Old Boy had an interesting start. With the premise that it offers, it’s easy to get absorbed in its story. The mystery it presents early on is done well enough to be gripping. Violence is promised, with its very crisp action sequences. The execution is good with its captivating paneling of scenes. The art is well done, albeit character designs could’ve been done better. Yet, it started to fall apart halfway with its villain growing ever present by the chapter.
One main problem it has is pacing. When it comes to mysteries, it’s often natural for a slow yet steady buildup that is heightened by cliffhangers.
Old Boy assures its readers with a payoff, but the story can only be dragged so much to be remotely engaging. It worked well for the first 20 chapters or so, but then you will realize that it becomes a repetitive cat-and-mouse scenario. It also attempts to be complex by setting the plot into a psychological maze, but the exposition is so lackluster. A lot of vital and even unnecessary info is revealed to the point that it’s considered spoon feeding. It could’ve been done more subtly, as it’s a strong asset in terms of exploring the mystery.
Another point is that the villain is not even that interesting. His motives felt weak and unjustified as he obnoxiously insists that it’s something very life-changing. His background isn’t properly explored well despite being the story’s main key to solving the mystery. His interaction with the cast is like of Friend’s in 20th Century Boys, only that manga did way better in terms of characterization and layering plot points. He even reveals himself way too early into the story, losing most of the essence of the mystery. It felt too lazy because the main character was being too slow in remembering things. Let’s not forget their past teacher who became a plot device in order to speed things up. Just as the story reaches the finale, the conclusion of the entire “Remember your past” detective game was so unfulfilling. At that point, almost everything that what made it so interesting in the first place was almost gone.
Overall I think it’s still a recommendable manga to a degree since it pulls of that noir vibe well. If you’re looking for a well-developed mystery game that has enough suspense to keep you going, look somewhere else. A disappointing read, but there is still merit from the reading experience. It’s an example of a well-executed manga that can still turn overwhelmingly boring when the plot leaves more to be desired.
After being knocked-out cold, kidnapped and locked in a private prison for ten years in a small room with no heating, Goto, our 'old boy', is finally set free. He decides that he'll find whoever did this to him, whatever it takes. Truly, it is a revenge served cold.
It's astonishing that some writers can't muster up suspense to cover a chapter, while Tsuchiya, Garon (the author of Old Boy) can arguably be credited with creating 79 pure, frustrating yet awesome, chapters of suspense. Lost following the perspective of the paranoid Goto, the reader guesses at every ally and even random people, as you endlessly try
to guess who's watching Goto now.
The art was detailed, shaded and definitely added to the overall mood aka. the suspense. Was everyone pretty? No. But did the style of art only beneficially add to the manga? When it came down to the facial features, in my opinion, I didn't really see why the two main characters needed such bulbous noses; it didn't really add anything but eye-twitch-iness to see a face that was a third a huge nose. Which contrasts to the sexy figures of nearly all the women in the manga. Do only men deserve weird noses? Otherwise, the backgrounds, the clothes and even the signs, were consistantly drawn to an excellent quality and were a feast for the eyes.
Some character's, like the teacher, were excellent. They were realistic, some were unfathomable, cunning, but realistic all the same. Their attitudes were unflinchingly in-your-face; there's very little that's 2D about them.
The sexualisation of almost all the women is disturbing, to say the least. If a women is talking, we get the panel focused on her lips, her ass or the space between her thighs. Is this depiction of women supposed to be attractive? Stimulating? I found it nothing but demeaning, especially when the character's personality made her awesome otherwise.
For a who-dun-it, it's ability to keep the reader guessing made this manga a really addicting read, but the sexualisation of the female gender was a definite con. Still, the details and efforts put into the smallest features within the panels definitely deserves a pat on the back to the illustrator and author.
If you're looking for a mind-whirling thriller with a sweaty, paranoid protagonist and a crazy psychopath, go for it.
A man finds himself imprisoned for a reason unknown to him for ten years before he is released. He keeps himself sane by acknowledging one logic of the situation - that he is still alive. With his past behind him and nothing to lose, his only goal is to find a man who has kept him imprisoned all this time.
The world of manga, much unlike its brother in the western culture (i.e. comics), is undoubtedly plagued with fictions that do no better than to establish a rather conventional story, a rather predictable set of characters, and art that is well refined but nothing reflective
of the real world. With Oldboy, however, the rules of convention are left completely neglected. There is nothing enticing about Oldboy as a manga at the first glance. Characters are just people dressed in normal clothes and with no dramatic expression on their faces. Little amount of action takes place in relation to the whole manga. The setting mostly takes place in Tokyo - again, nothing extraordinary.
What makes this manga unique within its first chapter from other mangas is the concept behind the whole story. The idea of a man being imprisoned for ten years where he was well-fed, provided a room with full bathroom and TV, plus monthly haircut service, as part of the act of a vengeance is truly extraordinary. On top of that, this was done at an expense of 300 million yen (roughly = 3 million US dollars), all paid by the perpetrator. Could he not have sent an assailant after a person whom he clearly loathes and have him murdered? Or even tortured? Why imprison him at a place that have costed him 300 million yens to pay for... especially with the intent of releasing him some time later?
