Hey Baltimorians. Long time no see right. Well since Otakon was so long ago, let’s catch up on some old times with a new series. This time we cover Stealth Symphony.
Stealth Symphony is a manga that elicits mixed emotions. The manga as a whole was great, but it didn’t feel that way at the beginning. Like rhythm in music, the tempo tends to change, shifting for better or worse. To start, Stealth Symphony is a manga by Ryohgo Narita, the same person that created Durarara! and Baccano. With the reputation that those two series bring to the table, there was an expectation of great things. The beginning just didn’t seem to hold that up.
The story starts out with the main character (Seig) going to Jinbo-cho, a city that has almost every mythical beast you’ve heard of, and some you haven’t, jam-packed into this futuristic settlement that somehow keeps its harmony despite apparently daily mayhem, giant robot attacks and random assassinations. He enters the city trying to find someone to help him and falls prey to an “accident.” Only he doesn’t fall prey to it as his “problem” takes the “accident” and reflects it back on the invoker. Seig’s “problem” is the reason he’s come looking for someone to help. He’s got a Legacy stuck to his back. Legacies are these trinkets that were left over from some past war with dragons when they enslaved everyone. Now that the dragons are gone, beaten back to somewhere, the legacies sell for big bucks. Seig’s legacy however just causes him problems as he has no control over it. So after some sound advice from the locals, he goes to a protection agency where he meets Alice and the invisible masked man, Yabusame. Seig request isn’t for protection of himself though, it’s protection of the city from him. Apparently, there’s was some trauma from trying to interact with folks from his home town that resulted in his family’s demise. Yabusame takes the job, and the two pal around before another “accident.” Then of course, we find out that Yabusame isn’t really an invisible man; he’s an invisible dragon.
The story overall is twenty chapters that starts off on the main story, then kind of deviates. Seig’s story gets all kinds of new characters and it becomes a bit hard to keep up with them all, or how important they are to the story. As the main character, it kind of seemed a sour note that Seig wasn’t more engaging. He himself started out as so average even with the legacy, and it felt that Yabusame would be a better main character. There was so much focus on Seig though through the side story arcs that while it was entertaining, it was also kind of annoying. Seig was already pretty much too powerful and really nothing could stop him. But that’s where Ryohgo’s story writing skills showed their brightest. The main story returned with a vengeance and moved swiftly to show you that things weren’t what they seemed. Without spoiling too much, there is a much unforeseen twist in Seig that flips everything on its head. It was incredibly sad that the manga only ran from February to July. It expressly felt that way because of all the characters that got introduced then seemed to get very hurt in the end. It seemed like there was so much story left to tell. But all the same, Ryohgo did a fantastic job of wrapping things up and making us feel for all major characters involved -- except for Alice who in the end really got nothing resolved.
The story really has a lot of upbeat moments and low boring crescendos. Seig’s character in the beginning was a major nag personally, but by the end, it was understood why and made Seig unforgettable by comparison. Even Yabusame that seemed all powerful seemed to be brought low. The flipping of positions in such the way made for great storytelling. In the end though, the only complaint is that there was a wish that it could have gone on longer. The story was amazing. The artistry, while appealing to a kiddy playful style turned so dark and impactful by the end. It left you wanting more. But sadly, that is the business of manga and anime alike. Still, it had a great run. So if you get a chance, if you haven’t already, check out the harmonizing chorus of Stealth Symphony. Then see if you can find out how many musical puns stuck in this article. Until next time all. Keep reading, keep watching, and keep being the amazing otaku’s you are.