Fire Investigator Nanase 4 by Izo Hashimoto and Tomoshige Ichikawa: B+

Nanase Takamine is a fire investigator, a job at which she not only excels but also approaches with a dogged determination to discover the truth. In this volume, she’s on the case of a fatal fire at the home of an elderly, wealthy man with three suspicious children, and later must determine why an experienced arsonist made a beginner’s mistake.

Nanase is, in a way, haunted by a notorious arsonist called Firebug, who seems to turn up at every crime scene, provides clues that point Nanase in the right direction, and is possibly responsible for the fire that killed her parents seven years ago. Their interactions are the highlight of this series, with Firebug increasingly insisting that Nanase turn to administering vigilante justice, either against arsonists or, more recently, against a detective who seems to know Firebug’s true identity.

Usually, the Firebug scenes overshadow Nanase’s investigations, but the first case in this volume proves more interesting than most, managing to sneak in some character development and surprises with a cast that’s only around for four chapters or so. This improvement, coupled with intriguing glimpses of the detective’s suspicions, means that the fourth volume of Fire Investigator Nanase is its best so far.

Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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