Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: Master Keaton Volume 5

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Master Keaton Volume 5 follows Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, an archaeologist and an insurance investigator at Lloyd’s of London. His travels lead him to investigations that bring him in contact with all kinds of people who have interesting stories.

Master Keaton Volume 5

Master Keaton Volume 5

Written by: Hokusei Katsuhika
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 19, 2016

Volume 5 includes a couple of stories that feature historical references from the time period that the manga was originally written in. One of the stories references the fall of the Berlin Wall in connection with a story about the suspicious death of an East German spy. This particular story also utilizes some unexpected evidence that allows Taichi to figure out how the spy was killed.

There’s also a story set in Iraq in the latter part of 1990. Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait is a pivotal plot point for the story, as well as the impending intervention from the United States and its allies. In the story, the Duke of Norfolk is trapped in Iraq and is being sought after by Saddam Hussein. Taichi is called in to help rescue him, and it turns out that he and the Duke of Norfolk have a connection. As someone who was in high school during the first Iraq War, I appreciated how Katsuhika incorporated elements from that moment in history into this story. I especially liked the inclusion of George H.W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher appearing on television and giving their respective speeches about the invasion of Kuwait. Including these historical aspects is a nice touch.

The very first story in the volume also incorporates some cinematic history by utilizing The Bride of Frankenstein and referencing actress Elsa Lanchester as an important part of the plot. My favorite part of this story, though, was the unexpected twist right at the end.

While many of the stories in Master Keaton Volume 5 focus on Taichi as he undertakes various investigations, there is also one story that sees him recalling a memory from his childhood. Having this chapter included in the volume provided a nice break from the investigations that Taichi is involved in. But that’s not to say that any of the investigations are bad or boring, though. The investigations usually present an interesting story to accompany the people that Taichi comes in contact with during each one. But sometimes as a reader, I know I need a short break from following Taichi as he untangles mysteries that arise during his investigations.

Readers who have read previous volumes of the series should also be able to appreciate Master Keaton Volume 5. These stories contain the right mixture of intrigue, mystery, humor, and character development to keep them interested in what happens from the front cover to the back cover.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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