Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: Master Keaton Volume 4

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Master Keaton Volume 4 focuses on Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, an archaeologist and an insurance investigator at Lloyd’s of London. His travels bring him in contact with various kinds of people and their stories.

Master Keaton Volume 4

Master Keaton Volume 4

Written by: Hokusei Katsuhika
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 15, 2015

Volume 4 opens with three chapters that involve the Romani and the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. This particular story sees Taichi becoming involved when three Romani friends who survived World War II are killed before the World Sinti and Roma conference. There’s a lot of intrigue, and it incorporates details from World War II such as Adolf Hitler and the concentration camps. I was riveted by this particular story, and I enjoyed seeing how clues from the Pied Piper of Hamelin were able to reveal what was needed to figure out who was behind the murders.

The next story in Master Keaton Volume 4 also incorporated a historical element, this time using apartheid and South Africa. Taichi finds himself helping another gentleman trying to prove a Black man’s innocence when he witnesses a car accident. The racism the police showed during this case was disgusting, and it really hits home in the wake of current real life events taking place in America. I was impressed with Taichi giving up a job interview in order to help prove this man’s innocence. This story may have only lasted for one chapter, but it really left an impression.

The next story actually focuses on Taichi’s daughter, Yuriko. She has a teacher who gets picked on by the other students, and he harbors a secret in his past. I enjoyed seeing Yuriko interacting with this teacher and learning about his secret. When Yuriko stands up for her friends who could be expelled from school, the teacher acts unexpectedly and does something to help out. While this story may not have shown Taichi very much, he really wasn’t needed for it. And I appreciated getting to see a story that primarily focuses on Yuriko for once.

Taichi also finds himself involved in a missing child case, saving a village from an avalanche, helping to investigate the death of a former I.R.A. fighter, and solving a centuries old mystery. And in the last chapter of Master Keaton Volume 4, there’s a story that focuses on Taichi’s father discovering a mystery that he helps to unravel. Of these remaining stories, my favorite is the one with the former I.R.A. fighter. This mystery also worked as an intriguing human interest story as Taichi and a journalist try to find out the truth behind her and her murder. It was a very touching story, and I liked how it ended.

At least three of the stories in Volume 4 include stories with historical references, which would mean something to older readers who lived through the time period that Master Keaton is set in and by those who have enough knowledge of history to understand the references. In some respects, including these historical references date the manga, but that doesn’t diminish from how well-written the series is.

Readers who have read and enjoyed this series should be able to appreciate the stories that appear in Master Keaton Volume 4. Taichi continues solving mysteries and helping others in need with the same compassion and determination that he’s shown in the previous three volumes of the series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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