Ongoing Investigations: Case #144

Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors issue 1 starts with a brief and amusing history of how the school came to be through the bumblings of a not so great villain who was defeated by a totally way better villain who used the name “Gladstone’s” ironically. The rest of the issue introduces us to many of the current students the likes of which cocky Kid Nefarious, awkward Mummy Girl, trouble makers the Skull Brothers, and a bunch of other students and teachers. And it hints that the villains and heroes dynamic isn’t exactly what it seems. While this spend most of its time settling up the story, it still has good looks at characters personalities and stays humorous and fun all the way through knowing just how much to make fun of itself.

There are somethings that you read and you instantly know your opinion on. I hated this or I loved this. You just have a gut reaction that dictates your opinion. Other times you get a more middle of the road reaction and then with a little digestion you can give a thumbs up or down. But then you have a book like Breathe Deeply by Doton Yamaaki. Even after a day of contemplation I can’t tell you if I thought it was good or not. I clearly see the books strengths but I just as clearly see the books weaknesses. They are both equally obvious to me and neither really makes forget about the other. So the best review I can give this book it to put both sides of the coin on the table and let anyone reading decide for themselves which half they consider more important. The main thing is that the book seems to think that subtlety is for losers when it comes to story telling. So when it is doing well its success is as bright as the sun and when it is annoying it is like nails on a chalk board through a sound system and your right next to the speaker that is on MAX. The story is a tale of two boys who fall in love with the same girl who is dying from a heart condition. One is a cold genius the other is a hot-headed punk. When she passes away after declining a transplant for ethical reasons both boys fall into a deep and angry depression in their own way. But they both attempt to find a method of creating an artificial heart that would not require a donor to prevent a similar tragedy. Both men are haunted by the loss of the woman they love but at the same time are irrevocably bound to each other by their loss. There is a lot to like about this book. You have older working adult characters. We have some major flash backs to their childhood but the bulk of the story is about their present day medical research and politics therein. There is also some serious looks at the ethics of research, transplants, organ donors, and medical politics. There are also some solid character study and romantic moments. The problem in Breathe Deeply never attempts to do anything in subdued tones. It throws the medical issues at you with the force of a rail gun round.  It is obvious what the authors stance on the issue of organ donors is except for 1 scene at the end that sort of tempers his view. Also everything is soap opera levels of the theatrics. Everyone has dark secrets that they spring on the rest of cast at the worst possible moment, drunk dads are always drinking and abusive, anytime anyone learns a weakness of another character they immediately intact a fiendish blackmail scene, and every conversation is some sort of game be it political or emotional. There is even beating and interrogation by a group of doctors using sodium thiopental. The problem with that is that Breathe Deeply wants you to take it very seriously. When Team Medical Dragon does the same thing I am OK with it because it mostly want to be a crazy medical drama with action and boobs. If you think about some medical issues as well than all the better. Breath Deeply wants you to take its love story and its ethical concerns with a somber gravity. But it is hard to do so with the theatrics surrounding them. The art is very seinen and the characters are fairly realistic looking which reinforces the feeling the series wishes to give off. I can’t really tell you if you will like this book or not. I am still not sure what my feelings are. But it is only one book long and is not like a good deal of the shonen and shojo in the English market today. Take what I have said and see if it sound interesting to you. There is a lot to enjoy and just as much to turn you off.

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