krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
When I started watching the anime series Planet With, I’d been pulled in by hearing the manga creator Satoshi Mizukami was involved in its production, having already found his manga “Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer” interesting. Over the three-month course of that complicated, intriguing, and personally satisfying series, I happened to see a comment Mizukami had produced another manga now being published over here, one that had managed to escape my attention before. Making up for that, I started buying the volumes of “Spirit Circle” from the area bookstore. By the time I began reading them, I understood the series to be complete in six volumes, shorter than Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. The six volumes packed plenty of interest for me, though, even if I’m again left wondering about “giving things away to others about something I didn’t know much about beforehand.”

Things start in a way perhaps familiar enough to manga readers and anime watchers, with a teenaged boy and girl facing off in battle with strange weapons like hula hoops dotted with knots of flame, two odder-looking figures watching. At the end of that first volume’s colour plates, things flash back to the meeting of junior high student Fuuta Okeya and transfer student Kouko Ishigami, but when Kouko, who has an X-shaped mark on her forehead, discovers first that Fuuta can see the spirit figure who follows her around and then that he has a fading angular mark under the bandage on one cheek, she produces her “spirit circle” and throws him backwards down outdoor stairs, knocking Fuuta into one of his past lives. The two of them have been entangled in past lives before, and it never seems to go well.

However, it never goes well in a different way every time, and some of Fuuta’s past lives getting to grow old did make the manga more interesting for me than a perhaps more familiar “battle series,” getting me thinking of all of the things that had been fit into Planet With’s story. That his friends keep showing up as well in those past lives could, perhaps, make things feel “not as varied as they might have been” even with the ever-changing eras, settings, and genres; perhaps I had a little trouble instantly recognizing everyone for all that I’d say Satoshi Mizukami’s art has improved from the “with unpolished art, the story must stand larger” days of Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. The resolution, too, had the solid, positive feeling of “getting to understand even a seeming adversary” Planet With and Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer had, even if the characters themselves acknowledged they’d been part of something large enough not every question had an easy in-story answer.
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