MPD-Psycho vol. 5 – Eiji Otsuka

4 out of 5

Wait, wait – didn’t a bomb just go off in front of Amamiya last chapter? Weren’t there some crazy kids on the loose, killing people? Who… who is Tetora Nishizono?

MPD-Psycho is a series that, for me (possibly in the denser tier of readers), requires a lot of rereading and flipping back through previous volumes. That’s not a bad thing, really – the story of a detective with multiple personalities (some / several of which seem to be murderers) hunting serial killers whom all seem to have eyeballs with imprinted barcodes is very odd and layered by design, and writer Eiji Otsuka and artist Sho-u Tajima present the cluster of characters / personas with, generally, as much linearity and clarity as possible, while still holding on to the story’s secrets. So it can be fun to be dragged along by the craziness, and rewarding to go back and piece it together, seeing that the bits are there for the piecing.

But we still make some big jumps here and there. Huge things happen and then aren’t mentioned a chapter later. Eight, nine, ten characters are introduced within a few pages. And so just when I feel like I’m getting a handle on things, volume 5 feels like it 180s from where volume 4 ended. Amamiya’s in good spirits, assisting Sasayma on a sort of publicity challenge against FBI profiler Michelle. This sets up some fun interactions, it just seems to come out of nowhere.

Thankfully, perhaps as recompense for this unwarned shift, Otsuka gives us a lot of information on Gakuso, and the eyeballs, and the killers, and then the back half of the volume brings those kids back in to focus – our patience with the craziness once again rewarded, for an intense and bloody showdown between profilers and killers. …Only for it to be blown apart again with more characters in the last few pages. But man is this breed of narrative insanity addicting. Can’t wait to see how Eiji manages to confuse and astound me next volume.