Random Manga Theatre 90: ABLE

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: ABLE, by Itou Akihiro

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Well, here’s a bit of a strange one. Normally, I wouldn’t feature a manga where the chapters are all less than ten pages, but ABLE stands out enough that I was interested. Alternatively, I was feeling especially lazy this week and didn’t want to read and write about something with actual substance. Take your pick as to which.

ABLE‘s most obvious point of interest is its lack of dialogue. Throughout the twelve chapters I was able to read, there were probably less than ten spoken lines, and the bulk that was in untranslated Spanish between two Mexican police officers. Everything else is basically a lot of action scenes reminiscent of Black Lagoon, full of massive shoot-outs and ridiculous action-movie stunts. For example, one chapter involves a man leaping out of a plane only to be pursued by a woman, who manages to shoot him dead mid-air and claim his parachute to safely drift back to the ground, all with nary a word.

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If you think this sounds like it would make the plot hard to follow, you’d be right. ABLE feels like a bunch of disconnected action scenes, and it doesn’t really stick to any one characters for more than a few chapters. That is, unless you count inanimate objects as characters. The camera tends to follow a mysterious revolver, marked with the (grammatically incorrect) Spanish phrase “Que sera, sera”. By seeming fate, this gun manages to travel from the Arizona desert to the forests of Japan, crossing paths with some of the other characters multiple times. Apparently, most of these characters are actually from the mangaka‘s other work, Wilderness (or at least the margins keep loudly advertising it), so perhaps reading that would shed some light on the situation, but I couldn’t find it on any of the shady manga sites I usually use.

Verdict: Russian Roulette

While I like explosive action sequences, ABLE is pretty much nothing but those, for better or worse. It’s interesting to see a manga that implies its story without the use of dialogue, but that ends up making the whole thing feel disjointed. That may be intentional, as far as I know, considering the number of advertisements for Wilderness (actually, I’ve heard that ABLE was the mangaka keeping busy while his actual manga was on hiatus), but it’s still rather off-putting. If you want to read something that just has a lot of pointless action without any silly plot to tie it down, give this one a shot.

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