Book Review: Bloody Monday Volume 8

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Well, it looks like the reviews for the season passes will be delayed again, but that does not matter so much to me. Anyway, as I mentioned on the blog before, I finally got all four books of my preorder from Barnes & Noble and reviewed one of them already, leaving only three. Today, I will be reviewing another of those titles, which is called Bloody Monday Volume 8 by Ryou Ryumon.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Stuck at the school, Fujimaru and his friends must contend with terrorists and their hired gunman, in order to make it out alive. However, the stakes have just risen for Fujimaru when sister and Minister of Justice Kujo arrive on scene. If that is not enough, one of Fujimaru's friends starts exhibiting symptoms of Bloody-X and J makes his demands, thinking that Maya had destroyed all of Third-I's supply of the antivirus. With an incompetent leader in Third-I, who thinks Ryunosuke is a murderer, Fujimaru and the gang are essentially on their own with a clock ticking until the whole building is contaminated.

I really enjoyed this book. The action certainly seemed fast-paced and exciting. J seemed pretty quick on the uptake, especially figuring out the Maya lied to him. Then again, I am not too sure Maya would have definitely known if Third-I still had the antivirus. After all, Fujimaru did purposely set off an explosion, so destruction could not really be confirmed. I also found it funny how the gunman working for the terrorists was manipulated again. Really, one would expect a pro to not be manipulated more than once. However, we are like that in our own society. Anyone know that pretty much now cliché quote about being doomed to repeat mistakes if one failed to learn from the past? Although it is not the case all the time, such as the fact that government is getting so much bigger these days, despite the fact that many who have studied US history in schools should know that people did not want an all-powerful government when the American Revolution took place, it is certainly the case here. After all, if we do not learn from our mistakes, we would fit Albert Einstein's definition of insanity. At the same time, nobody is really underestimating Fujimaru, nor is Fujimaru underestimating J, like he did when they first met. As for the book's quality, it seems pretty good, with a glossary that indeed does not define any terms that have not already been mentioned. Like Negima! Volume 36, the TOC is definitely ordered correctly, so things are looking up for Kodansha. I also liked how the preview for the next volume was English, which may be the new norm, since I have not seen any previews in Japanese for awhile, granted I was so focused in catching up on the Detective Conan (Case Closed) manga in August and September. The fast paced action and the fact that Fujimaru fooled the gunman again make this book very good.

Although I liked the volume, there are certainly issues. First, although it is nice to have signal-jamming devices and Morse Code explained in the definition list and how they worked, I still do not see an honorific definition list. Yes, I did say that the fact it was missing in the previous volume was a minor issue. I still do believe the same here. However, what bugs me is that jamming devices and Morse Code should technically be familiar to the readers of this series, or be able to figure them out during the course of the book, but Kodansha seems to still think, or make me think, that this series is not read by newcomers to manga. Unless one has watched the anime, I doubt newcomers to manga would read Negima! over a title published by Viz, but there are certainly cases where it is their first exposure to manga, especially with honorifics. As such, I do not really think that any series Kodansha releases should be void of an honorific definition list. The second complaint I have about this volume is that BPT is always given a note in just about every chapter. When thinking about it being released weekly or monthly, I can see how this would be considered a good thing, but since this is a volume, I do not see the point in noting what the abbreviation stands for. After all, unlike having to read these chapters week-by-week or month-by-month, the meaning of the abbreviation is still fresh in mind. Because of this complaint, you all probably think that I should be complaining about often scenes from the previous chapter show up and such, but just like the abbreviation being explained more than once, that is just a minor issue, more so a nonissue, compared with the biggest problem with this book. The biggest issue I had while reading this was the fact that I could not always tell what chapter I was on during the course of the reading. As I do not have access to the Japanese volumes, I cannot say whether this was Kodansha's problem or a problem originating from Japan, like I could with Detective Conan (Case Closed) episode 5 because I read its manga counterpart, but it was a bit confusing. For the most part, I could see easily where chapters ended and began, but there was at least one instance where I saw a chapter number that had at least a difference of two from the last chapter I remembered being on. When I noticed, I tried looking back through the previous pages but I could not find the chapter that came between them. Fortunately, it was not left out, but I had to resort to looking up the scanlated version of the chapter I could not find because the chapter title was hidden by the spine. Now, it is not unusual for things to be hidden by the spine in manga, but chapter titles should not be one of them. At least with Negima!, Cage of Eden, and Detective Conan (Case Closed), I can see the titles of every chapter and only not notice them when I am too into reading the volumes. I guess this is the reason why when one learns to format books for the first time, especially when self-publishing, as opposed to querying agents and such, that chapter headings need to be placed far from the spine. Another factor I think that comes it play with this problem though is the fact that the chapter title was so short, compared to the other chapters that started on the same side. Outside of those, I cannot really think of anything else that would not be either a very minor issue or end up being a nonissue. The fact that things are defined that can be figured out quickly or one should be familiar yet not having a honorific definition list, as well as the fact that an abbreviation's meaning was unnecessarily repeated definitely put a black mark on the quality, but not as much as the fact that a chapter title was hidden by the spine, which suggests a poor formatting job somewhere.

Despite the possibly poor formatting and other issues, I thought that this was definitely worth reading. I recommend this to those that interested in computers, technology, and fiction that deals with terrorism.

What are your thoughts on Bloody Monday Volume 8? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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