Plunderer, Vol. 1

By Suu Minazuki. Released in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Shonen Ace. Released in North America by Yen Press. Translated by Ko Ransom.

Yes, yes, OK, I should have known better. Sometimes I preorder new series without paying much attention to what’s actually going on. Like, for example, the fact that this is written by Suu Minazuki, creator of Gou-dere Sora Nagihara, which I wasn’t fond of; Judas, licensed digitally by Viz but looking to be along the same lines; and Heaven’s Lost Property, whose length is probably the only reason it too was not brought over here. The author has a reputation for fanservice, let’s put it that way. Now he’s turning his attention to fantasy with this series, which features a plot which made so little sense that I had to go back and read the explanation again. It also gets pretty dark, to the point where I wonder if the editor said “can you add some blatant panty shots to cheer the reader up?” and the artist smiled and gave a thumbs up. That said… it’s written for an audience of teenage boys, and boy, does it know that market.

We start off with Hina, a young girl (she seems to fall into that “am I eight years old or sixteen?” type) who is searching for the Fabled Ace, a war hero who may or may not be a legend. Instead she finds a perverted guy who wears a mask, whose goal is to look up her skirt, and a nice bartender woman, whose goal is to explain why everyone has number tattooed on them. Each number is a thing that a person can achieve – the bartender has a number that’s the times her food has been called good, while Hina’s is apparently the miles she’s walked – and when that number hits zero, the person is sucked up by black tentacle things and sent to “The Abyss”. The achievement can be ANYTHING, which makes it simply confusing. Moreover, Hina is naive and trusts too easily. Fortunately for her, she has an ally, sort of. Unfortunately, it’s the pervert in a mask.

This series runs on fanservice to a large degree – when Hina has to disappear from the plot for a bit, we are introduced to a young sergeant major in the military who fills much the same position – and I absolutely do not recommend it to anyone whose tolerance for panty shots is low. That said, what about the rest of it? Well, I’ve made my opinion of the “count” thing clear, I think it’s overly confusing and a plot convenience. The actual plot is following Hina and Licht (the guy in the mask) as they try to avoid everyone going after her as she has a “ballot”, which is another macguffin that means essentially “whoever holds this has power”. The overall tone of the manga suggests it’s going to be fairly grim, and I suspect a few of the cast are not going to survive. That said, this is written by a creator who’s been around for several years, so the composition is fine, and the fights are exciting enough.

Basically, this is a volume that hits its demographic, but ONLY its demographic. If you’re a teenage boy, you’ll love this. All others should read something else.

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