Posts Tagged 'manga'

I’ll kill you, cut you up, and cum in your formaldehyde!: Deadman Wonderland is pretty twisted

I have blazed through the 2.5 volumes of Deadman Wonderland currently available, this hit new manga from the author and artist pair of the Eureka Seven manga (Kataoka Jinsei and Kondou Kazuma, who seem to both do story and art collaboratively). The flaw with the Eureka Seven manga, or so I’ve heard, is not the actual storytelling or art, but rather the changes made from the anime timeline. And I can definitely feel the Eureka Seven influence in the designs for Deadman Wonderland–Ganta looks suspiciously like Renton, and Shiro looks suspiciously like Anemone–as well as the overall art style. Most of the other characters don’t resemble Eureka Seven characters, though.

The actual plotline runs something like this: Ganta, a normal high school boy, is thrown into a public prison called Deadman Wonderland, a sort of theme park/circus where the public can be entertained by nasty criminals. The reason he’s in prison? He killed his entire class, or, rather, a mysterious entity killed his entire class, and then he got accused of the crime. So, of course, like any wrongfully imprisoned person, he must fight to prove his innocence, but (of course) there is a Mysterious Conspiracy afoot that he has been ushered into.

The problem is, however, is that Ganta has been “infected” by something titled the Branch of Sin: a mysterious power that allows him to use his blood to form bullets. Many others in Deadman Wonderland have this ability (hence the “Deadman” in the park’s title, as this is what they are known as), and the powers seem to be stemming from a mysterious earthquake that sank 70% of Tokyo ten years ago. The backstory reminds me a bit of Scryed, except less Taniguchi Goro and more…twisted.

The fun thing about this series is that it’s a balance of cute elements and dark, twisted violence. It’s much more effective at being disarmingly cute/violent than Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, in the sense that neither side is amped up to ridiculous levels. For instance, you have Ganta’s mysterious childhood friend, Shiro, who talks in some kind of weird Yoda version of Japanese and is very childlike and disarmingly cute–until later, when she reveals her true nature and desire to protect both herself and Ganta. I shall have to remain silent about most of the rest–this manga is a bit like Narutaru in that if you have certain elements spoiled for you, the series as a whole could be ruined. Let’s just say that the part of the manga where the title of this post comes from is a bit, shall we say…devious. I will say this, though: that particular fight showcased some interesting depth of character.

The manga’s still serializing, and hasn’t been licensed yet, but it’s already pretty good. I think I need to read something less…horror…in a bit, because, well, I’ve read two seinen horros series in close succession (this and Parasyte), which is pretty impressive for someone who doesn’t really like horror all that much. Although, Japanese horror tends to get it right rather than be grotesque without a reason, so I guess I just like it more. Who knows.

Parasyte: The Thinking Man’s Horror Manga

So I picked up Del Rey’s snazzy new and massive re-releases of the first two volumes of the Parasyte manga on a random whim recently, and pretty much blazed through them both today. The author, Iwaaki Hitoshi, is currently doing another manga for Monthly Afternoon called Historie, which I read one volume of a while ago and really liked (and will talk about more when I get around to reading more), which was part of the reason why I picked up Parasyte as I did. I’m extremely glad I did–it’s not only thrilling and suspenseful, it’s also got a fair bit of brain candy to chew on.

The plot runs something like this: Izumi Shinichi is your average second-year high school student, but when a mysterious alien invasion hits Earth, his right arm ends up being “devoured” by an alien parasite. This is, of course, a failure for the parasite, because Migi, which Shinichi ends up calling him, was supposed to devour the brain and not the hand. The other, more successful, alien parasites are currently rampaging throughout humanity, devouring hapless humans and mutilating the remains. Shinichi knows of this, and decides to try and stop the invaders, with the somewhat reluctant help of Migi, who is interested in preserving Shinichi only by way of the fact that he is his host, and his life is bound to him.

As Migi evolves and Shinichi deals with the agonizing problem of having a talking hand with eyeballs, the reader is left to ponder some interesting questions: what does it mean to be human, and at what point does our humanity end? In the case of those infected by the parasites, their humanity is literally devoured and they become soulless killing machines. But Shinichi is left with his brain intact, and no choice but to try and stop the invasion by himself. The matter is complicated somewhat by the fact that as Migi becomes more human in his thought patterns, the kind and gentle Shinichi is becoming ever more ruthless and apathetic. He’s certainly spurred by a noble goal, and his methods (in the first two volumes) are not cruel, but people around him are starting to notice his humanity slipping away. Is this a good thing, then? Is it truly a noble thing to sacrifice one’s well-being for the sake of all humanity? Migi even points out that he doesn’t understand the self-sacrificing nature of humans, and considers them just another form of animal. If that’s the case, then why do we feel unique as humans? What makes us human? Is it that we are the only animal that we know of who cares for other animals, both of and not of our species?

