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Review of “Glitch Vol. 1 (2023)” by Shima Shinya.
Review of "Glitch Vol. 1 (2023)" by Shima Shinya.

Review of “Glitch Vol. 1 (2023)” by Shima Shinya.

“Brother and sister, Minato and Akira Lee, have relocated to a new city, anticipating some changes, but they never expected things to be this unusual! Eerie specters loom over buildings and seamlessly pass through them, yet the townspeople seem unfazed, with some appearing peculiar themselves. After Akira catches sight of a peculiar creature outside her window, she and her newfound companions band together to conduct a search. If no one else can provide an explanation for these eerie occurrences, the investigation club is determined to uncover the truth!” (Yen Press)

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Combining elements of a coming-of-age story with elements of the supernatural, “Glitch” immediately captures the reader’s interest by putting a unique spin on a well-known formula. The concept of a family settling into a new town and adjusting to their new surroundings is a common trope in manga, but this story manages to avoid being repetitive by incorporating captivating elements. Shinya’s distinct artistic style skillfully merges elements of nature and the surreal, creating a truly intriguing manga experience.

There is a sense of intrigue surrounding the town and the mysterious ethereal beings that appear and disappear. It feels innate, almost connected to the imagination of children, but also potentially dangerous for those who are aware of these anomalies. Minato and Akira Lee, siblings, are knowledgeable guides to the town’s lore, forming relationships with those who have grown up with these peculiar occurrences. This blend of self-discovery in a foreign town with an unpredictable atmosphere is a perfect means of establishing the lore and immediately creating a fondness for the characters.

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First released in 2021 and concluding in 2023, the series is now finished and Yen Press will release four volumes. This is significant because it is common for a series with a short run that hints at a larger story to leave readers uncertain about whether it can reach a satisfying conclusion in only a few volumes. However, “Glitch” is one of the rare cases where readers can realistically witness a grand concept unfold positively within its limited span.

Due to its convenient availability, brief duration, and skilled writing that incorporates traditional storytelling with a unique twist from Shinya, one could assume that this series is a success. However, the overall tone feels safe and family-friendly, with the supernatural aspects toned down for a younger audience. This is evident even before considering the artistic style of Shima Shinya.

The visual styling of Shima Shinya is not always complimentary to the story, as was the case in his series “Lost Lad London,” whose clean style did not favor a gritty detective story. Here it is still hard to embrace the commercialized style, which has a softness that feels inspired by the modern Disney aesthetic. Yet, in the cast of “Glitch,” the art is more complimentary and benefits from moments of surrealism. The creatures that appear, or ‘glitches,’ make quite the impact, whether small in stature or large looming creatures that overtake the horizon.

In contrast, the characters may appear simplistic when zooming in on certain features, like their hands. However, this works well for a series centered around the mistakes and adventures of young individuals, as Shinya’s artwork effectively captures their energy. The color panels at the beginning are particularly eye-catching. A complete release in color by Shima Shinya would certainly be worth delving into and praising, given the impressive use of shading and vibrant color scheme, which loses some of its impact when transitioning to black and white.

After reviewing both published works by Shinya Shiima under Yen Press, I can confidently state that the mangaka’s style does not appeal to me, both visually and in content. This holds true despite the story being well-told in the first volume. However, “Glitch” highlights Shinya’s talent in a more favorable manner, making it a more enjoyable read. While Shima Shinya’s unconventional stories may have a specific audience, if the artwork aligns with your taste, I recommend giving it a chance.