Title: Master Keaton Vol. 7
Author: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
The Story & Their Characters
The seventh volume of Master Keaton continues the episodic storytelling of Hiraga Keaton, an insurance detective with a military background as he travels the world and ends up getting himself into situation after situation. Like with my previous reviews, I will highlight a few of the stories in here as to not spoil the entire volume for those who wish to read it.
The first chapter, Behind the Mask, opened up the volume with some gorgeous color pages. Here, Keaton is on board an airplane where he is sat next to a passenger who was a famous actor. The actor ended up faking his death under an alias in order to claim the insurance money. This actor, Eugene Foster, says that he wears a mask and so does everyone else in the world. When the plane experiences engine trouble, Eugene notes that people’s masks are dropping quickly. In order to calm the passengers, Eugene dons the mask of an actor once again and pretends to be a hijacker and the engine’s issue was the result of a terrorist bombing. Of course, once he had people’s attention, he laid it all out and told them to listen to Keaton’s instructions on how to survive an emergency landing. Eugene, who once killed a man in self-defense, decided he wouldn’t play the fool any longer and wished to be the one who fooled others, but after this incident, he once again donned the mask of “The Hero” and had a change of heart.
I enjoyed this story as it had a bit of a deep look into humanity and society. Many people are called fake and ordinary people hide behind different emotions every single day. This chapter takes a bit of a moral look into how the world truly is, but it also reminds us that sometimes wearing a mask has its rewards. A pretty solid chapter to open up the volume!
In chapter two, The Green Fugue, Keaton is now transporting a young man by the name of Michel. All of a sudden, their car is attacked by assassins. Michel’s uncle knew about The Black Triangle, an organization that was performing illegal dumps of industrial waste. He had the documents to prove it and entrusted them to Michel right before he was murdered. Now the assassins from the Black Triangle want those documents and they don’t care if they have to kill Michel to get them. Keaton takes the car off road and the two of them hide out in the woods, but they have an experienced hunter with them who tracks them down. Keaton uses his knowledge about nature, specifically how a wolf will always protect their cubs, to set up their escape.
This was a pretty thrilling chapter and with the help of Keaton, Michel safely escaped to Germany, but the chapter wasn’t very conclusive. There were three assassins chasing them, but only one was dealt with. The fact that they escaped into Germany can only lead to the assumption that the other two assassins fled, but it was never outright stated what happened to them. I would have liked a little more closure from this story, but nevertheless, it was a thrilling chapter to continue the momentum of the volume.
The next chapter I want to highlight is chapter six, Whiskey Cat Village. After the previous chapters featured a pub brawl and a knife fight respectively, this was a nice reprieve from the action, plus I’m a sucker for cats so that gets my thumbs up immediately.
This chapter was a bit unique in the fact that the story was mainly told through the inner monologue of a cat named Beatha. Beatha is another word for whiskey which is derived from the expression “Water of Life.” The reason why the cat was named that was because it used to “work” at the whiskey brewery where it would chase and kill mice. This was detrimental because mice dung would have ruined the fermentation process. The cat was always rewarded with a saucer of cold milk for its job well done. That was in the past, however, and now the cat is just living out the rest of its days in the village. The second part of this story revolves around Sean, son of Mr. Bain. Sean apparently knows a man by the name of Ryan who is suspected for murder. Sean tries to elude police by telling them he saw someone who looks like Ryan board a train, but that didn’t end up fooling the police.
The police find Ryan and Sean together and Ryan immediately feels Sean sold him out. Sean pleads with Ryan to not believe that and even tries to stall the police, but Ryan is still captured. Ryan is, however, proven innocent. For doing what he believes what was right, Sean earned himself his first glass of whiskey, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Bain.
The back half of the chapter was kind of run of the mill. I really wished the entire chapter was told through the cat’s inner monologue as I thought that was an amazing way to tell the story, but this is a mystery manga after all so it was inevitable there would be a case to solve here.
This was another great entry into the Master Keaton series that was filled with action throughout. I liked how Urasawa tried a few new things with this volume, especially with Chapter 6. Although later on, especially in the Angel’s Wings chapter, we revert back to the old formula of a murder taking place and someone claiming innocence. It is difficult to keep an episodic manga running for so long, but even though some of the same plots do appear time and time again, Urasawa continues to try and put new spins on them so that they are fresh and interesting, whether that’s through the characters, through history lessons, or cultural references.
Master Keaton continues to tell great stories in both an interesting and educational way. Every volume is written with intelligence and the seventh volume is no different. If you’re deep into this series as much as I am, then you should find yourself enjoying this volume as you did with its previous entries.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media