Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yumekui Kenbun - Nightmare Inspector vol. 1 Impression

Nightmare Inspector from Viz is a delightful trip into the mind of stranger’s twisted dreams. Anyone who’s bothered by dreams, no matter how disturbing need not head to Dr. Phil but rather go straight to the Ginseikan Tea House. There’s more than your standard cup of Earl Grey being served up in Shin Mashiba’s manga. Meet Hiruko, a Baku, and an eater of dreams. See when you’re bothered by a dream Hiruko can help, and his price is the dream you’re troubled by. Depending on the type of problem you have, Hiruko will decide is he helps you or not. With a touch of his staff it’s off to dream land where you guide Hiruko through the dream, which he in turn helps to resolve before consuming it. The troubled patron is freed from their nightmares; learn a lesson and Hiruko gets a tasty treat … and if it’s bloody all the better.

Mashiba’s art style is hauntingly detailed with a nightmarish feel that takes the reader inside these troubled dreams. Each character is unique in appearance, and could be the man, woman, child you walk by down the street. The issues each encounters and not too farfetched from an obsessed movie fan to heartbroken lovers, distanced father and son, a girl doomed to repeat the same actions and a weather vane … ok not every story is normal but herein lies the tastiness of Nightmare Inspector. See the art is very good and is perfect for relaying the emotions found in each story, stories that stand apart from one another and make for perfect reading on short trips, commercial breaks or trips to the John … s house. The story setting, Taisho Era in Japan, is haunting with its Mercury Lamps and feeling of gloom.

With an art style pleasing to the eye and short stories that will pull you in with a quick story setup Nightmare Inspector is a great read. Enthralling collections of standalone stories don’t come around often so take the chance to pick up this unique manga.

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