Whoever Steals This Book Volume 1 Manga Review

Whoever Steals This E-book Quantity 1 Manga Assessment

I often find pleasure in the eccentric and metafictional category of postmodern fantasy. Two standout works from the Western graphic narrative collection that come to mind are Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” and Mike Carey’s “The Unwritten.” Each of these works ingeniously manipulates the conventional elements of fantastical narratives to create works that are both self-referential and innovative. “Whoever Steals This Book” might not strive for the same level of artistic ambition or intricate storytelling as these Western counterparts, but it’s proving to be an engaging and appealing adaptation of its original Japanese novel, which has yet to be translated.

In the initial installment of a trilogy, a significant portion of the early sections focuses on presenting the scene, characters, and main struggle. It can be somewhat tedious to reach the core of the story since there’s an extensive amount of exposition detailing the backstory of Mifuyu’s family and their hometown. Despite this, such details are crucial as they set the stage for the narrative. Once the curse from the first pilfered tome comes into play, it triggers bizarre alterations in the world that reflect the narrative of the book.

“The book ‘Whoever Steals This Book’ is divided into several distinct sections, with this particular installment comprising the three-part initial arc as well as the beginning of the subsequent one. It appears that each segment will delve into a different literary genre, starting with a quirky ‘magical realism’ tale about two siblings who can alter climatic conditions, a cat with an ocular feature that morphs into the celestial satellite, and a scarcity precipitated by precipitation transforming into gemstones instead of liquid. These peculiar ideas start to manifest in the actual world, causing alterations in Yomunaga and its inhabitants, who find themselves compelled to assume fictional roles. Mifuyu and Mashiro are tasked with restoring normalcy to the world, applying their deductive prowess by piecing together hints from the book in question.”

The illustration style for the real-world sequences is quite acceptable, featuring the conventional manga look with adorable, big-eyed female students and suitably practical settings. However, what really captures attention are the varied artistic approaches used in the “stories within the story.” For instance, the initial story arc, titled “The Brothers of the Lush Village,” adopts an artistic style reminiscent of imagery found on ancient Greek pottery, using intentionally simplified character depictions, traditional costume patterns, and a more pronounced use of symbolic imagery.

The “Black Book” section of Arc two bears a striking resemblance to a classic detective tale, complete with gritty dialogue and a dark, moody atmosphere that could be straight out of a Raymond Chandler’s tale featuring Philip Marlowe. The eclectic blend of styles and genre elements ensures the manga remains engaging, despite occasional moments where the story’s rhythm might feel somewhat slow.

Mifuyu embodies the typical Japanese girl next door—hardworking, obedient, family-oriented, and easily annoyed by her flighty, literature-obsessed aunt who virtually lives in a library, only pausing her reading for food and sleep. I feel personally attacked by this portrayal. It describes the perfect life in my eyes. The setting of Yomunaga with the book-filled Mikura Hall is exactly my kind of paradise. Mifuyu’s lack of interest in books echoes the exact look and tone of my youngest son whenever I come home with new books. “What? More books, really? Daaaaad…” Thus, this manga might resonate with book enthusiasts as well as those who are exasperated by their family’s excessive book collection habits.

The enigma surrounding the enchanting Mashiro is intriguing enough to continue my reading. Could there be a connection between her and the fox deity that Mifuyu’s grandmother engaged to cast a spell on her treasured books? Considering it’s a concise series with just three volumes, I anticipate that the revelations in “Whoever Steals This Book” will be revealed shortly.

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