I could go on endlessly on some kind of philosophical rant, but that’d just be my opinion. The correct thing to do, then, would be to get thee to a bookstore, and pick up Parasyte now. If you were “blessed” with reading the ancient Tokyopop/MIXX releases, more power to you–you know more about this series than I do, at the moment. The Del Rey re-releases are certainly snazzy and cool, and May can’t come fast enough for me.

I’ve been called.

So, for those who aren’t aware, Manga-Screener finally released more Bokurano chapters to the ravenous hordes, and it was glorious. If you’re following Bokurano and haven’t read these chapters yet, close this window and go do so now. If you haven’t even touched Bokurano yet, well, rectify this situation immediately.

For those intrepid souls who jumped on the torrent ASAP and also read this blog, yes. Kanji is awesome. Since he, unfortunately, didn’t have much in the way of a backstory to elucidate upon, or much unresolved internal conflict, his arc was mostly plot-driven, with the most frightening enemy yet in the manga. I honestly thought that Kitoh Mohiro would just say “screw you all” and end the manga right here with BAD END. Which he may have yet done.

However, I don’t think anyone expected Kana to suddenly become a pilot. We already knew from the beginning of Kanji’s arc that Ushiro was the non-contracted member, but this must have been the result of all the manipulation Kana’s been doing behind the scenes. My guess is, Kana’s arc will be the resolution of the Ushiro/Kana hostility that’s been going on throughout the whole series. I’ve been waiting to see what the canon reason for that weirdness is for a while now (the anime stops being canon at episode 13; or, well, it just kind of deflects itself off into its own little universe that has nothing to do with manga canon) and, well, it’s all going to come out. Some kind of nasty ugly truth, I’m sure.

Why isn’t this series licensed already? Del Rey, surely you can do something about that, can’t you?

Genshiken: Hope for Otaku

So, pressured by my overly Ogiue-obsessed friend SDS, I’ve finally gotten around to reading all nine volumes of the Genshiken manga. It’s amazing how much character development Shimoku Kio crammed into those nine volumes. Ogiue gets the most attention, of course, to the delight of tsundere fujoshi fans everywhere. Strangely enough, Sasahara is just kind of…there, most of the time, which is perfectly fine, because him just being…there reminds me a lot of myself (I’m the one in the back of the room that never talks to anyone unless spoken to), although, tragically (or not) my outward personality is Sasahara, and my inward personality is Madarame (his classic speech on the sanity of people who don’t do it to anime porn is still one of the most awe-inspiring moments of manga and anime ever, and it’s even better that he’s voiced by HIYAMA NOBUYUKI).

Ogiue is a wonderful girl, and Sasahara and her make a good match. The whole sequence leading up to Sasahara confessing his love to her (from the beginning of Ohno’s clever plans to stick the two together) was wonderfully done, and as any astute follower of this blog (all five of you) knows, I am a big fan of romance. The relationship was convincingly done, and given my aforementioned tendency to behave like Sasahara, Genshiken reads a bit like “Dating for Dummies: The Manga”. It’s certainly along the lines of drawing circles around each other for a long time that I foresee for myself eventually.

Hopefully, however, in my case, the girl won’t be drawing yaoi starring me. That wouldn’t go down as well as it did with Sasahara.

On another note, I think my favorite Genshiken girl would have to be Saki. I really don’t understand this myself–she’s the exact kind of seemingly airheaded, fashion-obsessed person that I couldn’t stand to be around, and, certainly, at the beginning of the manga, that’s how she acts. However, and this, I think, is Shimoku Kio’s true talent, she turns from hating everyone in the Genshiken to actually respecting them as people. In a sense, she rises above her prejudices and “normalness” to accept people for who they are, not denigrate them for what they do. And there’s something about that I find incredibly inspiring, like a statement that there’s really not that much difference between otaku and non-otaku, or between any nerdy-type person and a non-nerdy-type person. At the end of the day, Genshiken says, throughout its nine volumes, we’re all just human beings trying to find a place in the world.

I think that sentiment is why Genshiken is so well-liked, and I find it interesting that a series that started off as a kind of modern-day Otaku no Video-esque comedy turned into something with a message for just about everyone.

Say it with me, people: BEHOLD…THE POWER OF MANGA.

(I miss those cheese commercials)


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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March 2023