“Blade of the Immortal” certainly had plenty of irreverent moments strewn throughout its thirty-one volumes. In reading mangaka Hiroaki Samura’s other works it becomes clear that’s his default mindset and he was doing his best to suppress it while working on his magnum opus. While such irreverence can get a little wearying at times and occasionally sabotage some of the drama, the humor it brings is usually worth it. That’s the case here with the first two (digital-release-only) volumes of “Wave” as we’re introduced to Minare Koda and her complicated life situation. She’s currently working part-time at a curry restaurant whose boss is unforgiving of her eccentricities and is reeling from the fact that her last boyfriend disappeared after she loaned him 500,000 yen (around $5,000). This leads her to drunkenly vent her broken heart to a complete stranger at a bar, one who turns out to be a producer at a local radio station. Kanetsugu, the producer, was apparently so impressed by her rambling that he recorded it and plays it on his station which happens to be the one constantly piped into the restaurant where Minare works. Furious, she heads over to the station to give him a piece of her mind and winds up on the dubious but potentially rewarding road to radio stardom.
How well you enjoy “Wave” will likely come down to your thoughts on Minare herself. She’s very much a hot mess of a person, prone to coming home drunk in other people’s apartments, and even Kanetsugu (kinda accurately) remarks at one point that she’d probably be better liked if she kept her mouth shut. But Minare is also incredibly passionate about whatever she does and very quick to think on her feet. It’s because of these things that I was able to believe that Minare could make it as a radio personality, while also leading to some nerve-wracking tension about how she would respond once her boyfriend shows up again. The story can also get pretty goofy at some points, witness the sound effects people known as Piggsy and Chimpsy for obvious reasons, and while Samura’s art is mostly sharp there are more than a few panels to let you know that he was up against a deadline as he was drawing it. This all adds up to “Wave” having a rambling charm in my opinion and being a title worth checking out for those appreciative of the mangaka’s quirks.