Book Review: Iris Zero Volume 1

June 9, 2014


It is pretty nice when I do not need to do anything when trying to read things that I want to read, which is something that places like Barnes & Noble do not seem to understand, especially with their digital manga section because not very many people know what format they are in due to the requirement of a Nook app or device to read them.

Unfortunately, with the worry about digital piracy and attempts to combat it, instead of giving the customer what they want, there are very few places where purchases can be opened anywhere.

Recently, I have purchased two books from eManga, which is about as close as one can get to site like Smashwords for manga and light novels.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Iris Zero Volume 1 by Piro Shiki.

The world has completely changed from what it once was.

Ever since the first occurrence of people that had special eye abilities being born, more and more people were born with unique eye power to the point where hardly anyone alive that is not an adult does not have one.

As a result, those without eye abilities get bullied by those who do.

Toru Mizushima is one such individual and he is determined to go unnoticed, but when a female member of the student council seeks his help, his life is forever changed.

I kind of liked this book. The pacing was good enough that it was easy to follow. While most manga series have events called arcs that stretch out for quite a number of volumes, I liked how every incident that the main characters got involved in was wrapped up in a single chapter each. I also liked how I found myself laughing at most of the things that happen. However, the funniest to me is that the main character does not want to be noticed, yet he sticks his nose into things, at the request of others. I find this funny because it seems pretty close how my own life is. I do many things for the same reasons that others would do things, which is the task is some that I either want or need to do, yet people just seem to put me in the limelight and be recognized for something I do not want to be recognized for. Oh well, the only way that one will not be recognized for anything is to completely become a hermit and disconnect from all computer networks, such as the Internet and LANs. Unfortunately for me, I can only do the latter because people around me, such as fellow church members, will not let me have the solitude I desire. Another thing that I liked about the book was that things actually made sense. In my review Aria the Scarlet Ammo Volume 1, which was the first title I ever got from eManga, I complained that there were things that did not make sense because the profanity used in the threats sounded more like a bomb was found, not somebody that is threatening their hostage. While I do not care too much whether a work has profanity in it or not, I want it to sound natural, not something that was just inserted for absolutely no reason at all, like the honorific used in The Seven Deadly Sins Volume 1. Here, however, things like that did not happen, which actually makes me relieved. Stories seem to flow much more nicely when things just sound natural. The thing that I think I liked the most though was that the file was actually free of DRM. As I mentioned at the start of this post, many people seem to be so fixated on the digital piracy issue that they would make it harder for buyers to use content as they liked, one of the worst offenders being Barnes & Noble’s comic section. Fortunately, I was able to open this file without any of the problems of other stores, such as needing a mobile device or Nook to download purchases from Barnes & Noble’s digital comic section. I sure wish things were more like this, but sadly, as I also mentioned earlier in the post, only a few places that make it a point to sell DRM free files. The fact that the main character helps people, despite wanting to remain unnoticed and that things actually sound natural, as well as the fact that the file itself was free of DRM, made this a pretty decent book.

Although I did like the book, there are some issues. First, I did not feel like I got to know the characters. Yes, we find out why Toru Mizushima wants to go unnoticed and how somebody that had known him since childhood figured out his or her eye power was, but I do not really know much about the other characters at all. For me to need to feel anything for the characters I need to feel like I know them and understand their situation. That is not what happens here, so there is nothing that really gets me attached to the characters. Then again, considering that this is only the first volume in the series, and Piro Shiki did not try to stuff an entire arc into this volume, like Reki Kawahara did in Sword Art Online Volume 1, I am willing to overlook this issue, if the future volumes can flesh these guys out. Another thing that kind of annoyed me was the fact that we have yet another guy that is technically antisocial that goes around and solves problems for other people. The first work that I have encountered with this, though it looks like it came out after this title, was My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU. While Toru may have had friends since the beginning, unlike Hachiman Hikigaya, who did not really have any, I found their behavior a bit too similar for my liking, with the exception that Hachiman keeps complaining about youth, which Toru does not. I know that is hard to come up with new ideas, but I do expect a bit more different that just one little thing. After all, I sure did not like how I the vampires in the first Twilight movie, which I was dragged along to watch, had every stereotype of vampires and the only difference between the stereotypical vampires and Twilight vampires was how they sparkled in the sun. Still, this is another issue that may clear itself up in later volumes, so I am willing to label this as a minor. Other than those things, which may be improved upon in future volumes, I cannot really think anything else that bugged me without repeating myself. While most of my problems are not deal breakers just yet, seeing as this is only the first volume, the disappoint at how similar this was to another title I had experience with did ruin my enjoyment a bit.

Despite the fact that there are issues that are common in first volume releases, the good outweighed it enough to make it good enough to kill some time. I recommend this to people that want a quick read and do not want to deal with DRM. As for everyone else, I would recommend avoiding this if you are looking for anything unique, but it is not terrible enough to avoid this all costs, like Nisekoi Volume 1 was.

What are your thoughts on Iris Zero Volume 1? Did you enjoy it or did you find it disappointing or just okay? Is there anything that I did not mention that you think should be brought up? Feel free to comment.

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