May 2, 2014
Published a full 2 years before the release of the infamous OVA of the same name, Tony Takezaki's Genocyber (genocide + cyber, get it?) is a manga that tries to do a lot of things, but just can't pull them off too well. The manga begins with a fight scene and some exposition about the world for one chapter, before shifting to the Genocyber's backstory for the next four. And then it just ends.
I wanted to talk about the length of the manga later, but I just can't speak to the manga's quality without making the most glaring problem explicitly clear: this manga is cut
way too early to be enjoyable. 5 chapters. That's all there is. What gets accomplished in this time, you ask? Nothing. Genocyber isn't even created in the four chapters of backstory. That's how early this got cut. And it's a real shame, but mourning something like this isn't going to do much good. On to the appraisal of individual parts.
The backstory chapters are a little light on necessary information, but they aren't bad. It's pretty average late-80s/early-90s cyberpunk stuff with more of a focus on grotesque body horror than usual. It's certainly no Ghost in the Shell, but plot-wise it's a fun little romp. The lack of explanation of anything - it's clear the author was probably going to explain stuff over time as not to make it too much of an infodump - really dampers how much one can enjoy the story, though, forcing the reader to just kind of continually go "well, okay" to everything in the story because it doesn't really make much sense. This really affects one's impressions and understanding of the characters, too, and they are most affected. The reader doesn't know why anyone is doing anything besides at the most basic level. Elaine and Diana are innocent psychic teenage girls, their dad is a moral scientist, the big bad corporation head is a villain who wants to exploit the girls' psychic power for something (it's never really explained why). Also, the evil faction employs a ton of henchmen that are either faceless or are wearing a mask. Also they might be robots? Nothing about them was explained.
The art's nothing special. The Genocyber's design is actually extremely interesting and I haven't quite seen something like it, but all we see of it is during the short fight in chapter one and a few similar-looking pieces of armor in chapters 4 and 5. Otherwise, it looks like what you'd expect it to look like, although it seems to take a few cues from American underground comics here and there. The gore is - surprise! - actually pretty light as far as cyberpunk noir goes, and definitely not anywhere near to the OVA's level of gore. It probably would have been better with more gratuitous gore, but the few gruesome massacres that remain are serviceable, I guess.
I really think that if this hadn't been cut, it could have been at the very least a solidly enjoyable series. It had everything that could have worked on a longer scale - mysteries, characters with development potential, cool designs, et cetera - but it just gets cut too early for any of that to matter. Even a few more chapters, maybe making two volumes all together, would have been enough to save this manga and make it a pretty cool buried treasure. But sadly, this isn't the case, and Genocyber is left to languish in the hell of being unfinished. Not just unfinished, but painfully, outrageously unfinished, a series that didn't even get a chance to make a case for itself.
To beak it down:
Interesting premise and the design of the Genocyber is cool, but the series' extremely short length holds it back from achieving anything notable, and instead makes it only an exercise in 'what could have been.' If you haven't seen the OVA, see that first. If you've seen the OVA and you NEED more Genocyber, read this. Anyone else? Skip it.
Reviewer’s Rating: 5
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