Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Manga review- Zodiac P.I. by Natsumi Ando

The main character of the series is 13-year-old Lili Hoshizawa (星沢リリ Hoshizawa Lili), who uses horoscopes and astrology to solve crimes, accompanied and assisted by her male childhood friend Hiromi after he returns from ten years spent in America for college. Lili uses the Star Ring to tell fortunes and, at times, to transform into the disguise of "Detective Spica", in which no one recognizes her, except Hiro (such transformations are a common staple of Magical Girl manga). The ring was left to Lili by her mother, who used it previously to transform into Detective Spica; one of Lili's long-term goals is to discover what happened to her missing mother. Using this ring, Lili has to try to solve many cases including the first published one, about Chihiro, a murdered girl in her class.

Her other cases take her around to different places from a piano school, to a fortune telling TV studio, to a wedding. She solves cases with Hiromi's help.

To solve crimes, she will figure out the birth date of the victims and then their signs such as Leo, Virgo, etc. Next, using the power of the ring, she will call upon the spirit of that person's sign. Then she'll ask for the horoscope of the victim on a specific date that is connected to the crime. Along with the horoscope, the spirit will give her a clue so she can solve the crime.

Lili Hoshizawa is an aries, by the way and has the typical traits of the sign. She is impulsive, enthusiastic and always in search of action. Her friend Oikawa, who is her partner in crime solving, is a super genius with a degree in criminal psycology from USA (he's only 13). However, a degree is forensic science would have been more appropriate as he did not seem to have a very good hold on psycology. He helps Lili solve cases with his reasoning powers and logical ability.

Their pairing is quite interesting and it turns out that they were childhood friends ten years ago before Oikawa moved to the US. Lili and Oikawa's relationship progresses well throughout the story and is a source of amusement and tension.

The 'mysteries' or 'cases' are rather amateur, unlike a lot of detective manga like Detective conan or Detective school Q, the focus is not on solving the crime using logical deductions, clues and complex reasoning but rather using a star ring with twelve zodiac sign spirits. This story is more like a 'magical girl' manga with mystery elements. Don't go in expecting mind-bending cases.

It is quite short, but enjoyable. Though not a dark mystery like Arisa (also by the same author), it is very lighthearted and comic, though it gets a bit serious near the end.


Illustrations are beautiful
Characters are funny and interesting

Cases are not very challenging (this cannot really be a con, because the story is supposed to be a light, magical girl type manga with mystery elements. However, when I started reading it, I was looking for a detective/thriller manga like detective conan, so it was a bit of a surprise)
It is quite short. I would have liked to see more of the spirits and Lili

Note- Images have been taken from various sources using google image search and do not belong to me.

NOTE- The english version is currently out of print as a result of the closure of Tokyopop in USA

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