Sweeping takes on a whole new meaning in Queen’s Quality, vols. 1-2 by Kyousuke Motomi. A sweeper in this universe doesn’t just tidy a house, but cleanses the soul of bugs that infest human beings. They also help clear the mind of negative energy and harmful spirits. The story centers on Fumi Nishioko, who is destined to be either the white queen or the black queen. The black queen has the ability to control minds and force people to do whatever she wishes. The white queen uses her powers for good. There are forces that want Fumi to become the black queen, but she is protected by her fellow sweeper Kyutaro.
Kyutaro is Fumi’s love, but she has lost her memory of him. Kyutaro is warned that if Fumi regains her memories and remembers their love, she will turn into the black queen. Takaya, one of the sweeper’s allies, decides to test Fumi by provoking her into releasing the black queen. He pours gasoline over some plants and sets them on fire. The black queen side of Fumi surfaces and directs him to stick his hand into the fire. Kyutaro embraces her and his words change her back to her old self.
In volume 2, Fumi’s abilities are tested as she is asked to aide a teacher who has been taken over by a mother bug. On the way to the classroom, she runs into another sweeper named Hanako. It turns out that this is actually her arch nemesis, Ataru, in disguise. Ataru is trying to bring back the black queen. He tries to convince Fumi to bring out the black queen and destroy the infected teacher. Fumi decides she needs to pull the queen out. She goes into a state where she has to choose between two doors, signifying her internal conflict. The black door tempts her with negative thoughts, while the white door tempts her with a wish. The wish comes with a price, though, that may prove to be quite costly. When Fumi reenters the classroom, Ataru notes that a queen has taken over her body—but it is not the black queen nor the true queen. That leaves the reader wondering who or what possessed Fumi and what its intentions are.
Motomi uses shading to represent the inner feelings of her characters. For instance, Fumi’s dark side is signaled by the pages darkening into black and dark grey shades, indicating that negative feelings have permeated her mind. When Fumi is happy and positive, the pages have little to no shading. One thing that detracted from my enjoyment of the story was the amount of text that fills the panels. It slows down the action and makes it hard to breeze through the story.
Queen’s Quality has a good mix of horror, comedy, and romance, and would be a good addition to any teen manga collection. Libraries and collectors might want to consider purchasing QQ Sweeper which is the prequel to this manga. If I had read QQ Sweeper beforehand, I think it would have filled in a lot of the back story. Without it, I didn’t feel as strong of a connection to the story or have a clear understanding of what a sweeper is.
Queen’s Quality, vols. 1-2
by Kyousuke Motomi
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9781421592442
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9781421595085
Viz Media, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: Teen