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Sherlock Bones Vol. #01 Manga Review

4 min read

Sherlock Bones Volume 1
Sherlock Bones Volume 1
Is Takeru’s new dog really the reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes? Or does Takeru have a few screws loose?

Creative Staff
Story: Yuma Ando
Art: Yuki Sato
Translation: Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley

What They Say

When Takeru adopts his new pet, he’s in for a surprise—the dog is none other than the reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective. What’s more, this “Sherdog” has decided that Takeru is the reincarnation of his long-time assistant, Dr. Watson. Takeru may think Sherdog (or he himself) is crazy, but with no one else able to communicate with Holmes, he’s roped into becoming the canine’s assistant all the same. Using his exceptional sleuthing skills, Holmes uncovers clues to solve the trickiest crimes.

The Review! (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The front cover of this book has a little too much going on for my taste, and I think the red border blends with the kids plaid jacket too much. After that though, the art in the book is really enjoyable. Manga-ka, Yuki Sato, creator of Yokai Doctor, did a great job with this first volume. The character designs are great, and I especially loved the killers shift from cute everyday girl to crazy-eyed psycho as I totally didn’t see that coming. There are some terrific one- and two-page panels with a ton of detail, and the panel layout is highly varied. Also some cool angles on some of the panels and a good amount of background detail.

The packaging for this book is good with clean printing from start to finish and good page alignment. Unfortunately for us fans, the first few pages appeared to be originally in color but reprinted in black and white. The translation reads well and I didn’t notice any grammar errors or awkward dialogue. The original Japanese SFX remains with an English translation overlaid and mimicking the art style of the original.

Takeru isn’t just an average teenager attending school, he belongs to a police family; his dad is a beat cop and his older sister is a detective. Despite that, the real odd turn in his life comes when his newly adopted pound dog starts talking to him after chomping down on an old British tobacco pipe. Takeru’s dog claims he’s the reincarnation of the great Sherlock Holmes, and quickly goes about proving it by solving a crime that they stumble upon on the way home from the dog pound.

Takeru has to admit that it was impressive the way his new dog, Sherdog, discovered the “body in the trunk”. But come on, dogs have good noses so he could have just smelled the bloody body. Sherdog is going to have to do better than that. It doesn’t take long before his chance presents itself in the form of a woman leaving a murder scene. Now, can this talking dog convince Takeru of the true identity of the murder and expose the crime so it doesn’t get passed off as a suicide by the police department?

The awkward part of this story is how the crime and perpetrator is revealed right up front for the reader. At first I thought the author had really screwed up as the mystery was killed on the doorstep. However, I was very wrong. The exciting part of the story was the sleuthing needed to determine how the crime was committed and how to make the killer reveal themselves. So I found the story very entertaining. My real question for this series is if it can keep my interest or is it going to degenerate into solving mysteries about who stole bikes from the school bike yard or who stole props from the drama club room. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sherlock Bones lives to its full potential.

In Summary:
One of the best parts of writing reviews is when an unexpected gem lands in your lap. I didn’t expect much from a story about a crime fighting kid and his talking dog, but I was happily proven wrong. Sherlock Bones was a pleasant surprise, both in art quality and story. This book reminded me a little of the Higurashi series; cute characters with carefree lives that suddenly turn to horrific scenes of violence. No, Sherlock Bones is not a horror story like Higurashi, but it does get surprisingly crazy-eyed when the normally cute killer reveals herself and the murder element of this book was a surprise given the front cover. I also enjoyed the way a flashback was depicted with the gutters around the panels drawn like the edge of film strips. Yes, I said film, that thing my nephews had to look up on Wikipedia.

To be fair though, the reincarnated Sherlock Holmes living in a dog that can talk to a teenager thing is a little over the top. But, I’ll ignore that aspect if the creator and artist can keep throwing sexy teachers and whack job criminals at me. Sherlock Bones is a fun read and something I can definitely recommend to fans of murder mysteries.

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

Age Rating: Teen 13+
Released By: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
MSRP: $10.99

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