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Psychic Power Nanaki Vol. #01 Manga Review

3 min read
Psychic Power Nanaki is a series that keeps its aims low (at least in its first volume), but always within its sphere of ability

The stage is set for a solid entry into the psychic genre, and all the pieces fall right into place.

Creative Staff:
Writer/Artist: Ryo Saenagi
Translated by: Elina Ishikawa and Alex de Campi

What They Say
Nanaki survives a car accident to discover he is psychic. Recruited into an organization that solves cases with psychic powers, Nanaki’s average life quickly turns into one of adventure and intrigue.

The Review
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I suppose all readers have had times where they’ve found themselves disappointed by several stories in a row. That’s the position I was in when I picked up Psychic Power Nanaki. Now I don’t want to go inflating the situation to the point where it sounds as if I were about to turn my back on manga altogether, and Nanaki was the brave little series that made me fall in love with the medium all over again. That would be a gross exaggeration. But it would be a gross exaggeration of something that really happened.

The author’s efficiency and good sense are apparent from the first panel. The event that sets the whole series in motion is a car accident. A lesser talent, faced with this sort of event, would lay everything out something like this. Boy walks along sidewalk, talking with his friends and smiling. He waves his goodbye, steps into the road without looking, and then – an exciting getting-run-over scene, with horn honking, look of terror, driver trying to swerve, squealing brakes, and all the fixings. Fortunately, we are in the hands of someone who knows better. He realizes all that is irrelevant and shows us the aftermath instead. We gather from a few brief comments by lookers-on all that we need to know, then we’re shown a brief dream during the victim’s period of unconsciousness. Before we know it, he’s heading to school on his first day back. This all takes up just over three pages. The three pages our less efficient artist would have spent on the accident.

That’s a pretty fair example of the way Psychic Power Nanaki is put together. This is lean, tight, focused storytelling, and it’s an excellent match for the type of stories the series wants to tell. We’re given clear-cut, fast-moving episodes covering the cases Nanaki is assigned after being recruited as a psychic investigator. Each incident unfolds over a couple of chapters and uses the time well. All the necessary plot points are hit at a good pace, while the less hurried moments allow us to look at the dynamic between Nanaki and his new partner. There’s a good bit of head-butting along the way, as two very different personalities, with different sets of psychic abilities, bounce off each other. This is another place where the series could have bogged down, but the artist again is smart enough to use this personality clash to develop the story. He never lets it become pointless bickering and/or throwaway comic relief. And what ultimately develops out of the conflict are some juicy hints – what good first volume is complete without these? – about Ao’s past and its implications for the team. The strongest hints are introduced expertly near the end, and we’re left with a good “one more chapter” pull toward the second volume.

In Summary:
Psychic Power Nanaki is a series that keeps its aims low (at least in its first volume), but always within its sphere of ability. It always does exactly what it sets out to do – no more, no less. And it does it without any wasted movement or time. There’s a nice, taut pace, unfailingly maintained; exactly as much characterization and sentiment as needed, and no more. It is the work of a thoroughly professional artist, one who knows just what a scene needs and supplies it every time. You can do a lot worse than Nanaki – I know, recently I have been. If you’re looking for a sturdy, efficient, reliable series, then this looks to be a horse worth betting on.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Release Date: November 27th, 2007
MSRP: $9.99

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