What an unappealing synopsis.
here you were browsing through the MAL, looking for something fun to read, and by accident you opened this title.
plot based on several characters? story about an island? what the heck, why would anybody read this?
I won't argue, this is indeed what this manga is about. but by no means is it bad.
I could write about the art so great it looks like it was created solely for the purpose of this story.
I could tell you that the characters are so vibrant and charismatic you can't decide who's the main cast, and frankly, you don't care because all of
them are worthwhile.
but I fear i couldn't give this manga justice without sounding biased, so all I will do is reccomend it to you, and hope you will make that first step of reading the first chapter.
Hotel Voynich is a story about the titular hotel, the island it's located on and its inhabitants. The story follows a bunch of different characters, ranging from a trio of female drug dealers, competing assassins, a suicidal chef and the hotel manager who supposedly bested Chuck Norris in combat. The main focus rests on a Japanese guy named Taizou though, a man with a past. As you may have noticed, the cast is pretty colorful, and combined with the varying points of view it conveys the basic set-up for a slice-of-life. At least I thought it was a slice-of-life at first, albeit a quirky one.
It's not though, and that's the most wonderful thing with this manga.
It actually has a plot.
In the start stuff doesn't make that much sense. Though as you progress through the chapters, getting bits of information from the different narratives, you start to get the general idea of the history of the island, what's going on and the back story of the different characters. A lot of things are only implied (rather heavily though), leaving you to piece together the last bits yourself. The ending leaves you with a lot of loose ends, which makes me kind of sad since I possibly have to wait four years for the next volume (the chapters of the first volume were serialized between 2006-2010). Also, there's some comedy mixed into the story as well. It doesn't try being funny all the time, but when it wants to be it is fucking hilarious.
In conclusion: if you can read Japanese, read this.
If I suddenly came into elaborate amounts of money, I would track down Dowman Sayman/Douman Seiman and fund this to be an anime out-of-pocket.
It sounds cheesy as hell but I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced.... I felt it all here man.
This is a remarkably quirky, original, romantic, and funny manga in many ways that I was not expecting. The art is unique and western inspired but it only adds to the fun of the characters and the plot.
Seiman is a master of keeping multiple plot lines going at once that intertwine without one ever getting boring. I genuinely feel this is a perfect
manga in terms of story telling. There were no loose ends left even for the most minor of characters. Seiman has a gift of in a sexual, gross, quirky, and funny way making everything enjoyable.
I read it all in one sitting and then after had to go outside and experience "post good story ending" syndrome.
This is what got me aboard the Seiman fan train. I have since hunted the ends of the earth for every work translated to read in entirety. I literally never shut up about this manga or Seiman and their mastery of awkward romance comedy stories.
Short version: Voynich Hotel is a comedic slice-of-life series that excels at not taking itself seriously, and ends up being a lot of fun to read.
Voynich Hotel is a slice-of-life in a weird setting, much like Aria or YKK. But instead of focusing on the imaginative world of Neo Venezia, Voynich Hotel emphasizes the characters. The backstories of Elena and Taizou aren't tough to figure out, but they comes out one piece at a time, revealed through actions instead of straight-up exposition. In the meantime, these two go through the motions of a normal daily life, but in the midst of witches, zombies, and
Everything that happens is over-the-top crazy, but Voynich Hotel treats it like it's a normal everyday occurrence. This matter-of-fact attitude makes each interaction strange and unpredictable, and that combination is addicting. I read this always thinking, "how could they possibly react to this??" ...and still got pleasantly surprised each time.
So what's the worst two things you could put together? Great, now combine them and make it work out. That's the whole feeling of reading Voynich Hotel.
Sayman Dowman is an extremely interesting creator for two reasons. Firstly is his distinct art style which reminds one of Kouji Kumeta in its poppy sorta-minimalism. Secondly is his story-telling method of stringing together 'short-short' chapters and making sure each chapter resolves as its own small joke although still telling an over-arching story.
And also there's that whole 'quirky humor' aspect.
This storytelling tradition isn't really new in Japan though. Hoshi Shinichi and Yasutaka Tsuitsui are examples of writers who focused on making short stories that told an interesting set-up and bizarre twist in a few short pages. There's also Kawabata's famous 'palm of the hand stories'.
But there's a kind of joyous buzz you get when you read stories in this form, because they're like delicious little bits of confectionery. Each chapter is a surprise.
Thus, in order to honor the style of Sayman Dowman, here's a short-short that I call "CZXCJX DOES HIS OWN TAKE OF THE ISEKAI GENRE":
The man of no particular distinction was transported into a different world. He opened his eyes . He was in a small glade with sunlight streaming through the trees. A beautiful witch was standing there. The man of no particular distinction was surprised, but this was exactly what he had read about in the fantasy novels he was addicted to.
"Am I in a new world? Can I finally make a name for myself?" he said.
The witch smiled.
