Name: Lawrence Brenner
Title: Nightmare Inspector Volume 8 Madness
Author: Shin Mashiba
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: T Ages 13+
Star Rating: 3
Nightmare Inspector may not be a title for everyone, but it is good. It is a very cerebral title, it moves at an interesting pace, as each chapter is also stand-alone. And as you can read it is a limited series (according to the author there are nine volumes in all). Starting off, one of the things that I find funny about it is its rating, which is teen, and says that it is because of “fantasy violence,” but some of the concepts in the chapters are more disturbing than other “more mature” rated manga that may have such things as alcohol use and smoking. Without ruining the story for people who will want to read this, there are such disturbing things as torture, and domination.
There are some things in this volume that for me makes it a little less fun to read, and these are not story problems, but the problems with translating it to English and other languages like it. From when you open the volume you read “Under the cover of darkness… They come to the Silver Star Tea House… Seeking Solace” and the problem I have with this is that the English font is very small and I have very good eyesight, so this may be a problem for some readers. Moreover, the real problem I have is that it happens a lot throughout the volume. On page 22, you can see that the speech balloon was not designed for English, as the font size is very small and there is a lot of empty space. I may get some opposition for this, but they should have made the balloon larger and used a larger font in the production of the volume. To me being required to look closer at the words just to read the volume interrupts my manga reading experience, and I like to be immersed, hearing the characters in my head.
All this said though, there are many things in this volume that I like. In the chapter “The Elevator”, I like how Shin Mashiba integrates the floors of the building into the “dings,” and yes no spoilers. I also like how in “Hifumi & Shigoroku” they integrate the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” because that tale done well is always funny. I also like the “bonus” chapter that would be many, many volumes later at the “One Hundred Million, Five Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Night” it has another nice bit of humor. Nightmare Inspector covers a huge range of human experience, emotion, and of course nightmares. It is very interesting to see the horror and humor in various aspects of the human experience, and what may be defined as Hell for someone may be considered Heaven for another person. This is a kind of manga that makes you think, and is something that would have to be reread to get the full experience of the manga and of the author. A sort of plus is that without reading the prior volumes in the series, is that you can jump in and begin to think and dream.
I would say read it, think (and dream if you dare), and then read it again.