Blank Slate 2 by Aya Kanno: B

If there’s one thing notorious criminal Zen can’t stand, it’s being controlled. At the end of the first volume, while he and his doctor companion, Hyakka, were liberating Amatan prisoners from a Galay Army facility, he fell into an involuntary trance after which he awoke with no memory of his violent actions. Now, he resolves to find the person responsible, which means finally getting some answers about his forgotten past.

Said answers are gradually revealed throughout the volume, and manage to be interesting but more or less what I had expected. Perhaps that’s why this volume, like its predecessor, was a little difficult to get into at first. Also, one major revelation that I hadn’t seen coming was telegraphed in advance. Alert readers get suspicious when you only show us parts of someone’s face, you know!

That said, I have to admire the economy of the storytelling—no extraneous information is offered nor is any essential detail lacking—as well as the way the series ends. Aspects of the climactic conclusion are melodramatic, but I like that we actually end up rooting for Zen, even after witnessing the evil of which he is capable.

Blank Slate presents an entertaining and thought-provoking story, even if the execution stumbles here and there. And at two volumes, it’s short and affordable. An afternoon spent on this series would not be wasted.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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