In my review of vol. 2 I made a number of predictions about what we could expect to see in this concluding volume. This is how they panned out:
“[T]hings ending with the death and/or imprisonment of the members of the Paperboy group.”
Right on both counts, actually. Not everyone makes it to the finale. Even for those that do, prison isn’t the end of their stories.
“[T]he ambitions of the politician exposed as a fraud.”
His suffering was delicious. Probably the high point of the volume for me.
“[P]olice lieutenant Yoshino commenting on the group’s demise with an unexpected amount of regret.”
She does this a couple times, actually.
“[A] rebellious act by one or more persons involving the internet to show that the spirit of Paperboy lives on.”
Unless you’re being generous and counting the offhand reference to other idiots on the internet at the end, then this one was a swing-and-a-miss for me.
This is actually a pretty good analogy for my feelings towards the final volume as a whole. Mostly predictable and satisfying with a few surprises along the way. I can’t say that they were all welcome surprises. The revelation as to what the members of Paperboy were really up to feels like a bit of a bait-and-switch considering their revolutionary rhetoric up until now. However, I’m willing to cut mangaka Tetsuya Tsutsui some slack as it was unlikely that they were going to succeed in the first place. Then you’ve got the fact that as this was a big internet stunt where its organizers were being shady about the truth of their actions, and that actually feels more plausible than less.
I can’t say that “Prophecy” made for an utterly compelling read, but these three volumes were diverting enough. For all the fuss I made about its predictability, the series wound up on the right side of things in the end. Tsutsui created some interesting protagonists in the Paperboy group as these marginalized individuals utilized some real ingenuity and creativity in order to achieve their goals. Capt. Yoshino and her Anti-Cyber Crimes division could’ve devolved into a mix of straw villains and Keystone Kops, yet they wound up being well-rounded point-of-view characters who displayed some real competency their jobs. Only the victims of Paperboy’s wrath wound up in traditional “bad guy” roles in this title.
I’ve also mentioned how the series has unfolded much like a movie over the course of its run. That remains true here in its third act. Now that all is said and done, I can say that I would go see the “Prophecy” movie if it ever gets made. If nothing else it’d be interesting to observe what they cut out or changed from the source material. Would it remain compelling in and of itself? I dunno about that. I mean, I already know how this prophecy is going to turn out…