O-Parts Hunter Vol. 1

Seishi Kishimoto, Author, Seishi Kishimoto, Illustrator . Viz Media $9.99 (185p) ISBN 978-1-4215-0855-9

Kishimoto is the younger twin brother of Naruto creator Masashi, so this humorous, surprisingly moving shonen treat is sure to be compared to that manga blockbuster. Luckily, it's enjoyable on its own terms. With his half-white and half-black hair and his one dark and one light eye, hero Jio is the perfect embodiment of conflicted youth: despised by everyone he's ever come into contact with, he's both defiant and fragile and more sinisterly powerful than he knows. As Jio quests for treasure—the O-Parts of the title—what sets this book apart is the strong emotional resonance, even while surrounded by a tone light enough to go down easy. Kishimoto's artwork is, like his writing, good-natured, concise and expressive (if also somewhat reminiscent of his brother's). Action scenes are a marvel of clarity, and Kishimoto wrings some psychological nuance from well-placed flashbacks. Best of all, this first volume is in and of itself a fully satisfying read. Instead of relying on cliff-hangers to get you to buy another book, Kishimoto depends on another, more difficult-to-achieve effect—generating real concern for Jio and his friends, regardless of what comes next. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/27/2006
Release date: 12/01/2006
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