15 of 15 chapters read
Plot: Meguru needs 100 million yen for his sick sisters heart transplant. After being scammed by a group of people and outcast by people who believe he stole the money, he's desperate. So desperate that he listens to the sly words of a bar patron who tells him of a high risk game that can earn him 100 million yen. With his deathly ill sister in mind (and more tricks from the bar patron) he agrees.
What follows is a game similar to one you could find in Liar Game, though instead of a deadly debt, there is literal life on the line. It's a mental game, if a player gets to stressed out, or breaks a rule, he'll be trapped in a mental prison and die. There are also other elements, such as cutting off a players sense to add to the challenge of the game.
It's a survival manga, not much more too it. But what follows is more interesting, an event comparable to the stanford prison experiment. At first it seems simple, all they have to do is ignore each other. But quickly the rules change after one of the player hogs the only food they were given and says he'll only hand it over if they agree to give him some of their winnings.
The plot progression is not the most interesting part of the manga. You could almost call it predictable in some aspects. What makes it interesting is the character development and how they react to scenarios.
Characters: Meguru is our protagonist, with a noble means for the money. However we no little of our other characters and why they are there. This is what makes the manga a great read. We learn more about who these characters are, why they're playing the game the way they are, whether or not they care about the winnings to begin with. Even Muguru who seems endlessly optimistic at first finds himself falling into a rugged Hell.
This is what makes the manga really interesting. We don't know who these people are but as we learn, people who we thought were simple or good quickly show a dark undertones to them or motivations that aren't exactly pure hearted. It's simple in that sense, exploring the need for survival and darker human motivations, but it does it all too well. Sometimes the characters can't help themselves. Other times their dark side is of their own free will.
I adore all these characters, be they good guy or bad guy, as all of them are written quite well.
The art: The art in this could get quite cartoony at times and very over dramatic. It only did it at times during high stress character moments. Not much else to say. Think Panty and Stocking, only slightly heavier anime tones instead of western
The bad: This series really shoves it's morals down your throat. I understand it being as short as it is, it needs to get it in somewhere and somehow, but it never does it quietly or subtly. It always decided 'OH, here's a good moments to comment on life and humans.' It never really flowed naturally and really hurt how much I enjoyed the ending of the manga in particular.
Life is Money overall: If you want a survival manga, I more recommend Battle Royale or Liar Game. However, if you want a manga that focuses on characters and you can really enjoy unraveling the layers of a person, then this a manga for you. read more
11 of 11 chapters read
Confession is a short one shot by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, who has a surprisingly long list of notable works, which mostly include gambling series such as Kaiji (three seperate series) and Akagi. Unfortunately I yet to read these series, so this is my first impression of the 52 year old mangaka.
Story: Two friends who frequently climb a mountain get caught in a blizzard. In the confusion, one of them, Ishikura gets injured on a rock, and it's up to Asai to save him. After a while and not being able to find any sort of safety, Ishikura, in the heat of the moment of his belief he is about to die confesses to a murder. A murder of Asai's ex-girlfriend at that. Naturally, he tears up and says what a relief it is to take off such a burden in the moment of death. but then Asai discovers safety of a cabin and Ishikuras eyes quickly dry up.
Quickly Asai notices Ishikuras conflicted feeling about having revealed his sin now that he's going to live. He wants to get away from Ishikura, but it's going to be a few days before a rescue team can get up through the blizzard, so the two men are stuck together.
A combination of lack of talking and emotion quickly make Asai suspicious.
This is as far as I will go for now, and let me say the story had me hooked. Almost like Misery in a sense one of them is trapped and suspicious of the other. The concept alone was enough to entice me for several reasons. Wanting to see psychological development in both of the characters would be enough to make any person want to read this. But you have to consider also, both of these men are stuck with each other with little medical supplies and little food. They're on a mountain, in a blizzard. Should either of these men choose too act rashly, they could easily cover up the act. It's very enticing, just seeing them move about the cabin, seeing them look at each other. Each picture and action makes the other man react in a subtle way. It's this subtlety and only being able to hear Asais thoughts that makes every page edgy, and you filled with wondering of what will happen next in the train of actions and thoughts.
Characters: Since we only have two characters and this is a one shot, I'll be a little brief here. Asai comes across as a slightly unstable, but clear thinking person. In a way he reminded me of the Narrator of Fight Club, he was certainly alright, but possibly messed up in the head. And no the ending is not that he and Ishikura are the same person!... In a way, his psychology even without the tension of the matter was interesting enough. But seeing him trying to process what his friend is thinking, now that's incredibly interesting. Though the author had little time to portray exactly how his psychology works, he certainly did it well in the short time he had it. Asai was probably my favorite of the two.
