Book Review: In/Spectre Volume 5

In/Spectre Volume 5 cover

I hope that everyone is doing well, and are getting ready for the monotony to continue.

Aside from something that is about to happen, which I wish did not, things are going well because I can still do what I like.

As many should already be aware, I had gotten a few books from Amazon recently so that I could get caught up on what I could not and try out a few things.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those books, which is called In/Spectre Volume 5 by Chashiba Katase.

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

The fight with Steel Lady Nanase has begun, as Kuro and Kotoko make their moves on their respective fronts, and thing seem to be going well.

However, the enemy they face has the same powers as Kuro and is doing everything in their power to keep the apparition alive, and Kotoko must present different theories to garner support in her fight.

I kind of liked this volume.

Like many of the other volumes in the series, I did not want to stop reading this for any reason the moment that I opened it up and started reading, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

While this sensation is caused by slowly easing people into a work, as well as writing things in a way that actually makes a reader feel engaged, in work of prose, comics, especially manga like this, only really need to do this towards the beginning and the sensation usually continues by not making the reader feel lost and connecting the events together.

In this volume, Chashiba did just that by picking up the opening chapter where things had left off.

Now, I am aware that Chashiba may not exactly be in control of how the story is going, or even how the volumes are compiled, since Kyo Shirodaira originally wrote this series as a single novel, according to commentary found towards the end of this volume, and editors at the publishing companies for manga have a ton of creative control, but I am still glad that Chasiba did not start things off later than they did now, since this is the way to keep fans of a series in engaged and shows that the person behind the work is at least putting in some effort.

If Chashiba had forgotten how the previous chapter ended in the last volume, I do not think that I could have become as sucked in by what was happening as I was. After all, manga fans where I live can be just as irritated by things that occur in manga as movie enthusiasts or avid readers.

Fortunately, things like that did not happen, and I can at least give Chashiba a good round of applause for a job well done on delivering an important thing needed to create a good story or series.

I also liked how Kotoko failed to achieve victory with the first of her four theories to explain how things happened.

In our society, there are people out there that are trying to prove their point about something, whether that be something like mankind affecting the weather or that God exists, neither of which can be proven or disproven beyond doubt, and they think that if they can provide a rational explanation, which science tries to do, that people will believe them, even though they end falling into the traps of logical fallacies.

Likewise, Kotoko tried to give a rational explanation about how Terada was killed, and, even though it was quite sound, at least in the realm of solutions in whodunits, people rejected it because it did not make sense, much like how I reject man-made climate change because one of the supposed causes of it is contains carbon, an element necessary for life, or how people reject many religions because their proof is based on something that makes us irrational creatures, and it both makes things much more interesting and feel a bit more realistic.

Even though I do not expect this to be completely realistic, since fiction that is as close to being realistic, yet enjoyable, as Spice & Wolf is such a hard task to accomplish and this series contain tons of occult stuff from Japanese culture, this series is considered a mystery series. Fans of mystery works, regardless of whether you use it as synonym for works of detective fiction and crime fiction or as its own branch of fiction, as I see it, expect there to be a bit of realism so that things would be a bit more believable, and if something that explained things as neatly as one would expect in crime and detective fiction could explain things away in a work where mythological creatures are real, that realism would be gone, especially because Kotoko wants to resolve things by turning lies into truth.

Fortunately, Chashiba seemed to understand this quite well and kept these events in this series, seeing as Kyo said in the commentary that each of the four solutions presented were in the original novel, and I can give Chashiba another nice round of applause, though I guess Kyo should deserve just as much applause for not letting things get too unrealistic to be enjoyable.

Another thing that I liked was the humor found in this volume.

While the humor was not really that unique, when compared to the rest of the series or even manga and anime in general, Chashiba is still able to execute things off well enough that I was able to get in a few good laughs.

From the very beginning, there were comedic moments to give the readers a break from things becoming a bit too serious and it helped to make things feel much livelier than what John Grishman did delivered in The Whistler.

Readers of any kind of fiction want to be taken into the world of the books, and for a writer or, in this case, a mangaka to do that, the world itself must feel real enough, even with the liberties that can be afforded to fiction, that the escape can be that much easier.

After all, our world is not always a happy one or a sad one because there are so many people on the world that tragedy and miracles can happen at the exact same moment, and people themselves do not realize whether you are going through a difficult situation or not.

If Chashiba had stopped providing scenes where I could laugh, I would have been very disappointed, because the of the fact the humor made it worth reading this series, since the mystery aspect took quite a bit of time actually begin, though Kyo did say that it would take a while for any actual mystery to crop up.

However, because the humor remained, I feel like giving Chashiba even more applause than I did before.

Hopefully, this can keep up as the volume progress, otherwise it would start looking like I ended up wasting my time on this series.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Kotoko decided to use what people believed against them.

When the first theory failed to be received, Kotoko suddenly switched things up to where the apparition was responsible for the detective´┐Żs death, but the apparition was suffering because of the past.

While this does make sense, and would be an obvious method to employ, since it is essentially tearing something apart from the inside, I was not expecting Kotoko to use it because she did not seem to be somebody as devious as Yokoya from Liar Game.

In the church that I attend, members are told to try and get people converted over by finding the common ground between them and people from other faiths, and, by doing this, we lower their guard enough that what is known as the confirmation bias does not cause them to outright reject what we have to teach them, though it may end up hurting them, which is why I believe my church makes the problem of apathy worse, instead of bringing people closer to God.

However, as much as I hate how my church employs similar tactics, I thought it was ingenious here because it has already been established that many of the mythical creatures came into existence due to the fact that people believed they existed, so trying to manipulate the belief is the best way to fight the apparition and prevent the real enemy from succeeding in her plan.

Seeing as Steel Lady Nanase was not really a ghost, as was established in volume 2, and Kotok talked about how lies become truth in volume 3, I would have been very disappointed if Kotoko did not try to utilize this method in the defeating the apparition and made things seem to be a lot less believable.

Fortunately, Chashiba remembered that such discussion came up and made sure to include a solution in which the beliefs of the people on the internet were used against them, and it makes me want to let him or her know that they did a fairly good job of adapting this into a manga.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added to what I already talked about.

Because the volume captured my attention quickly and held it throughout the duration of the read, thanks to picking up where the previous volume left off, there were things to laugh about, and that Kotoko did not succeed in presenting her first theory and decided to use the belief of users on the internet against them, this was a fairly decent book.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, especially a display of how belief can be used against people, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of mystery, Kyo Shirodaira, and In/Spectre, as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but it might be better to read the previous volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buy the reviewed title from either Amazon or The Book Depository, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.