One of the unfortunate drawbacks of the manga is that it's too long. The motive behind the story is truly captivating and intriguing, but, even with all the fascinating characters, their development and interactions in between, it takes simply too long for the truth of it all to unravel. However, the sheer volume of the events that take place before the truth is revealed is not without purpose. All the events leading up to the final moment of truth do contribute to the ultimate impact of the motive behind the antagonist. There is an underlying theme in this manga that is as thought-provoking as it is melancholic. What is it that keeps us going in the world of superficial people, unfairly played games and the ultimate demise that is as forthcoming to all of us as a clock clicking towards the next minute? No one is safe from the imperfection that prevails in our world, and Kakinuma - the antagonist - in particular has a surprisingly heartfelt story to tell. Then, at the core of it all, is Gotou, a man who is honest and empathetic to the point of them being a flaw to his character.
Where this manga truly thrives is its subtle dramatization of the characters and the relationships they build throughout. Unlike the heroes and the bad guys of most conventional mangas, the characters here are not immune to the flaws of humanity: the greed and carelessness that comes with our self-preservative intents; the vulnerability to establishing meaningful relationships; and - among the most damaging quality of humanity - the ability and the sense of obligation to care. These characters are no different from people who we may encounter in our lives, and are as respectable, flawed, and despicable as our friends and foes alike are.
Oldboy is a manga of highly realistic characters that have found themselves within the grasp of an unbeatable nemesis to humanity. It is frustrating, dark, and depressing, but it is also touching and also surprisingly sympathetic. The underlying atmosphere of melancholy is haunting and well established through not only the story, but the never-exaggerated, subtle portrayal of characters and the settings. This truly is a triumph in both the world of manga and literature. 9/10.
A man that has not felt the warmth of a women for ten Years! ;)
Gotou Kidnapped imprisoned in a small room, for ten years He was stuck in this small space, For what reasons? Eating the same thing every day for a decade; only thing he has is a T.V.
Not interest you yet. Like letting a bird out of its cage.
Not knowing who to trust, coming back to a world that has changed a spectacular story where a man must step up his game and find the one who imprisoned him, Revenge is on his mind, curiosity is on his mind. Now
he plays detective to unravel this mystery.
See how Gotou has changed and what he finds out about his past. The reasons behind all this mess. Yet he stays cool, Calm and collected. See the Encounters he makes and the friends who have not forgotten him.
The manga Has good art takes you to a different atmosphere, its not too dark or to peaceful, the twist and turns are always a blast. The anticipation is heart breaking, and as we all know the cliff hangers to every volume makes you want to just keep on reading.
With this said I am looking forward to what this manga has to offer in the End, although a very old series still one of the best in my mind.
Fed up with the manga, check out the Korean movie adaption of old boy. A live action and well made movie.
Good ending bad ending the Story is what makes this amazing enough to check out, from what i can see.
A psychological thriller, Old Boy deftly addresses concepts of isolation and vengeance while managing to, for the most part, carry suspense. It definitely has strengths, in particular the characterizations which are interesting and for the most part realized. It explores the psyche of both the protaganist and the villain, both outliers from most of society, in a way that is compelling, and makes both of them relatable and sympathetic. Where this manga suffers, though, is the pacing and the story. While the concept is certainly interesting, in the end it feels almost anticlimatic: the buildup is there to be unleashed, with diverse elements being unraveled
as with any good suspense manga, but in the end it comes down to almost nothing. Many of the threads lead nowhere and are genuinely pointless, and this manga feels bloated for it, with plotlines that seem to be there only to make the story longer. The intensity of the game becomes compromised about halfway through the manga, and from there it becomes a bore, with new characters and ideas being added for reasons that are ultimately fruitless.
Overall, this manga had a lot of promise with its concept, but the execution and the climax are unfullfilling and didn't live up to their potential.
The Korean movie Old boy based on this manga is a millions times better. I mean this manga has a great premise; a man is locked away for 10 year for reasons that are unknown to him and then is suddenly released without being told why. The story follows his search to find out who was behind it so he can get his revenge. But it doesn’t really take it anywhere.
The start of the series is fantastic. It has atmosphere, it’s really pulpy and film noire. It’s interesting to see the mystery unravel and to see how Gotou deals with the situations he’s in. Some
of the early plot points I think are really clever and original.
One of the manga’s biggest downfalls is that this series is about 2 or 3 volumes too long. The story is stretched out so much and it loses its edge. I get the feeling that Tsuchiya Garon had kind of written himself into a corner without really planning out the ending. The other thing that really killed this for me was the ending. It was such a huge disappointment. I felt cheated. There is no real payoff after so much build up.
