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Itsuwaribito Volume #03 Manga Review

3 min read

Hot air balloons, bonfires, explosions, tanuki’s and mochi; sounds like a fun Halloween party!

Creative Staff
Art & Story: Yuuki Iinuma
Translation/Adaptation: John Werry

What They Say
Can a liar lead a life of good?

Utsuho’s truthfulness as a child resulted in an enormous catastrophe, and he decided to lie from that day forward. Raised in a village of orphans by a monk, Utsuho is an unrepentant troublemaker. The monk eventually inspires him to help people, but there’s no way Utsuho’s going to lead an honest life! Instead, he’s going to use his talents for mischief and deception for good!

On an island populated with exiled itsuwaribito, can Utsuho stay one step ahead of a boss who’s every bit as wily as he is?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While this story has its merits, the art work is very blah and on the level of a ‘How to Draw Manga’ book. Or in other words, common for the shonen genre. The characters eyes look awkward most times the mangaka draws their face angled away, although facing forward everything looks balanced. Backgrounds are mostly absent or minimalist when presented.

This volume picks up the battle between Utsuho and the Tanuki that can take human form. It proves to be a tough battle as the Tanuki takes the form of Utsuho’s companions. If Utsuho has proven anything through this series, its that he can outsmart his opponents. The only question is, can he outsmart the Tanuki without sacrificing Yakuma’s health. Actually, Utsuho’s physical abusing of Yakuma provides a lot of the slapstick humor in this series.

For better or worse, Neya leaves the island of exiled itsuwaribito and becomes a traveling companion of Utsuho and Yakuma. Neya will miss her friends from the island, but she convinces herself that she will start a new village so that in three years, when the others are released from their exile, they will have a home to go to on the mainland. Although, it quickly becomes apparent that finding enough money and the right people to start a village is going to be extremely difficult. She can’t even convince Yakuma to be her town doctor, so how is she going to convince craftsman and shopkeepers to join her? Three years might not be enough to complete all these tasks.

Utsuho can seem like a jerk when he refuses to help a merchant being chased by bandits. But Neya knows they need the money and convinces Yakuma to help, against Utsuho’s warning. It doesn’t take long to learn that the “bandits” are farmers cheated out of their land by the merchant. But Neya promised to help the merchant, so she can’t go back on her word. Can Utsuho get her out of this dilemma and still make money?

In Summary
I really enjoyed the first volume of this series because it was such a unique idea to use lies to help people. The first book also had some punch with the dastard betrayal that killed the old monk at the orphanage. Unfortunately, the following volumes haven’t been able to live up to the emotional first volume. To be fair though, I do thoroughly enjoy the various ways Utsuho uses lies and deception to defeat his opponents, especially when they are swindlers. The comedy between Utsuho and Yakuma, although usually at the expense of Yakuma, is plenty funny. An entertaining shonen series as long as the reader doesn’t expect more than a humorous adventure and a life lesson or two.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: C
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 16th, 2011
MSRP: $9.99

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