I’ve been following this manga series for a while, and I think I was starting to go off of it since it’s pretty consistently dark but often interesting, and the balance was getting lost. It’s back. The premise is that in this world there are people with special powers that often have something to do with the real literary individual they are named for. The main group of characters are a bunch of misfits who work at a detective agency, the Armed Detective Agency, and boy are they in trouble right now. They’ve been split up, and all on the run for things like being framed for murder. There are at least 3 antagonist types involved, just in this one volume, including the Port Mafia, a rival group they are supposedly having a truce with, the Hunting Dogs a group of 5 very scary skilled fighters sent to take them in, and the main villain of a previous arc, Fitzgerald who may or may not be selling them out right now. Much more detail would be spoilers, and that’s not counting Dostoyevsky who might just be the mastermind behind it all.
There is a big focus on Yosano, who has been something of a minor character so far; here we get her backstory which involves a nastier member of the mafia, the military 14 years in the past during some kind of world-altering scale conflict (making Yosano about 10 years old in the flashback section), and a skill that lets her heal anyone who is close to death. She also comes face to face at the end with one of the antagonist groups named above.
One thing I do wish this volume had was a reminder of who is who, which a lot of manga often do at the beginning, and it’s frequently unnecessary but in this case, I’d have liked the reminder since there is a pretty big cast of characters.
The thing I’ve long appreciated is the literary elements which is always there but the allusions require you to really know a bit about the author in question to get the connections between the character/skill and the real literary figure. Some earlier volumes thankfully had some end notes to this end, which for the Japanese names that featured heavily in the beginning I really needed. I’ve also noticed, upon introduction of the western names I do recognize more readily, that the characters tend to at least vaguely resemble their historical name-sakes. There’s story, suspense, and really interesting characterization, if you can get past the often violent and frequent cliffhanger types of endings most volumes seem to have.