Associate Professor Akira Takatsuki’s Conjecture (manga) Volume 2 Review

Associate Professor Akira Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 2 starts where Volume 1 left off, as two students of folklore professor Akira come to him for help. Akira couldn’t be happier to have a new case, and he starts investigating with his student Naoya’s help.

However, the truth about the case also brings to light the true power (or curse) that Naoya possesses: to hear when other people are lying. Naoya is readying himself for another rejection as that is what people do when they discover his secret but Akira surprises him. It seems that the folklore professor has a paranormal secret too, one that Naoya wants to find out about, although it might be more scary than he initially thinks. If both the professor and Naoya can uncover what really happened to them when they were young, they might find the proof that monsters, demons, ghosts and so many more mythological creatures exist.

But these secrets are what cements their partnership, and only solving more paranormal cases will bring Naoya and Akira closer to the truth.

This volume covers three cases that our main protagonists need to solve. While the storyline gives Case Closed vibes, in Associate Professor Akira Takatsuki’s Conjecture we verge on the genre of magical realism. The cases that Akira and Naoya investigate are reports of paranormal sightings, but many times what they uncover is a criminal offence that assumes a magical connotation to hide what is really happening. Akira is used to getting into dangerous situations, but this time Naoya is with him, and he’s quite stubborn. But at least it is thanks to this that we, as the readers, and Naoya find out what happened to Akira when he was a child and where his obsession with folklore and paranormal stuff stems from. This also explains Akira’s fear of birds, which is briefly mentioned in Volume 1, but in this volume becomes a turning point in the progression of the story.

Both Akira and Naoya suffer from trauma from their childhood, and they believe it to be supernatural to explain Naoya’s power to hear lies and the scars on Akira’s back. They don’t know yet if that’s the case, but they want to find out anyway. They are both the type of person that can’t shy away from a mystery or a crime, if it turns out to be the latter. While Volume 1 introduced the characters to us and set up Akira and Naoya’s temporary partnership, it’s in Volume 2 where everything gets clarified and the series’ protagonists open up to each other and truly connect.

The pace of the story is fast. It’s during each case that hints are dropped about the past and the possibility that supernatural creatures exist. The author, Migake Sawamura, does an amazing job in intertwining reality with elements from folklore, thus not giving a clear answer about the existence of mythological beings. By how the story is going so far, I don’t believe we’ll need to wait for many volumes before we get a concrete proof if the series is more ‘realistic’ or ‘supernatural’.

In just a couple of volumes, the growth of the protagonists is noticeable, especially for Naoya. He’s spent most of his life alone due to his power, as people tended to stay away when they learn what he’s capable of. But since meeting Akira, he’s started to open up—not just toward the professor, but also to a senpai, Akira’s buddy in the police force, and it seems that a classmate will soon turn into a friend too.

The narration reads smoothly even when the lettering changes to describe the lies that Naoya hears. The author doesn’t need to explicitly tell us when a lie is said as the art shows it to the readers. The volume is introduced with a few full-colour pages before continuing to black-and-white illustrations. As with Volume 1, the translator, Katelyn Smith, makes sure to clarify terms from Japan’s history and folklore to the readers who might not be familiar with them. The cover shows Akira and Naoya, and once reading this volume the poses they assume make perfect sense—Naoya with his hand on his ear to indicate when someone is lying, and Akira’s with his back turned toward the reader, as that’s where his scars are hidden.

Associate Professor Akira Takatsuki’s Conjecture is written by Mikage Sawamura with illustrations by Toji Aio, and character design by Jiro Suzuki. The series started as a light novel, and it has also been developed as a TV series. The manga is published by Yen Press in the English language, and Volume 3 is slated for release in April 2024.

Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK. 

7 / 10


Number 1 fan of Solo Leveling who also happen to be a self-proclaimed bookworm with a special love for manga and YA, romance and fantasy books. I'm currently obsessed with Korean webtoons.

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