Book Review: In/Spectre Volume 6

In/Spectre Volume 6 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, and, if you are a US resident, are having a good Thanksgiving.

Things have been going fairly well here, though there has been a bit of an annoyance recently, and I can still do what I like doing.

A little while back, Barnes & Noble notified me that I got more credit from the eBook settlement case and I used it to get a few books, one of which I had been meaning to get to sooner, and, surprisingly, the first of those books arrived recently.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called In/Spectre Volume 6 by Chashiba Katase.

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

Kotoko and Kuro are still in the midst of battling a formidable opponent, who was able to produce an apparition by choosing the right future, and two of Kotoko's theories were rejected.

However, Kotoko is not phased by the theories being rejected and continues on with her plan, even if the site admin is determined to stand in her way of finally vanquishing the apparition called Steel Lady Nanase.

While there are numerous series that I follow regularly that only see releases so often, I can usually stay intrigued by the series through my wait, as my memory does tend to be one of the best, but sometimes, things are not as good as I was hoping that they would be.

And after reading this, I would have to say that I only found it to be okay.

Fortunately, there were one or two things that were quite good, so I do not have to jump right into what I hated.

I liked how Kotoko was planning to go about making a lie the truth.

For quite a while in this series, it was widely known that Kotoko was going to defeat Steel Lady Nanase by making a lie the truth, but I kind of guessed that it would be similar to how God and global warming became truths, in that they are regurgitated over and over and/or trying to find common ground, in order to deal with confirmation bias.

However, instead of trying to make something the truth by repeating something over and over verbatim, Kotoko decided to incorporate a method of only repeating what she wanted the people to remember by inserting things from the previous theories.

While this does not really sound that impressive, as there are ways of making people think of things that you want them to through saying certain things or, like what was demonstrated in volume 58 of Detective Conan, where one of the people thought they were supposed to sit down because they were next to some chairs, set things up to give that impression, it seemed like a good idea here because Kotoko is doing battle through the Internet.

The Internet is composed of many different people that process things in different ways and, some, like myself, will not easily back down from what we think or believe, at least without good reasoning or being able to observe such instances for ourselves, and if Kotoko really was going to go through all four of her theories until one stuck with the visitors of the site that she was doing battle with, it would have seemed quite unbelievable because Chashiba Katase would have made it seem like we are all similar on more than just the basic level of how humans work psychologically, as well as make it seem like convincing people that you are right is a simple thing to do.

Fortunately, Chashiba did not do that, and it made the spectacle that was the showdown between Kotoko and Rikka seem to look quite interesting, which does make me want to give him or her a small round of applause.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Chashiba Katase talked about the creation of this version of the series.

In many manga, especially older titles, such as Yu Yu Hakusho and Rurouni Kenshin, the people behind the work talk about random things and, sometimes, things related to the series at hand, which lets us see the personalities of those that bring us the series that we like, beyond the kind of bios usually found in books that come from either the US or UK, but throughout the run of this series, which has caught up to the Japanese releases, since this is the latest volume both here and in Japan, according to the series page on Baka-Updates Manga, as of the day this review was posted, the only one that has said anything was Kyo Shirodaira, who wrote the original novel that the currently published volumes adapts, talking about what was happening in the volume and talking about anything that may have been changed in this adaptation, what to expect, or something else about the series.

However, in this volume, which concludes the events that are found in the original novel, according to what Kyo Shirodaira said in other volumes, as well as his remarks about the case being resolved, after the bonus manga, Chashiba Katase talked a bit about what it was like working on the series, such as how Kyo Shirodaira gave them the kind of free reign of this adaptation of the novel that Jane Friedman says that studios have when adapting books into movies in a post that I linked to in my review of Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 10.

For much of the time, since I was only hearing from Kyo Shirodaira, I was thinking that he was the one working on this and Chashiba was just following his directions and was a nameless person, but now he has made his presence known, and in more ways than just hearing from Kyo Shirodaira about what was different, I can at least identify him a bit better and really appreciate the work that he tried to put in.

If Chashiba Katase had remained silence, this volume really would have faded into obscurity, because it would have only helped to give more exposure to the original source, instead of trying to have this stand up on its own feet, like many of the anime adaptations that managed to surpass the original.

However, he did not do that and that makes me want to give him some bit of applause.

Outside of that, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what I already talked about.

Because Kotoko did not convince people by trying to find a solution everyone accepted, which showed me that Chashiba understood what a battle over the Internet is like, and that Chashiba did not leave things to Kyoshirodaira, the book was pretty decent.

Although I was able to find a couple things that I liked, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and having troubles verifying what a review on Amazon complained about, as the online scans do not seem to be that different from what Kodansha Comics put out, there was only one thing that really bothered me.

I just could not get into this volume.

Whenever I read or watch anything, I expect to be so engrossed in something that I do not want to put it down for any reason, as that is the most important thing needed to have a great work of fiction.

While many titles have been able to deliver that, with how well things are written or directed, though I am probably more capable of noticing this in writing or if I have something to directly compare it to, there have been titles that have failed to either capture my attention quickly or, in the case of Girls' Last Tour Volume 1, or never captured it all.

This volume, kind of falls into the middle of the two.

If I had to say why, it would be because of two reasons, only one of which can be associated with somebody other than myself, though they are a related.

First, this volume picks up right where the last volume left off.

Now, some of you guys maybe wondering why this would be an issue, especially because I have praised many manga volumes and quite a few episodes of The Ancient Magus Bride for doing just that, but it ends up causing a few problems.

