Flash Review – In/Spectre (Vol. 1-6)

There’s a natural balance to the world, and it’s the job of Kotoko Iwanaga to make sure nothing throws things out of whack. Things go out of whack when a well-endowed specter known as Steel Lady Nanase pops up, terrorizing people and yōkai. With the aid of her immortal-precognitive boyfriend and a police officer who’s incidentally his ex-girlfriend, she pulls overtime to figure out which grave the specter crawled out of so she can kick it back in.

The Illustrations:

The most eye-popping feature of this manga is Steel Lady Nanase’s breasts. The most eye-popping feature of this manga if you’re not a teenage boy is its artwork. This manga is sharp, and what impresses me the most is how creative it gets with no small number of its panels. Where a good number of manga occasionally give up on visuals and just have a box dedicated to exposition speech bubbles, In/Spectre holds itself to a higher quality, always finding something to show us, and while it’s at it gives us dynamic panels and visuals, because the word dull is just inspiration for a page layout if you rotate it 90°.

The Cool Concepts:

The creativity spreads beyond the panels. This story isn’t just set in the present day, it takes advantage of this time period by fusing folklore with modern internet infrastructure, and what we get are some really rad concepts that make me wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and come up with them before this story does.

Mystery Solved In Five Seconds Flat:

This is nothing major, but something I think is funny is how the police department exhausts every effort deducing the circumstances behind an idol’s death only for Iwanaga to ask a ghost who explains the entire mystery in six seconds flat. Tiny amusing moments like this score big brownie points with me.

The Verdict:

After all the positive points I’ve prattled, the logical conclusion would be that I thoroughly enjoyed In/Spectre, but it’s the opposite. It’s not bad, but at no point did I find myself that engaged with what was going on. Coming up with everything creative and original for this manga must’ve been exhausting, because it loses steam when it has to spend page after page explaining things. The third act is another of those cool concepts I mentioned, but it’s basically just Iwanaga sitting everybody around the campfire to tell four stories in a row. I love the imagination poured into this, but the execution is about solid as a specter.

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