Friday, September 4, 2015

MISC. MANGA, *Steam Detectives

Taking his love for Batman(a title that he eventually worked on in an official manga adaptation), Kia Asamiya mixed in the idea of a superhero-styled story with a Victorian detective noir, plus giant robots! Steam Detectives takes place in a steampunk-styled manga but takes place more or less in the early-to-mid 20th Century.

Set in Steam City where the prime source of energy is steam, Narutaki is a genius boy detective whose deceased parents where the best detectives in town until their untimely demise apparently at the hands of the masked villain known as Phantom Knight(who oddly looks like an off-model Batman)that also died during the encounter. His mysterious son takes up the mantle of the new Phantom Knight, and coerces the sexy young nurse Ling Ling to using her brilliant scientist father's robot(known as Megamatons)Goriki to get revenge on Narutaki. After the Phantom Knight's plot has been exposed, Ling Ling and Goriki are taken in by Narutaki and his butler to become part of his crime solving team. Narutaki has a wide rogue's gallery, including the cat burglar Crimson Scorpion, the Machine Baron who is obsessed with obtaining Goriki, and the mad scientist Dr. Guilty. The one who always gives Narutaki a run for his money is his own personal Moriarty, the masked kid criminal called Le Bred, who also employs Ling Ling's older sister Lang Lang as his caretaker and lover. Narutaki also performs acts of bravery for children in need, and seems to have a serious thing for helping damsels in distress.

Kia Asamiya really went all out to make this a visually spectacular manga, with sharp graphics an a rich texture. The characters do suffer slightly from some anime tropes, but that doesn't stop them from being enjoyable. The manga allegedly went on for about 13 volumes, even though only 8 graphic novels have been released in English ending at a possible stopping point. This was adapted into 26-episode TV series, and 2 light novels. Even though most of the manga by Viz has been out of print for a while(most of which was originally printed in Animerica Extra), its worth at least checking out to see if your local library or used book store has any spare copies to check out.

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