Dec 6, 2019
What is worse than a bad manga? A manga that starts off brilliantly, and then flushes its brilliance down the toilet just as it starts getting good.
This is Diner in a nutshell. It starts off as this wickedly funny manga about a ditz named Ooba Kanako who is kind of drifting through life. She's sort of like a female Eikichi Onizuka (GTO), when he is whining in the beginning about how he has no real future prospects. When we first meet her, she is drowning in self pity and all but given up on life. Then, as fate would have it, she accidentally becomes a
getaway driveway for a couple of robbers, and (without spoiling things too much) winds up as a waitress at a diner run by and for criminal sociopaths. Ooba finds a new lease on life, but in a fitting twist of irony, has to defend it at every turn when before she was all but ready to give it up.
The first few chapters play out funny scenarios in which Ooba keeps coming across these deadly sickos who threaten to kill her every second, (including her boss, Bonbello). I know it seems twisted to call that "funny", but by that I mean a lot of dark humor. At first, it seems as if Ooba is so dumb and clueless that she'll die at any moment, but over time, starts developing a little backbone and learns how to hold her own against her boss and all of these lunatics who keep threatening her. Plus, we meet some interesting characters along the way, particularly a guy nicknamed "Skin."
Just as Diner gets interesting, it goes south really quickly. Again, without spoiling things too much, the story shifts gears. It becomes nothing more than gore porn involving extended scenes of torture, maiming, and gruesome killings, and the story introduces a whole new set of characters that have nothing really to do with Ooba and her life at the diner. It's as if the author kind of lost interest in the manga's original premise or simply ran out of steam. Whatever the case may be, by chapter 44, "Diner" stops becoming Diner and becomes something else entirely, and you can tell that the author has started winging the series, not knowing where else to go with it.
If there's anything positive I can say about Diner, it's that the artwork is absolutely amazing. Outside of that, I wouldn't really recommend it.
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