“Kei Miyama is a 17-year-old with three secrets: he can talk to cars, he can’t handle pretty girls, and he works as a private investigator.” Wait a minute. Hold the phone. If you’re like me in thinking, “This sounds somewhat familiar. This is going to be similar to Kino’s Journey I bet,” well, you’re off chasing the wrong goose. .
While Kei can speak to cars, they don’t talk back to him the same way Hermes, Kino’s talking motorcycle, does. Kei’s ability is more like how some humans form attachments to inanimate objects and assign feelings to them. The main difference is that the cars Kei talks to “tell” him things he can’t possibly know – like the vehicle’s favorite road or that it hasn’t been washed in six months! It’s not just cars that Kei can talk to either; apparently it’s anything mechanical. He’s also not the only one with special talents, and I get the feeling that everyone’s unique skills will be needed in the future.
Kei works as a private investigator; however, he’s not your typical sleuth tracking down murderers like Detective Conan. Kei’s cases have more heart. Even though the cliffhanger case at the end of this first volume is more personal and may actually hinge on a murder (shhhh…that’s for a later reveal). As for Kei’s lack of being able to handle pretty girls…let’s just say he’s way better equipped to handle his unruly grandfather who’s for the birds.
I think one of my favorite story aspects of Go with the Clouds North-by-Northwest is its sense of discovery. Author, Aki Irie, doesn’t lay all the cards out on the table at once, and with each new character introduction new layers are added. One of those pretty girls Kei doesn’t know how to handle appears in the first chapter and leaves in silence without so much as a hint of who she is, and then she reappears and possess her own unique traits. Kei’s little brother is also first introduced in flashbacks and then when a more grown version is thrust into the spotlight there’s a whole bunch of doubt cast alongside what we already know.
The artwork is pretty spectacular too. Not because it’s grandiose, but because of the little things like simplistic large open landscapes to tiny mechanical details. My favorite part of Irie’s artwork is that of Kei himself. He’s only half-Japanese and even though his character design is on par with your typical Japanese design aesthetics it’s the shape of his face and the build of his tall frame which show off design cues based more on genes rather than aesthetics. These combined subtleties, on both the large and small scale, really feel like so much more.
Go with the Clouds North-by-Northwest is one of those stories that seems pretty simple on the surface, but the more you read on the more you realize you’ve only just begun to peel back the layers of its onion. As it’s only one volume in I will say that there were some awkwardly placed story clusters that felt like they might have been better positioned elsewhere, but at the same time I wonder if this was on purpose somehow. Only time will tell, but this is one of those rare gems which feels like a slow-go, but after the last page you wonder where the time went. I’ll just have to keep wandering on through its pages along with Kei and his Jeep.
Kei Miyama is a 17-year-old with three secrets: he can talk to cars, he can’t handle pretty girls, and he works as a private investigator. One case has him searching for a beloved dog, another involves reuniting a woman with a man she fell for at first sight. And then comes a case that strikes close to home—searching for his own little brother. Tag along as this globe-spanning journey unfolds…Add to CartLearn More