The antagonist of the series, the person who locked Gotou away, seems really weak to me and when you find out the reason why he locked him away I think he gets even weaker. He has little motivation for what he does and most of the time it seems he’s not really that driven about it. Gotou himself is your average stoic hero. I didn’t really feel he had character and was just a vessel for the story to revolve around. I did like Eri though. I thought she was really interesting especially in the beginning. She seemed kind of gutsy and independent.
I think Old boy is still worth reading and if you’re a hardcore manga fan I don’t think you can really go without giving it a look. As I said the beginning really is fantastic and well written it just fizzles out at the end.
You lock up a man for 10 years, then release him all of a sudden, then play a psychological game with him to screw up his head as he tries to understand why this happened to him sums up Old Boy in a nutshell.
Boy, this manga was enjoyable. I had seen the critically acclaimed Korean live adaptation a year before reading this. What the manga excels at is character development, the dark and detailed artwork, the gradual build-up of suspense (which kinda felt similar to Naoki Urasawa's style).
What the manga lacked was a better ending. The main reasons for the antagonist's motivations seemed too
weak to justify his actions. This is where the movie surpasses the manga.
For me, the movie was much better than the manga, but even then I would recommend this one for people who like a nice thriller, action and psychological series with great art.
Oldboy is a very entertaining cat-and-mouse story with great art that features some grounded characters that I came to like. I'm sure many of these characters will remain memorable for me, but the events of the story I'm not as certain. The thing with Oldboy is that it's slow and a grand buildup. Without that satisfying conclusion, in a way it would be all for naught. Sadly, for me at least, the conclusion was sub-par to my expectations. From early on I had the likely basic idea of the causation of these events in mind, but the manga keep insisting itself that the secret is
something much more complex, but in reality it isn't that much.
Beyond that I do have other issues with the manga. For how grounded and subtle it tries to be, much of the manga is quite simplistic in how it's events take place. Many explanations are left out to buildup this idea that everything is tied together by a mastermind. All of the twists more-or-less lend to this simple idea, which in a way makes the interactions in the story less interesting over time. The story also, for me, relys heavily on immersion as this story is very grounded in a somewhat plain setting with characters not too out-of-the-ordinary. The story chooses to reinforce metaphors over and over again though that everything taking place is part of an epic tale, and they tend to state this in a way almost as if breaking the fourth-wall that this is actually just a story in a manga. They'll say things like, "I thought it was time we sped this game along", which for me can't be detached from the thought that maybe the mangaka just wanted to speed the story along. There's a lot of moderately unexplained phrases like this, all usually carrying that more-or-less uninteresting "game" metaphor (this could be Dark Horse publishing's doing, but I can only speak on what I can understand).
Back to the characters not being that out-of-the-ordinary, it's true. Being interested in the characters relys mostly on how tightly woven they've become into the series of events taking place, beyond that there isn't much actual character development. Most characters are left shallow, but there are 2-3 characters who get their personalities out there a little bit by the end. Their lives aren't really divulged upon though, and by the mid-point you'll likely actually be interested in such things since things are moving at such a slow pace. The story is by no means boring though, I did enjoy the ride to some degree as I did finish it - I'm no masochist.
Another thing that bugged me though was the plot elements the mangaka chose to include in the last volume, it took a once-grounded story and made unnecessarily mystical to a more literal degree. The entire time the characters were what created the mystique, so it was unnecessary and just created further immersion-breaking problems. The ending isn't exactly anti-climactic though. In a way it does tie things together, but it does so in a way more invested readers might've already been expecting. Heck, the characters were already hinting very closely to the revealed causation of everything earlier on. It was only because of their bluffing of how complicated the causation was that I began to doubt. Doing such a thing with their characters, the mangaka should've expected that the readers would be wanting something more complicated to unweave all that he has woven, but he chose a quick end with the new contrived plot elements he adds.
Overall, I enjoyed Oldboy. It has a lot of interesting ideas and much of the experience had a nice genuine feeling with enjoyable characters who feel multidimensional (while in reality not much is divulged, again). I actually watched the american movie before this, things are definitely different to this manga, but I have to say a short experience like that is more fitting to this kind-of journey. I think a movie-length format really would be best to simplify this unnecessarily long story. Time to watch the Japanese version!
EDIT: Watched the *Korean* version and I have to say the manga is much more meaningful than that. The movie has really creative directing reminiscent of Tetsurou Araki (Death Note) though, but overall I think the manga's the better deal.
So... what to tell about "Loose Senki: Oldboy"?
First of all wanna say that I started to read this manga after I watch two movies of the same name(Korean one and American one).
Manga itself is well graphed, the art itself is great, you just look at it and already fell the atmosphere of Tokyo during the nightime etc. Characters are well-written, even though not all backgrounds were shown and told about. Plot from the begining makes you question the situation our hero is in; creates one big intrigue that leads to the almost good end.
I stongly recommend to read this manga to those of you
who wants to spend some free time with a good reading material.