MPD-Psycho vol. 11 – Eiji Otsuka

5 out of 5

A wonderfully insane recontextualization of what we know up to this point.

Initially, MPD Psycho introduced various serial killers as a way of introducing its recurring plot elements: primarily barcoded eyeballs and multiple personalities. We centered around Amamiya, and we, the readers, struggled alongside him to piece together whatever the heck might be going on. But things started to recur enough that we could shift gears, to Onihigata’s political machinations; and secret society Gakuso; and weaponized clones. Physical and conceptual collisions of plotlines happened, and suddenly, like, we’re over the hump: everyone just seems to get it – all the personality fiddling lain bare. Sasayama becomes something of the main character, and paired with his diminutive partner Tenma, Eiji pushes MPD-Psycho further into dark comedy… while paralleling that with drilling deeper and more deviously into the background of all of this, and more clones / copies, and more personalities…

The rabbit hole of the strip both keeps ending and keeps continuing. It’s impossible. And awesome.

Volume 11 steps back to before volume 1 – setting up Amamiya before he was Amamiya; letting us know how Machi came into his life. And restating Gakuso’s “we just want to see what happens” goals, which, in the heat of their first reveal, felt underwhelming, but now with so much more information in the rearview, feel appropriately detached and chilling. Shou-u’s work continues to get more and more daring in terms of layouts, just going for it with a mix of artsy and cinematic angles and never shying away from the most difficult position in which to put his camera but nailing it every time. And going the flashback route doesn’t get us away from the violence: another killer is wended into the history, exploring the multiple personality effects in a psychologically troubling fashion.

It’s edgy, it’s funny, it’s fascinating, it’s full of payoffs. …And its been goddamned years since this last english translation was published…!