your interest??? You have a uniformed vigilante squad that may be committing murder, as well as potentially instigating teenagers to do the same. And then you have a boy that can make anybody say what he wants. It’s the perfect tool for extracting information!
You’ve got the action, questions, and the detective work required of any great mystery. Better still, Osuga has the gift of conveying an increasing tension in words and art. The true, yet undefined, potential and motive of Inukai and Ando are not drawn on page one. No, kids, we’ve got actual people here. With each interaction we get only clues. To really understand them, we need to read/experience volumes.
Who is Inukai and Grasshopper? Are the really good for Nekota? Is Ando’s ability a gift for humanity, or just himself?
I like this story. It’s going somewhere good, even if it lacks mecha, lasers, and aliens.
Oh, and don’t worry. A little fan service still emerges in this great, dramatic mystery. This is manga, after all.
If you’re looking for a great read, something that appeals to both brains and eyes. Maoh will definitely satisfy your appetite.