Direction: Right to Left
By: Izô Hashimoto (Story) Tomoshige Ichikawa (Art)
Genre: Drama, Shounen
After her parents died in a fire, Takamine Nanase developed a fierce drive to become a firefighter. Now working as a fire investigator, she uses her brains and knowledge of flammable materials to solve arson cases – along with some unwanted assistance from the mysterious arsonist Firebug, who has become obsessed with Nanase after she saved him from one of his own blazes.
This was an interesting set of volumes that i picked up ages ago and forgot about. Sadly if you’re in the UK getting a hold of these titles is nigh on impossible, at fair prices, these days. Though they can still be bought and imported from america, but at a heavy cost.
The story is pretty awesome, if a bit clichéd. We have our heroine, a spunky young fire investigator. She’s dedicated to her job because she lost her parent in a fire and hopes to prevent others feeling the same grief. Later we learn that her ‘brother’ is adopted and is the son of a fireman who dies in a fire. The relationship between Nanase and her brother, Shingo, adds an interesting dynamic which adds some nice elements, though they’re not over used.
The focus of the story is Nanase, and Fire Bug, a man she saved from a fire without realising that he was the man who set it. Because of this he’s become obsessed with Nanase and spurs her on to learn more about fire. this is usually done through the form of Fire Bug posing as some one else and calling into question the cause of fires put forward by Nanase’s bosses. Naturally this leads to some rather funny confrontations with her bosses, and some embarrassment when it turns out she was right. Throw into the mix a policeman whose convinced that Nanase is Fire Bug’s friend, and is determined to catch both.
These different elements make for a really interesting story. especially Fire Bug. The basic story of Nanase and her endeavours to learn the secrets of fire make an interesting series on it’s own. When you add in Fire Bug though we get an interesting dynamic, since it turns out the Fire Bug is highly intelligent, and highly skilled in various fields. I did worry about him dominating the series, but in the two volumes I’ve read this doesn’t happen. He turns up just enough to spur the story on, but not enough to eclipse Nanase.
The art of the series took some getting used to, and if I’m honest I’m still not sure if i like it. On the one hand we get some really well drawn characters, but on the other hand we some cartoony which don’t really gel well. Yet again on a different side we get some rather interesting art for buildings an fire, making it hard for me to really dislike the art. I just find the cartoony elements misplaced and the series would have been better without them.
The series was licensed by the now defunct CMX who had released four volumes out of seven. The quality of the release was typical CMX, meaning the paper is very low quality, but with a fairly sturdy covers. translations wise, i personally didn’t see anything wrong with it, it flowed fine and wasn’t over localised.
Sadly however, as CMX is now defunct getting the volumes is very hard if your in europe. While there are copies available they can and usually are over priced. If you import from the states where the volumes are still available for a fair price ($9.99) be prepared to pay a lot for shipping.
That aside, i do recommend this series, if you can get it. it’s fun, interesting, and interesting in so much as you try to figure the fires out yourself. The character personalities all come together to make an excellent story.
This is a title that’s ripe for recue IMO, hopefully by someone like Seven Seas Entertainment