By Leroy Douresseaux
November 13, 2006 - 12:16
Al Foster is a P.I. (private investigator), and he even runs his own agency, Al Foster Private Detective Agency, out of his apartment. He experiences a life altering and career changing experience with the arrival of Rai Spencer, a 13-year old son of the billionaire Spencer family. Rai is a child prodigy (having finished graduate school at 13) and a typical smart aleck teenager, but he also has telekinetic powers. He uses powerful blast of TK to knock down anyone who stands in his way or tries to hurt him.
Rai wants Al to find out who has been trying to kill him for the past month, but he doesn't come alone. His sister, Rei Spencer, a girl who packs a mean left hook, arrives in the picture. She thinks Rai's would-be assassin is none other than their older brother, Rou Spencer, who runs the family's company, Spencer Financial. Before long, Rai and Rei have moved in with Al, much to his chagrin, but there is truth to their fears. Someone is trying to kill Rai, and they may also be targeting Rei.
RA-I was a short Manga series from Sanami Matoh, the creator of Fake, and RA-I is short enough to have been collected in a single volume. Divided into four acts (or chapters), RA-I is similar to a serial TV drama, but with a fantastic edge. The romantic bickering, the murder mystery subplots, and detective setting make it something like ABC's popular romantic mystery series, "Moonlighting." Leave it to the Japanese to add the paranormal element, so this ends up like "Hart to Hart" mixed with NBC's new hit, "Heroes."
That actually makes RA-I a bit strange and awkward. It really is like a romance Manga plopped in the middle of a detective setting, but throw in the paranormal, and RA-I comes across as two separate Manga, or least one Manga with a large growth attached to it. Matoh, as an artist, seems more of an illustrator than a comic book artist because his draftsmanship leans more towards single illustrations rather than sequential narrative.
Manga fans who like mystery scenarios and squabbling couples will find something to like in this odd title, and as a fan of "Moonlighting," I wouldn't mind seeing more of these characters.