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Astral Project Volume 2

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Astral Project Volume 2

Astral Project Volume 2

© marginal, Syuji Takeya

The Bottom Line

As Masahiko spends more time on the astral plane, he finds out that his sister's death has cosmic implications. He also finds out more about his fellow astral travelers and a stranger who seems to have known his sister very well.

As with Astral Project Volume 1, marginal masterfully paces his story, giving readers dense, mind-blowing explanations for other-worldly events, slice-of-life vignettes of urban Tokyo, and some chilling hints of revelations yet to come. Takeya's moody artwork enhances marginal's multi-layered mystery. Lives up the promise of the first volume, and hooks readers in for the third and beyond.

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Pros

  • marginal reveals surprising details about Masahiko's fellow astral travelers 'earthbound' lives
  • Takeya provides clear and graphically powerful images to convey cosmic concepts
  • Volume 2 is still as mind-blowing, smart and fascinating as the first volume
  • Social commentary about the loneliness of urban life is given more emphasis here
  • When's the last time you've seen Francis Bacon and Fellini brought up in manga?

Cons

  • Includes more graphic violence, including some gory Vietnam War torture scenes
  • A bit more dialogue-heavy and sometimes the cosmic-ness of it all can be hard to digest

Description

  • Original Title: Astral Project Tsuki no Hikari (Japan)
  • Author: marginal (Garon Tsuchiya)
    Artist: Syuji Takeya
  • Publishers:
  • ISBN: 978-1401217495
  • Cover Price: $12.99 US / $14.99 CANADA
  • Age Rating: M – Mature, Age 18+ for mature themes, references to casual sex, suicide and drugs
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date:January 2009
    Japan Publication Date: December 2005
  • Book Description: 200 pages, black and white illustrations
  • More Manga by marginal / Garon Tsuchiya:

Guide Review - Astral Project Volume 2

Masahiko goes deeper into the astral plane and finds that the more he knows, the more he doesn't know. Questions get answers that just lead to more questions. Why is Masahiko able to access the astral plane, and what has that got to do with his recently-deceased sister? Why is Zampano the homeless man so wise and dignified in the skies, but pathetic and sad on the ground? What does "Slimy-kun" the monster mean when he says "human identities are but an illusion?" And who is the quiet but suave-looking guy who claims to know Masahiko's sister Asami very well?

Like Masahiko, readers of Astral Project are plunged into a mystery that they can't quite understand, but are too intrigued to stop investigating. Now that marginal has introduced Masahiko's fellow astral travelers, he spends more time on the ground showing us their less-than-ethereal everyday realities. While sometimes grim, it's a fascinating glimpse into the alienation and hardships faced by Tokyo-ites as they try to find reasons to face another day.

For example, in Astral Project Volume 1, Misa is a flirtatious angel, soaring through the skies. But through a series of vignettes, we find out that this teen is weighed down by some pretty heavy problems, and we get a hint of why Misa and Masahiko are drawn to each other.

With its cosmic themes and government conspiracies, Astral Project could have easily been an Ayn Rand-esque overly-expository slog of a book. However, marginal masterfully paces his story to intercut mind-bending explanations with slice-of-life character-building scenes and chilling revelations that deepen the mystery.

The second volume of Astral Project is an addictive ride that keeps you guessing, even up to the provocative surprise revealed on its last 6 pages. The only downside? I'm almost resentful that I'll have to wait a few months to read Volume 3.

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