Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Volume 2
By Yoshiyuki Nishi
Publisher: Viz Media
Muhyo and Roji head to the Magic Law Association for Roji’s promotion exam, where a series of bizarre incidents turn out to be the handiwork of Muhyo’s old nemesis, Enchu!
New characters and information about Muhyo’s past and his connection to Enchu are revealed in this volume, setting the conflict for the first major arc of this series.
This volume starts with two stand alone stories, introducing the new character of Nana, a freelance photographer who has a knack for spirit photography. The bulk of the volume though occurs at the Magic Law Association where Roji attempts to pass the exam to become a First Clerk where he can actually start learning to practice magic law. They are joined by a judge and friend of Muhyo, Yoichi (who looks a LOT like Yoh from Shaman King). The exam is disrupted by Enchu who is looking to take revenge not just on Muhyo, but on the whole Magic Law Association.
I felt very much like Nana in this volume. Having missed the first one, I was meeting these characters and this world for the first time as well. But the mangaka did a good job of making it easy to get up to speed on Muhyo and Roji, as well as the magical law they practice. By the third chapter, I was quite comfortable with the characters and story.
The story took some major steps in this volume. There is a lot of development here as we learn about Muhyo’s time as a student at the Magical Law Association and how he is connected to Enchu, a name obviously introduced in the first volume. We learn exactly who Enchu is and why he has it in for both Muhyo and the Magic Law Association. He fires the first real salvo to start the war. Muhyo is able to win this first battle, but the war is far from over and will be long and difficult.
A lot of insight into the main characters is shown in this volume as well. Muhyo, despite his superior, smug exterior, really has a kind heart. We see it in his judgments and in the flashback when he is made an Executor. Roji, for all the berating Muhyo gives him, actually has some real talent. While we don’t know why, we do learn that Muhyo chose Roji, as only a second clerk, when it is normal to have a Judge as an assistant to an Executor. Muhyo must see something special in Roji, and his realization of that does make him grow a little. Enchu, as the nemesis to Muhyo, has turned away from the light and allowed sorrow and hatred to consume him. He walks the dark path alone, and will not stop until he is pulled back to the light by Muhyo or his revenge is complete.
The art for this series was a real turn off for me at first, but as I read on, it really started to grow on me. Muhyo’s expressions match his sharp wit perfectly. And his eyes, being very almond-shaped and distinctly different from the others, really add to his character. The ghosts are scary without any gore. They are creepy in a Ring kind of way.
With so many supernatural-themed manga out there, this one really stands out from the pack. Its art and great characters make it a series worth checking out. I know I’ll be following it from now on. You should too.
Review copy provided by Publisher