Ishikura on the other, and I swear I couldn't put it in a simpler way, comes across like Anne Wilkes. No, I'm serious, right down to the almost carefree attitude (though his lacks the peppiness in between any sort of 'outburst'). Now I'm not saying anything by the fact that he's Anne Wilkes (no spoilers to be seen in this review folks) but he literally comes across as quite blunt and very intelligent. Perhaps even more so than Asai. There is the matter that we never here his thoughts, only his spoken dialogue so he does have the unfair advantage when it comes to character.
Art: As I stated in my previous reviews, I am not one to criticize art in a manga as I accept what I am presented with. However, in this manga, art is a little crucial as emotional expressions can be a very important part of this manga, as we focus on the mens psychological development. The main problem I think is that with the features the artist gave the men, is that their emotions can't vary between neutral and fearful. This isn't a typical MCR song, I need a little more emotion. It's the same thing for all 200+ pages. Fearful, then neutral, then confident, happy for about five seconds then fearful again. It seems like the dialogue has more emotion than the characters themselves really at times. However, considering the scenario they are in, I suppose it's forgivable for the lack of expression. Backgrounds and other details like appliances in the cabin are done well, and can be detailed when needed, but for the most time the author can get away with little or no items since it is just a rescue cabin.
The bad: My one and only complaint about Confession is this: it's a little repetitive. Now, it is a one shot, but seriously, sometimes several pages will be devoted to a single statement repeated over and over again. I felt like I was reading an incomplete Abbot and Costello routine. I understand their trying to make it seem like time passes as he thinks over this, but you don't need to waste perfectly good space in a one shot to time passing.
Confession overall (last word): Confession is a great one shot but is not without it's flaws. The story and the characters are great, but the art can be wasted as well as the dialogue. The ending, though unexpected, did not through me for as much as a loop as I had wished it did, and sort of left me like me going 'well that was strange'. But if you have a spare half hour or so, you can't go wrong with confession.
64 of 64 chapters read
Story: The story is your standard alien invasion story. Little spores about the size of tennis balls fall from space and give birth to little worm like creatures. The creatures then invade the heads of humans and take over their bodies. The end result being that the creatures can flex the heads into any shape or size, making them stretch and snap like rubber, or turn them into blades.
Our story follows a teenage male named Shinichi whom a creature tries to invade, but, due to a fluke, the creature ends up stuck in his arm. Shinichi ends up naming the creature Migi, and they develop a rather odd relationship. For the most part their relationship builds around the fact that they have to fight off creatures that have successfully invaded human heads. Why do they need to fight off the aliens? Well, only because that the aliens that successfully invade human heads have to survive by eating other humans. Needless to say Migi can change Shinichi’s arm into pretty much anything, so that makes for some pretty awesome fight scenes.
What’s really interesting about this series though is that a small group of parasytes inherit human personalities (whilst still remaining homicidal creatures) and end up banding together to not really destroy, but to simply observe and survive. One of them even ends up being the closest thing to human in this series what it started out the most brutal monster of them all. Though later the government actually steps in and takes care of some of them.
I have to say the story didn’t get quite as repetitive as I thought it would, it always kept moving at just the right pace. However, violence does seem to take up a good portion of the series, so if you’re squeamish it’s best not to look into this series. Sometimes the way humans die are just brutal. The story itself was interesting enough to keep me reading.
Characters: Our main character as I said is Shinichi, a young teenage male. I would like to say he’s your standard shonen hero, but he isn’t quite. Migi does most of the fighting in the stories, though Shinichi usually delivers the finishing blow in the more serious battles ironically enough. Shinichi is definitely interesting as a character, he doesn’t quite develop so much as a person as through relationships, in fact, due to some bad flukes, he gets a little worse as a character through the series. But that is mostly Migi’s fault to be fair.
Ah yes, Migi, who undoubtedly is the best character. Migi develops the best, and the most subtly throughout the series. While most aliens are heartless and emotionless, Migi ever so slowly starts to understand human emotions. I even got a little sad when…Well, I don’t want to spoil too much.
There are a few villians but most of them die off pretty quickly. Shinichi also develops a relationship with a girl, Murano, but Migi’s relationship is more important and prominent.
Art: I’m not so much one to criticize art in a manga, since everyone has their own style and what I am presented with, will automatically become my standard. It’s also clear that this was made in the 90’s with the manga style, but I really liked this art. It could become quite gritty and dark at times but was detailed and precise when it needed to be.
The Bad: If I had any complaints about Parasyte, it would have to be the violence. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude or anything it’s just some of the fights are way too violent, too pointless, and overall seemed to be layered in bullshit. Most of the fights do help develop in the story, even the seemingly inconsequential ones, like where they fight a dog that got invaded by a parasyte. But sometimes it’s just aggravating seeing so much blood and violence
Parasyte overall: I have to say with Parasyte you can’t go wrong entirely, I enjoyed the characters, the fights, and the ending especially. The morale and whole idea at the end through me for huge loop. It really raised some philosophical questions.
As this is my first shot at reviewing please don't be too harsh. I would much appreciate any comments on thoughts you had of the review. thank you very much.