Manga Review: Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation’ Volume One by Yoshiyuki Nishi on Blogcritics.

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Volume One is a manga written and illustrated by Yoshiyuki Nishi, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading this first volume, I would agree with this rating.

Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Volume 1
Written by: Yoshiyuki Nishi
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 2, 2007

The main characters of the series are Toru Muhyo and Jiro Kusano, and the pair runs a bureau of supernatural investigation. Muhyo is a short guy, and he’s a specialist in supernatural law. He’s an executor, which allows him to use magic law and perform exorcisms. Jiro, a tall boy who goes by Roji, is his assistant; however, he is only at the second clerk rank, so he is unable to perform magic law.

Over the course of this volume, Muhyo and Roji work together to solve the cases that come their way. During this volume, a young woman needs help with the ghost of a girl who haunts a track at the train station, an elderly woman who runs a student dormitory that appears to be haunted, a young woman who believes her home is haunted, Roji has an encounter with a haunted chair, and a boy who believes the pair to be a sham and goes to a haunted temple.

In addition to these stories, there is a special one-shot story that is included in this volume. The one-shot features a young woman named Kaya Onodera coming to ask Muhyo and Roji to help her. A young man who had been stalking her was killed in a car accident, and she believes his ghost is haunting her home.

After reading all of the stories that appeared in this volume, it felt as if Nishi was relying on a formula for most of them. The one about Roji and the haunted chair and the boy who goes to the haunted temple are the exceptions to this; otherwise, all of the others seem to follow a formula. Basically, a client comes to see Muhyo and Roji and tell about their problem, the pair go to investigate, some backstory is revealed about the client that relates to the ghost, the ghost makes its appearance, and then Muhyo uses his power to exorcise the ghost.

While I thought the premise had potential, I thought that the overall execution wasn’t as strong as it could have been. If Nishi didn’t rely so heavily on a formula for the stories, I might have appreciated this volume more. Hopefully in later volumes, Nishi won’t rely so much on a formula in order to tell Muhyo and Roji’s stories.

When it comes to the art in this volume, I can say that while it’s not bad, I have seen better art in other manga that I have read. Between the art and the reliance on formulaic storytelling, I’m personally not in a hurry to read more volumes of the series. However, if you enjoy stories about the supernatural and ghost exorcisms, and don’t mind formulaic storytelling, then you’ll probably find something to like in Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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