This kind of thing works best when installments are on a regular schedule or released at the right time, and, in order to make the fans happy, the publishers need to make the right decisions, as that will allow them to get more money.

Unlike fans of anime, avid readers may have a better amount of patience, as they do have to wait quite a bit of time before the next installment comes out, but even their interest wanes after a bit and, sometimes, it is best to get more than one installment at a time.

Unfortunately, this volume was released two months after the last one, which was released back in July, according to the Amazon link that review, and my interest did falter a bit.

Yes, I do follow a few series that do tend to see releases on scales even longer than that, but that does not change the fact that some things need to be released sooner than others, and in the case of this volume, that is definitely the case.

At the end of the previous volume, the battle between Kotoko and Kuro and Rikka and Steel Lady Nanase started off with Kotoko finishing off her second theory and saw it crushed, but she remain confident and was said it was time to reveal her third solution.

Upon reading those words, I want to find out what they were so bad that I wanted to read this volume right then and there, but I could not, so I had to wait until it was out, and I could afford it, and that wait really decreased my interest in it.

Speaking of the wait, the second and biggest reason that I could not get into this was because I had waited too long to get this volume.

While this does not have anything to do with the volume itself, which is actually decent, other than something that has been reported but I cannot verify, it still does cause the same problems as when publishers release things.

One of the reasons that I am not particularly fond of series, in spite of following quite a few manga series, is that to be able to enjoy them and give them a fair assessment, the reader has to keep up with each installment, unless the series is something Girls' Last Tour or what Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid was like before the end of volume 3, and by missing something or not getting to it in time, the excitement can dwindle just as much as if the publisher or writer did not get the next installment out soon enough, though writing and/or drawing the material and getting it to acceptable level for publication does take quite a bit of work.

Now, it kind of makes sense that I was not able to get to this as soon as it was released, as I was still trying to recover from the troubles I was experiencing earlier in the year, but even though my memory is better than many others out there, it still has its limits.

Right now, I am following at least eight series, according to a post I made on Patreon, which can only be viewed by donors and I need to update a bit, and those series see quite a few releases throughout the year. Because of such frequent releases, I have a tough time remembering every little detail, though I do have the previous installment on hand, and I do not always have the time to reread things entirely, especially because I need downtime, just like everyone else, so it is really important for me to be sure that I am on top of things, and this is one of those series that cannot really put on the back burner for a while, as much as people think it can be done.

If this was A Certain Magical Index, a series that seems like just a bunch of random adventures, or Spice & Wolf, a series known to have a slow enough pace that it does not seem like anything is happening, I would have probably been able to put with the wait, at the expense of any possible time I could have had to give my brain some rest, but this series tends to end many of its volumes on cliffhangers.

Even though cliffhangers are great, as it gives the reader or, in the case of anime, the viewer reason to give the creators more money, and as soon as possible, but those cliffhangers, like many of the things we call virtues, are double edged swords, because if they are too good or played out in manner that was not particularly bad but was not good enough to hold the interest of the audience long, the next installment is not going too be as interesting as the last.

Yes, this does sound the same problem as with the publisher not releasing things soon enough, which I is why I said the reasons were kind of related, but this has more to do with the reader than the publisher.

As much as writers and publishers would love to see fans buying more of their work as soon as possible, seeing as it helps them earn what they need to survive in our current society, we, as readers, or consumers if you prefer, cannot always afford to dish out money to support the people that we think deserve it, as we have things like bills, taxes, loans, and the tools we need to do our work to pay for, which is also why I cannot be as generous as many others would like me to be, and, sometimes we do not even have enough to pay for the even the cheapest method to get what we want.

Now, some of you guys might be saying that this is why you pirate things, other than the fact that many of the entertainment industries out there have fought or are fighting piracy the wrong way by utilizing DRM or shutting down illegal streaming or reading sites, but all forms of entertainment are nothing more than a luxury and people do put their blood, sweat, and tears to put into the things that people like, so I just try to get by with a wait, especially seeing as many of the manga series released today are actually not as far behind the Japanese releases as either Detective Conan or Hayate the Combat Butler are here.

Unfortunately, unlike the translations of manga here, which can be sped up to make piracy less of an issue, there is nothing that can be done about a person being able to afford to continue following a series a it comes out, since only the person having financial difficulties know how much they can really spend on things other than what they need, no matter whether the cliffhanger was good enough to generate excitement for the next installment or not.

For now, I just have myself to blame for not getting this volume in time to be able to enjoy it.

Thankfully, that was all that really bothered me, so I do not need to harp on this any further, especially after finding out that this is not the final installment of the series.

While there was only one issue, and it was something that I normally praise, the fact that it was one of those times where timing on both the reader's and publisher's part is important is what really brought down the quality of the work.

Despite the fact that this volume was not completely terrible, the fact that this did not capture my interest as quickly, now that I have spent quite a bit of time away from it, overshadowed things enough to make this only good enough to kill time.

I recommend this mainly to fans of In/Spectre, as the will be able to enjoy this the most and are likely to get the volumes as soon as possible.

As for everyone else, this might not be so bad, as it does show how things can be implanted into the human mind, but I only recommend reading this immediately after the previous volumes, as this concludes the Steel Lady Nanase events and the fact that it has been too long since I read the last volume did hurt my enjoyment.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and, as always, if you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to get a copy of the reviewed title and see if you can find what I could not, buy a copy of it from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can and find more worthwhile reads for you guys and be able to get to them sooner.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.