"Not your typical manga although I don't know where it stands compared to other Josei manga."
Warning: There is a scene in this particular series that may disgust many people especially those who are not into extreme hentai scenes but I won't be mentioning it in the review below because I feel it takes away too much from the heart of the manga.
To say Love Slave is... original would be to deny the fact that these types of surrealist comics aren't anything new especially when compared to other Western (but not American) comics.
To compound this problem, I'm ashamed to say I haven't read lots of Lililicious
works which forces me to rely on a lot of self-guessing on whether the artwork really is a 10 or not.
...but it is in the artwork that truly carries this manga. Not that the plot is bad but it's hackneyed and by the end you do get the feeling that it is an unfinished work...
...combined with the artwork though and... it becomes something that's worth finishing. I don't know how it ranks with more modern Western surrealist comics though but the combination works really well...when it does.
I mean the busy artwork can be very confusing to follow and really it may not even be the artworks' fault. The plot style tries too much to be introvertive to the point of being a symbolistic manga more than a manga with a simple plot and yet simple is the right description for the plot.
The characters do grow but the way the manga insists on making things confusing to magnify the "woman" protagonist makes it feel hackneyed and confusing.
Yet it is in this hackneyed and confusing lay-out that the artwork's business shines through in tickling one's curiosity to finish the manga. It is really dream-like and while certainly these types of effect have probably been done enough even for manga, I have never encountered a combination manga like this where the manga elements holds the surreal elements together that even if it is confusing or busy, it is certainly much improved over the Western comics that I've seen where the artwork loses any "comic book" form and totally goes into a sort of thinly deformed abomination like look. (Although this isn't a comic book, the most famous example of such a style that I know of is the artwork for Aeon Flux and Phantom 2040 where it works but you can see the ugliness in it) In this manga there's less of that and more of a typical "rosy" artwork but with enough surreal-ness that it isn't "as thick" or "manga-like" as things like Ryoko Ikeda's artworks.
In the end, I'm still not sure if this is special or crappy so I'm rating this a 7 but really this is another work that I recommend people check out just for the experience...and maybe to make it easier for others to figure out whether this is unique or generic via the recommendation system.
I'd like to talk more about the other aspects of this manga but really I think the rest is up to the eyeballs of the viewer since it's so built into the visuals to carry any curiosity you may have. Just to answer any doubts people may have of why I rated my enjoyment as 2 though...it's not because I didn't like the series or I'm not into Josei-type storytelling.
It's a 2 because I'm not sure the story is really good. I mean... this is the type of storytelling that most otaku lovers might not take a liking to because it has more of a Western feel and most Westerners may equally not like because it has more of a Josei feel. Combined this with the hackneyed "rush-rush" type of pacing the plot has and it is very hard to generate any enjoyment from this work even though it is somewhat special in that compared to the ones I've read before it doesn't unravel as much as those works.
Yet again, I cannot in good conscience rate my enjoyment as higher when part of why I might have enjoyed this is due to the fact that I lack an overview knowledge of how common these types of stories are told and done in this quality. That's why I'm mostly making it this low and yet rating the overall level as good. It is the type of series where I hope people reading this review won't get the impression from the overall ranking but decide for themselves whether they will check out the series based on the culmination of how I rated each criteria because this is really not a review where even a novice on the Josei genre can give a viewer an accurate idea of how well it ranks relative to the genre. Even the numbers, as soon as you view the first few panels, you may wonder why this is a 10 but it has that intangible journey that by the end of the whole thing I can't help but give it a 10 because it's "unidentified" by me. I just don't know if anything less is accurate because it's way way out of the realms of the typical manga from a non-Josei reader like me but it may also be common crud for people who know about the genre. It's hard, especially if you try to think in terms of ripping it from the artist. Does the story still hold that much of an effect if it wasn't drawn this way? Is the artwork really that special once you compare it to the other similar series done with this style? I guess I still continue writing these last few thoughts as a way of imploring to someone with more knowledge to clarify these things because I can't and in the end, this is less of a review and more of a stub request imploring a better reviewer to clarify the elements of this series so that people looking for reviews to check out a series may have a much clearer picture coming into dropping or checking out this series.