I remember a long time back there was a Spiral anime I was considering watching, and someone online told me not to even bother because it’s a mystery where you don’t even get to see the ending. However, in Yen Press’s anthology magazine I saw that one of the editors was talking about how Spiral was her family member’s favorite series. A few months later I was going through my favorite manga review blogs and saw that one of them had REALLY enjoyed Fallen Vampire. The series (Fallen Vampire) was cheap used, and the review had gotten my interest so I purchased and loved it. The whole time I was reading Fallen Vampire the covers all had “from the creator of Spiral” all over them. So, as soon as I was done with Fallen Vampire I went out and purchased Spiral too…
“Two years ago, Ayumu Narumi’s older brother Kiyotaka, a famous detective and pianist, disappears without a trace. Ayumu’s only clue as to his brother’s whereabouts is the phrase “Blade Children,” the only words Ayumu could make out in Kiyotaka’s final phone call. Now in high school, Ayumu becomes involved in solving in a series of murders and other incidents, all related to the Blade Children. Together with his school’s journalist, Hiyono Yuizaki, and the unwilling assistance of his sister-in-law, Madoka, Ayumu tries to figure out who the Blade Children are and what are their goals.” ~Wikipedia
Initially I was really enjoying this series, I was very curious about the Blade Children and their origins. But I started to lose interest after the first few volumes. And before I knew it I was just pushing myself through the series to learn what the mystery of everything was, but not because I was really enjoying myself anymore. I stalled on the series at 11 volumes a few months ago, and didn’t bother to read the last 4 volumes until recently. All the characters are placed on a stage where they dance out their over dramatic script, normally I wouldn’t mind this but something about the stage of Spiral made it so that I never forgot that they’re on a stage. I suppose an analogy might be that…I go to see a play and rather than just focusing on the actors…the curtains, ropes, and stage hands are also still there in my peripheral vision stopping me from being completely absorbed. Perhaps as a result, I felt like the background story all these events were built on were shaky and didn’t make much sense as I’d like. In manga I frequently feel sucked into the story to the point where their world makes some sense, and lets face it if you love anime/manga you get sucked into some TRULY wacky worlds. So every time some crazy scene happened, rather than see the situation through the eyes of the character and take it seriously…I’m sitting he wondering why everyone doesn’t just stop going crazy and have a nice long chat.
(Fun Side Moment: Sometimes I don’t realize how absolutely absorbed I get by a fictional world, and how weird the setting really is until I try and describe what I’m watching/reading to a friend “You see he’s a leopard man because he ate the Cat-Cat Leopard fruit and that guy can stretch because he ate the Gum-Gum fruit…” or “Well you see it’s ok because she’s actually hundreds of years old, she only looks so young because…” Although I admit I don’t often need to explain the latter situation often, I rarely try series that have a moe feel by the current definition)
Another issue I had with the series is that…I didn’t like the main character Narumi. He was everything I should like in a main character in a mystery series, a loner, a genius, caring, and sarcastically humorous. But somehow all of his qualities didn’t balance out quite right for me, everyone in the series kept being more and more amazed by him…and their amazement reached a point where he was pretty much designated as a God/Savior. I just didn’t see it, the more the fictional characters loved him, the less I did. Hiyono was a good character though, although her jokes/gags got a bit repetitive she was what allowed me to tolerably finish this series. Plus I think her braids are absolutely lovely.
Now I can’t say that this series wasn’t unique, because it certainly was unique, and the ending was something that most mangaka wouldn’t have the nerve to do. But the jist of what the ending this series was going to be was reasonably easy to guess by the last few volumes because all of the hints dropped along the way. The big ending reveal moment wasn’t as unexpected as what I’d have liked to have experienced, a bit less foreshadowing would have made it a lot better for me. Despite not being as surpised as I would have liked, I’ll definitely say that the ending was the best part of this series. But Fallen Vampire is by far the more enjoyable series for me, I can somehow feel the depth of those characters a lot more than I did in Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning. BUT if someone wanted to give this Spiral a try, I say go for it. Spiral has a alot of the elements that make up a great series. Perhaps this is just a situation of personal preference, and many out there would love Spiral and dislike Fallen Vampire. But if someone comes to me asking for a good mystery manga, I probably will mention other series and completely forget to say anything about Spiral. But I think my #1 mystery manga may always be the Kindaichi Case Files.