Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning came out way back in 2000. It also has a prequel called Spiral: Alive, but I didn’t read that, so we’re not talking about it. I doubt many of you have heard of this story. It was not exactly what I’d call popular, though it did eventually warrant its own anime series. And for some reason, they gave its opening the most annoying song imaginable.
So if that wasn’t enough to convince you to read the manga over watching the anime, I don’t know what will.
So our story follows one Ayumu Narumi, who is basically a mini Sherlock Holmes. His older brother, Kiyotaka, is more like a super Sherlock Holmes. In fact, Kiyotaka was actually a famous detective (and pianist). Two years ago, Kiyotaka disappeared and left only the cryptic message “Blade Children” as a clue to his whereabouts. The mystery of the story centers on the Blade Children, who are mostly distinguishable from other people by having catlike eyes—which, let’s face it, is not really that odd in manga—and missing a rib bone. And not all Blade Children even have these traits. This can notably cause some problems for Ayumu when identifying them, unless he’s walking around with an x-ray machine.
The Blade Children—the ones we meet, since there’s dozens of them—flock to Ayumu and put him through various tests to see how smart and resourceful he is. Kiyotaka believes that Ayumu will become a savior to them. The Blade Children are hunted by people called Hunters—all the names of different organizations are just that original; can you guess what the Savers and Watchers do too?—and they want to test Ayumu, because they don’t know if he’s capable of saving them from their fate.
What I like about this setup is that the Blade Children are not innocent victims in any of this. Yes, they do need to be saved and they are victims of circumstances, but they’re not nice people. They murder, lie, put Ayumu through deadly traps. Even reading it, I had to wonder what motivation Ayumu would have to help these people out.
Right now, I’m trying to think of a way to explain who the Blade Children are without spoiling the series for you, but that’s the problem with mysteries. Once you know the answer, it’s not a mystery anymore. So unfortunately, you’re going to have to read the series to find that out. Or the Wikipedia page works too. I didn’t have that luxury when I first got into this series. The anime had been out, though it doesn’t resolve that mystery, and the manga at the time had yet to be translated. I can say very much that I love this series, but after being stuck translating the manga by myself to find out what the hell happens, I can also say that I hate this series. But don’t let my bad experience impact your judgment. At least now, some company’s put it in English for you, so you won’t have to struggle like I did.
For the most part, Spiral is just a nice little mystery story involving geniuses, and it’s not epically long like some manga. In fact, despite the opening, the anime’s also really good, and from what I can see from other people, it’s only received positive praise. While that’s not necessarily the sign of a masterpiece, I can say that I don’t have too many bad things to say about it. Going back to the manga, I found the story really engaging, and the characters are a lot of fun. You could probably get through all fifteen some volumes in under a week. A day, even, if you have that much time on your hands. Check it out.