Jiro Matsumoto’s short story collection is packed with explicit sex, death and quotable lines throughout.
Keep On Vibrating is a sex-mad world where people are either screwing or watching people screw. The story is about a neighbourhood calligrapher simply called 'sensei' who walks around naked for the entire tale and his relationship with two abused women. There's also a dude in a business suit with a horse for a head. Yep.
Morning Glory revolves around a possible clairvoyant, naturally sex-obsessed, in a shallow relationship with a woman, and his hijinks in his neighbourhood culminating in sex and death, such good bed partners as
Land of the Sacred Spirits is a great Twilight Zone episode-style Groundhog Day-like nightmare for a dude who just wants to get on with his life without a nasty divorce settlement ruining everything. The tale provides one of the quotes of the volume with: "You're a zombie! How can you eat ramen after I killed you!?"
Sanpol and Krezol is about two kids, wearing gas masks, with the enviable ability given to all kids. The ability to escape reality with their imaginations. At some point you realise they’re the smartest characters in the chapter to remove themselves from so much suffering going on around them. And the reality itself is pretty damn harsh depicted in this chapter, but the payoff is glorious.
The Cat Ritual. The setting of the last chapter is so good, Matsumoto continues with it in this chapter with the continuing adventures of the two kids. We thought they were the smartest kids in the last chapter, but when they beat a cat half to death in this chapter for hilarious reasons that you’ll find out yourself, well, you realise they’re not that smart. This time we see more of the city they live in and get more trademark quirky detailed backdrops from Matsumoto. There is such personality in his art; it’s a nice change from mainstream manga which is more concerned with bizarre superhero outfits and special effects than with world-building.
Give and Take is about an investigation of a rape/murder of a schoolgirl by a cop who isn’t afraid of hitting on high school girls himself. There’s a cameo appearance of characters from a previous chapter and a bit more Twilight Zone episode shenanigans involved.
Hardboiled Sakata is the best story (although Matsumoto himself doesn’t like it much in his afterword) and is saved for last as a master sniper is charged with the task of staking out a rooftop via an apartment room belonging to a prostitute. The ultimate test for the man of pride is to keep his focus on his scope and ignore everything around him, including the pesky hooker with a heart of gold. The story progresses in satisfying ways with humour and imagination, rising above the ludicrous premise to attain that great height of allusion and allegory, commenting on 21st century life. I’ll save the analysis as it’ll just ruin the story for you, but needless to say it’s smart, funny and rolls along to a brilliant climax that avoids all of the sex and death before it in this volume, but instead aims for emotion.
There is a strange way in which Matsumoto uses sex in his stories; it just never feels titillating to me. It’s always either hilarious or just disturbing. The ramshackle nature of the art, the mundane conversations, the disturbing backdrops, the kooky humour, it doesn’t feel exploitative; it doesn’t have the same purpose as hentai. It’s all in service of story, as depraved as it is coming from Matsumoto's mind, it’s still story and not a money-influenced attempt at exciting the reader.
This book contains seven stand alone stories, which have not much in common, except maybe graphic sex (they were published in Manga Erotics, so that much is not surprising).
At times you may find them disgusting, or something even worse, but if you are brave enough to take on this author's slightly deranged brain, you are in for one Hell of a ride!
The strong point of this book does not lie in the art - it is pleasant enough to look at, but nothing groundbreaking. Neither are the characters, which are as detailed as they need to be for a
short story (which is to say, sketchy at best). The strength of this manga lies in the impact of the stories. They are amazing and imaginative and at times very crazy. If you have an open mind, they will make you laugh, cry and gasp in amazement at the author's imagination. Though if you prefer logical, clean-cut storylines in your comic books, you may want to steer clear of this one. Anyone else should get this right now.
This manga isn't something to be taken lightly, in my opinion. It's full of sex and gore but it's my favorite manga I've ever read, well, tied with Deep Love- Pao no Monogatari. Each story has it's own catch and in a way it really makes you think. It's one of the most disturbing things I've ever read but that's also one of the things that makes me absolutely love it. I don't really think there is anything that this manga could improve on, because it basically does what it sets out to do. Each story is unique, from what I've read of other
things, in its own way. I originally read this manga years ago and just recently found out what it was called again and read it twice in one day and downloaded all the pages. I definitely think this is a must read. Everything flows well and it all goes well together as a collection of stories. 10/10