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Manga Review: Shy Vol. 3 (2023) by Bukimi Miki

Miki further proves to be a remarkable storyteller in the superhero genre.

“Still stinging from their Arctic battle, and the other heroes set out in search of new information about the mysterious Amarariruku. Their investigation brings them not only to Spirit's native Russia but to the very orphanage where the carousing crime fighter grew up—and the answers they find there may hit a little closer to home than anticipated…” (Yen Press)

An exciting amalgamation of East and West-inspired superhero comics, “Shy” continues to add depth to its story by building up characters outside of the titular hero. For its third entry in the series, Shy takes the back seat to explore the background of the rambunctious alcoholic Russian hero Spirit. Thankfully, this shift further proves what a remarkable storyteller its creator is, in the superhero genre.

The initial introduction to the various world heroes heavily emphasized stereotypes surrounding those cultures. This was approached in a playful manner that evoked comics from past generations while avoiding being overtly insulting–a well-balanced playfulness. Moreover, reflecting on the rebirth of companies like DC Comics that took curiosities from the golden era and reinvented them, Miki pulls off this shift with her heroes in a gleefully entertaining way.

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Spirit is the real star of this issue, and the combination of a tragic backstory and a new villain who feeds off her insecurities is a fascinating way to explore the character's past while still interjecting exciting action sequences. Miki excels at keeping a frenetic pace while being able to deepen the lore in a way that is both exciting and impactful. There have certainly been hints at Miki's potential throughout the series, but the third volume feels like a creator hitting their stride and fully understanding how to excel in the superhero genre.

This improvement also comes through the action sequences, particularly with one new jester-type baddie who loves to fool those around her with gadgets and faking them out (above). Moreover, Miki easily transitions from action-heavy sequences to introspective backstories with visual clarity. The only slight critique to be levied against the work is the lack of background in a few of the confrontations, but with how much personality is poured into the skirmishes, this is only noticeable when combing through the work a second time. Ultimately, the third volume of “Shy” may only push the story forward slightly, yet it establishes Bukimi Miki as a standout talent through visuals and story.

As a (presently) casual fan of superhero-driven comics, “Shy” tickles my nostalgia for the days I spent hundreds a month at the comic shop for everything DC comics and following stories of absurd heroes and villains being re-invented in exciting ways. Whether others will feel that same passion is hard to say with certainty, but those who have some nostalgia or enjoy American comics in addition to manga should enjoy what Miki has made. Moreover, manga fans who always crave more action and enjoy different takes on the genre should give the title a read–at three volumes, it keeps getting better and better.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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