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Given that Taniguchi is the creator of and artist for many accomplished works of nouvelle manga such as The Walking Man and Ice Wanderer, this mystery manga falls short. The rather uninventive story line finds mountaineer Shiga traveling to Tokyo to find his friend's 15-year-old daughter, who has gone missing. Taniguchi, whose usual work reflects a fascination and great respect for nature and the overwhelming feelings that it can conjure, feels out of step with this book. The project excels in the mountain scenes and flashbacks, but flattens out in the flashy lights of Tokyo. Like Shiga, Taniguchi seems to feel out of place with the big city, outside of and uncomfortable with its rhythms. Very much a product of its time (Quest was first published in Japan in 1999), Taniguchi treats "compensated dating" (a practice of older men giving younger women gifts in exchange for companionship or sex, common in Japan in the 1990s) with a heavy hand. He also implements larger-than-life scenarios that, while staples in manga, feel clumsy in his hand. Taniguchi's art is ever beautiful, but like the storytelling here, it simply doesn't grip the reader the way his other works do. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.