Title: Queen’s Quality Vol. 1
Author: Kyousuke Motomi
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
This may be the first volume of Queen’s Quality, but it is actually the fourth volume of an ongoing series. Queen’s Quality is the sequel series to QQ Sweeper and the story is simply a continuation of the previous series. Here, Fumi is living with Kyutaro at the Horitaka mansion as a Sweeper. A Sweeper is someone who enters another person’s mind to clean out phantasmal bugs which can control a person or, under severe circumstances, kill them.
In the prequel series (as in this one as well), Fumi has amnesia, but Kyutaro recognized her as a girl he was in love with a long time ago named Fuyu. To help with her amnesia, they call in a hypnosis specialist by the name of Takaya Kitahara. Takaya warns Kyutaro that the black queen resides within Fumi and that the Bug Handlers, an organization that preys upon the weak and infests them with the phantasmal bugs, is targeting her in order to awaken the black queen. The black queen has the power to control anyone and everyone with words and that would be a disaster should the mindset of the queen’s host is tainted.
This reintroduces us to Ataru, one of the Bug Handlers. He’s searching for someone to manipulate. He finds someone at Fumi’s school, Ms. Hayashi, who happens to be a teacher. She attacks Fumi after picking on Miki Kokubo, a young girl who loves photography. The situation is enough to awaken the black queen within her. Fumi, as the black queen, forces Ms. Hayashi to keep her eyes open, causing intense pain. She is about to order Ms. Hayashi to gouge her own eyes out with a pair of scissors when Kyutaro arrives and snaps her out of it. The volume ends with Takaya stating that this was to be expected, but the black door leading to the abyss inside of Fumi’s mind has not been opened yet, but it may be a matter of time.
I really liked QQ Sweeper and Queen’s Quality just jumps right in and takes off where QQ Sweeper left off. Motomi made sure to give some backstory, but if you hadn’t read the first series, you may end up a little lost because some of the plot points were written in a way where previous knowledge of QQ Sweeper is pretty much required. The art style was also improved from the first series and looks a lot cleaner, which is a good thing! I didn’t think they would go right into the black queen immediately, but they did and that’s what really made things interesting!
Fumi received the most development here as she is starting to take her cleaning duties a bit more seriously now. She’s still a bit of a slacker and those in the Horitaka household still do more cleaning that she does, but her determination is there. There was one point where she was presented a test and, ultimately, failed it because she couldn’t keep her mind clear enough to focus on cleaning out a club room at school. Kyutaro had to come to her rescue which caused her to fail the test, but it also reaffirmed Kyutaro’s pledge to always protect her.
Speaking of Kyutaro, while not much about his personality as a character has changed, he did have a moment where he was called out for wearing a “mask” of sorts. His anti-social attitude at school is simply a façade as is his hiding his feelings for Fumi. Despite this, even though it’s not stated, it’s implied that he is experiencing some inner turmoil when he’s told that he can never tell Fumi the truth about being Fuyu. While this doesn’t seem significant now, I’m betting that this is going to end up being a major plot point in a future volume. I’m just assuming here that Kyutaro will become infested at some point and Fumi is going to have to save him and that may awaken the black queen inside of her. Just my guess, though, but that one simply nuance about his character leads me to believe that we may end up going in that direction.
Takaya Kitahara is a new character to the series and I already love his personality. He’s pretty straightforward when it comes to doing things and he does seem like a bit of a jerk, but he’s not actually a jerk… if that makes any sense. He has an upbeat side to him and while he does often wear a smile, he’s quite serious in everything that he does. I can tell he will end up playing a pretty big role, but right now, he’s playing the role of the observer more than anything. It’ll be interesting to see how his character develops as the story moves forward!
If you haven’t read the three volumes of QQ Sweeper, I highly suggest doing so. While this is branded under the Shojo Beat label of VIZ Media, this reads more like a sci-fi battle manga more than a romantic story. Sure, there is romance all over the place between Fumi and Kyutaro, but the heart of this story is mainly about the Bug Handlers and the Sweepers with the awakening of the Black Queen stuck in the middle of it all. Plus, the concept of traversing through people’s minds via gateways and cleaning out phantasmal insects is a pretty interesting concept.
I’m happy that Queen’s Quality is finally here stateside as I’ve been waiting for this series for a while now. The sequel series has not disappointed with its first volume and it was a great reminder of why I liked QQ Sweeper so much. I definitely think people should give this series a chance as this is one that may fly under the radar a bit.
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media