Dec 23, 2021
This anthology manga is an extremely mixed bag for me,
There's a good variety of stories compiled in this book, many of them with very different goals and themes. The only common factors shared by all the stories are the gore and eroticism, as expected of Kago's work.
Kago does a phenomenal job of utilising the medium of manga to its maximum potential unlike any mangaka I've encountered. The visual presentation of these stories is fantastic, and the non linear nature of them makes for a mind boggling experience. His deconstruction and exploration of the medium are strikingly unique, and he takes these deconstructions to the absolute
extreme. If there are several mangaka that push manga to its absolute limits, I would name Kago among them without hesitation. These stories (particularly "Abstraction" and one of his other works "Fraction") are the ones in which his creativity and genius really shine, and if the anthology consisted only in these kinds of short stories, this manga would easily be pushing a 9 out of 10.
In addition there are a number of comedic stories compiled in the manga. The style of comedy Kago employs is definitely unique and effective. He subverts expectations, writes from the most bizarre premises, and he does not stop. He'll present the reader with a fascinatingly absurd scenario, and he will keep taking it further and further into complete absurdity and I love every minute of it. With the addition of the small comedic nuances and subversive plot points, it makes for hilarious absurdist comedy and a refreshing break from the largely disturbing content of the remainder of the manga.
What really brings the quality of this manga down, for me personally, are the few stories scattered throughout which offer little to nothing to the reader other than repulsion. There is nothing clever or comedic in these stories, just excruciatingly detailed depictions of just about anything shocking Kago can manage to squeeze into the "story," for lack of a better word. I understand that pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable is absolutely integral to Kago's work, and he does this effectively in a lot of his stories that seem to have had a great deal of thought and creativity put into them, but sadly, these quality shorts are dragged down by the eroguro fests included that serve no purpose other than to be as disgusting and shocking as possible. I don't want to call it lazy because the art in these stories is still meticulously detailed, but they really offer nothing else of worth.
Overall, I would highly recommend reading "Abstraction" from this collection if you read nothing else. There are some fantastic comedy shorts slipped into this collection as well, but I would just skip stories like Todo no Tsumori which are really little more than just nauseating.
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