Title: For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams Vol. 4 Author: Kei Sanbe Publisher: Yen Press Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 196 Genre: Drama, Mystery Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Volume four of For the Kid I Saw in My Dreams begins the search for the Fire Man. Senri decides to get in contact with Wakazono in order to obtain information. Enan decides to go with him (although she only bluffed about wanting to go hoping Senri would disagree and it backfires so now she’s roped into it) in order to offer a second set of eyes to judge Wakazono to see if he can be trusted. I also agree with Wakazono that typing, let alone, saying his full name is a mouthful so I’ll call him Masa from now on!
Masa and Senri exchange information and this is where we learn of Masa’s past and why he wants to help Senri. The two of them have the same goals but in order for Senri to trust him, he gives him some vital information about the Fire Man… the fact that his crime against Senri’s parents was out of his normal M.O. I’ll spare you the spoilerific details but that information leads Senri and Enan on a trip into the mountains where they discover a shack that could have been or could still be the Fire Man’s hideout.
We see that Masa decided to follow them there unbeknownst to Senri and Enan. Suddenly, there seems to be an explosion in the mountains which worries Masa. We close out the volume with the person, who we believe to be the Fire Man, and Kazuto planning their next job.
Wow… not a lot of action in this volume but the amount of “detective work” here kept things highly interesting. We learned a lot about the Fire Man but, at the same time, we didn’t learn anything. It’s like you’re assembling a puzzle and you found a few key pieces for the center but not enough to understand the entire picture but just enough to see where things are going. You would think an informational volume would be a bit slower-paced in the story department but the pages kept turning themselves as the information gripped you from start to finish!
Lots of development in this volume as we learn of Masa, Enan, and more of Senri’s pasts!
First off with Masa, it seems that his father was murdered by the Fire Man so his goal is the same as Senri’s. He wants to track down and kill the Fire Man with his own hands which is why he reached out to Senri for his help. In addition, we saw the Fire Man in a separate location at the same time as Senri so that rules out Masa being the Fire Man. Because of this, I do believe that Masa can be trusted which was one of the big stigmas surrounding his character in this volume. I guess this now creates a race between Masa and Senri as to who will get to and kill the Fire Man first… if that even happens at all. In about 95% of the manga industry… people with a goal to kill a bad guy never go through with it because “But… I’ll just be the same as him!” So, we’ll see.
We learned about Enan’s past and how her father was arrested and how that arrest really plagued her mother’s mind. Things got really deep for Enan’s mother to the point where she just couldn’t take it anymore. The result of her actions caused Enan to head to Red Leaf Orphanage where she met Senri. It was also revealed that, for a brief period, Masa was also a part of that very same orphanage which was another reason why he wanted to help Senri. Still, after seeing Enan’s past, you really just want to reach out and hug her.
Finally, with Senri, I can’t say too much but the new information he received about the Fire Man was enough to drive him forward in his search. His grandfather really does care about his well-being but he also became an intermediary to help push the Senri x Enan relationship. He requested that Enan stay by Senri’s side and even though it was meant to be taken as “protect Senri,” it was worded in such a way where we all knew what he meant. Still, Senri’s motivation and drive only increased in this volume as he’s getting closer and closer to discovering the truth!
Lastly, the Fire Man is REVEALED…. Sort of. We don’t have a name but we do have an image of him. I had to sigh heavily because this is where Kei Sanbe needs to learn how to draw more diversely. The Fire Man ended up looking like every other generic male character he has ever drawn. Tite Kubo had the same problem which made every male character look like a different skin for Captain Aizen. Here, Kei Sanbe’s way of drawing male characters, especially generic ones just made the Fire Man his Captain Aizen equivalent. If you’ve see one generic male character from Kei Sanbe, you’ll know exactly how the Fire Man looks without ever seeing him once.
Volume four lets up on the momentum but it doesn’t actually feel like it does. Even though this was an informational volume, the information presented was so interesting, it kept you turning the pages. It hooked you and didn’t let you go until there was nothing left to read but the back cover of the volume. This was a great example of how to do an informational volume right. You string the reader along with just enough clues all while advancing the story in the background. The search for the Fire Man has been really interesting but even with all of the information we were given, there is still a LOT of unanswered questions.
Generic drawing skills aside, Kei Sanbe is crafting a great story here and I can definitely see him learning from some of the mistakes he made in ERASED. By showing us who the Fire Man is early without revealing who he is, does take the shock out of finding out what his true identity is somewhere but, at the same time, even with knowing a face, you still want to know more about him. It is a different approach than ERASED and, honestly, I think this is an approach that is working out much better for him in the long run.
It’s a concept of “hiding in plain sight”
It even fits the clues they gave in this volume about how a criminal usually hides by blending in with society. Sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight and since Fire Man looks so generic, it plays off of that very same notion stated in the volume. Maybe there is a method to this Captain Aizen madness after all!