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Gimmick! Volume 1

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Gimmick! Volume 1 by Youzaburou Kanari, Kuroko Yabuguchi, published by VIZ Media Manga / VIZ Media

Gimmick! Volume 1

© 2005 by Youzaburou Kanari, Kuroko Yabuguchi / SHUEISHA Inc.

The Bottom Line

With a flick of a spatula, Kohei Nagase can create movie illusions. And conveniently, Gimmick! gives this unlikely hero ingenious ways to show off his skill and help desperate people in the bargain too.

Like a trip to the movie theater, Gimmick! is escapist entertainment that's best enjoyed with an extended suspension of disbelief. If you think too hard about how Kohei is doing feats in minutes that takes normal humans hours to accomplish, you'll ruin the fun. It's not deep or especially memorable, but Gimmick! is entertaining, and for $9.99, that's not a bad deal.

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  • An eye-opening glimpse at movie special effects techniques
  • Features a high-spirited, smart and likeable hero with an unusual profession
  • Generally satisfying stories with some clever plot twists


  • Minimal development of the supporting characters
  • Features one-dimensional villains who don't offer much genuine menace
  • While it offers behind-the-scene facts about special effects, Kohei's skill is wildly unrealistic


  • Original Title: Gimikku! (Japan)
  • Author: Youzaburou Kanari
    Artist: Kuroko Yabuguchi
  • Publishers: VIZ Media (US)
    Shueisha (Japan)
  • ISBN: 978-1421517780
  • Cover Price: $10.95 US / $11.99 CANADA
  • Age Rating: OT – Older Teens, Age 16+ for mature themes, nudity, some violence
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: June 2008
    Japan Publication Date: 2005
  • Book Description: 224 pages, black and white illustrations, 2 color pages
  • More Manga by Youzaburou Kanari:
    • Kindaichi Case Files

Guide Review - Gimmick! Volume 1

The most memorable detective shows feature a quirky but brilliant sleuth who saves the day with his uncommon smarts and skills. Columbo was a slob. Monk was neurotic. McGuyer could get out of any mess with some wire, a lighter and a wad of bubblegum. And now we have Kohei Nagase, special effects artist extraordinaire and star of Gimmick!, a seinen manga series from Youzaburou Kanari, the author of the Kindaichi Case Files series.

Kohei is an enthusiastic guy with a knack for finding desperate people who need his skills to get out of trouble. With a flick of his spatula, he can turn a gorgeous actress into a old lady that even her manager can't recognize. In the space of one sleepless night, he can create an elaborate animatronic alien. And in minutes, he can turn a theme park crowd into replicas of a middle-aged man.

Granted, Kohei is a master of special effects. His speed and skill leaves his clients in slack-jawed in awe as he pulls off miracles in minutes that would take most people hours to pull off. And that's partly the problem here – for these stories to work, the reader has to be willing to suspend any skepticism. "That's impossible," cry the defeated bad guys. "No one can do that so quickly and flawlessly!" And honestly, I had to agree with them. Cynics and sticklers for facts will probably find Gimmick! to be ridiculously... gimmicky.

But like a Hollywood blockbuster, Gimmick! is not about being real or even about deep character development – it's about fast-paced plot twists and escapist fun. The good guys win over the bad, and Kanari and Yabuguchi share some interesting facts about movie magic along the way.

Essentially, Gimmick! is a 224 pages of popcorn-munching amusement. It's not very deep or memorable, but for the price of a movie ticket, you'll be entertained, and that's not a bad deal for the money.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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