Code: Breaker 2 by Akimine Kaminjyo

Ordinarily, I take the time to write a thorough and logical review of a book. But I’m just going to come right out here and say it: this series sucks. The characters are all over the place, the villains about as eye-rolling a group as cliches as ever walked a manga, the plot hackneyed and unoriginal, and the artwork lacking nuance and interest. Honestly, it is a hot mess.

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Story: Sakura has decided to ‘save’ Oogami – so she follows him around trying to interrupt his ‘burning to ash’. Enter another code breaker – one far less conflicted than Oogami. So Sakura will throw herself in front of him as well. With the help of her puppy.

I checked out both manga at the library at the same time. I was far from enamored by the first volume but thought to give this second one a try in case the story really does get better. Yeah – that didn’t happen. Inexplicably, it got worse. This story has no idea what it wants to be – gritty urban fantasy, comedic shounen ecchi, parable on the modern world featuring conflicted anti hero? It fails to nail any of those and instead recycles every shounen/seinen urban fantasy of the past 10 years.

Perhaps most egregious problem is the protagonist, Sakura. I’m not quite sure why a female manga felt the need to lobotomize her protagonize, but I can’t recall when I’ve been more disgusted by a character in a very long time. It’s a case where I wish Oogami had actually burned her up and saved us her pathetic moralizing diatribes. This should have been a Death Note – edgy, intelligent, and with a morally corrupt lead. But no, not even close – imagine Charlie Brown as a killer and Lucy following him around sermonizing.

The cliches – oh the cliches! Seriously: take the scene where Sakura rushes in to save the villain from being assassinated by Oogami. After pleading for his life, does he repent? Oh heck no, he sneakily waits until her back is turned and then tries to stab her while crowing about his evilness. Really? Worse – this is the *exact* same situation as in book one with the villain in that one. It made me want to bonk my head on my desk.

For me, the only question I didn’t get answered is how no one managed to kill off Sakura and put us out of our misery. Certainly, she threw herself into danger every other panel so there was always hope…..

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