"Yes. I have called you here because I want you to destroy a great evil. A tyrant has conquered the city and he razed my village to the ground with his troops. I was the only survivor. I have held vengeance within my heart, seeking for the opportune moment to summon a heroic spirit such as yourself to aid in my vendetta."
He felt magic power throb in his muscles. He roared. She led him out of the glade to a camp whereby the rest of her comrades were waiting. They roared in joy as well. They provided him with armor and weapons. They taught him how to fight. The training was tough but he made many friends. A few months later, he was ready.
In the dead of the night, the band stormed the castle. The gates were opened thanks to a spy that had managed to get on the inner court's good side. The night guards were surprised, and they were cut down before they could react. Eventually, the rebellion reached the inner sanctum of the King.
Seated on the throne was a youth in jeans and a sweater - a man of no particular distinction much like himself.
He stood up.
He walked over to the center of the room.
He drew out his sword.
The first man was flabbergasted. He noticed that his allies were standing by the side. They watched without interfering.
The second man screamed.
"You are now the plaything of an Elder One! This grand show of Rebel and Tyrant is all a sham! If I should slay you, then you will be the next liege, and if you should slay me then I will retain my position! We shall all be eventual losers in this endless dance! And all the winner receives is a short stint of luxury before he has to return to the arena! Even then, that witch will always be there, reminding you that your soul shall eventually be hers to consume!"
The first man looked to the witch. She looked the same, but there was something sinister about her now. It was as though, behind that face, was a monster made of many eyes and the countless screams of the forgotten.
"The soul that is slain shall be eaten. But there is only one solution! You must die by your own hand! Only that way will you be spared from the accursed tentacles of Azathoth!"
The first man was in a pit and confusion as despair. Had it all been a lie? He was still a man of no particular distinction, and he was now going to be consumed in a dark pit of some alien mouth. Either that, or he had to fight to survive, and then die in a later day.
It was too much for him.
He took his blade, and gutted himself.
His blood spilled on the floor.
The last thing he saw, was the smile of the second man, leering at him with a ghastly face.
When the performance was over, the second man breathed a sigh of relief. The 'rebels' cleared the corpse away. The witch walked over to his side and sat on his lap. The night guards that had been 'stabbed' wiped away the fake blood from their armor.
"My liege. It seems that the next hero shall appear in the Day of Fires at the Stonehook Mountain. That is what is written in the stars."
The second man gave the witch a kiss on the cheek.
"Excellent. I am glad to have been the first one to think of this. I don't want any other losers getting in the way of my agricultural reform just because they want to play Hero and lead a meaningless rebellion. Soon, we shall finally have enough men and supplies to assault the Demon King's Castle in the East."
Outside of the castle, peasants labored away in square fields. It was the method developed by Chinese civilization that helped to maximize their own growth. But it was a method that did not work unless the people were co-ordinated to ensure that everything was working well together. The king was a pragmatic tyrant. He was inspired by the Legalist methods that he read in history books to help in administration of the Kingdom.
The main reason why the Kingdom was so easily besieged by the Demon King was precisely because of this lack of order. The 'heroic spirit' system was a stupidity that made the citizenry constantly look up to the heavens for a savior rather than take matters into their own hands. A few old documents and studies done by the scholars of the inner sanctum even contained the theory that this was an arrangement determined by the Demon King himself - done in order to ensure that only the weakest heroes would stand in his way while keeping the citizenry placated with false hope.
But, in a few years, they would finally stand a chance. It was a plan that was not made from relying on heroes, but it was made from the sweat of men.
The witch left the king's lap, and headed off to continue her preparation for the next 'summoning'. To help another poor sap get 'adjusted' into his new world.
This was going to be a new world all right. Just not what they were expecting.
Voynich Hotel is basically a spin off of the Addams Family manga (which does not exist). I mean, there are all these dark themes combined with humor just like in the Addams Family series . Everything takes place in this island called Blefuscu in the middle of nowhere, southwest of the Pacific. You see, the island's got a lotta history ever since its colonization and a lot of supernatural activities seem to be centered around this hotel and, on a broader scale, island. You have drug dealers somehow growing tons of pot in just one hotel room without anyone finding out about it for about
a third of the series, ghosts of yakuza members, ghosts of young and high mathematicians, witches, sociopaths, assassins, Mexican wrestlers, ghosts of assassins and, most importantly, maids. We follow the story of a Japanese tourist as he learns about Blefuscu and the witches, the ghosts, the abandoned amusement parks, the robot detectives and the assassins. It's all based on a true story.
But really, the story isn't what makes this series so fun to read. What really makes this manga so good is the humor.
There's something about the absurdity in this series that makes it hilarious. And no matter how absurd it is it can never be called "random". Random humor is not funny, this is funny. It happens to not make a lot of sense at points but it is treated as if it does and that's what makes the humor in this manga so spot-on. The characters contribute a lot to this absurdity as they are very absurd and mysterious themselves. You have an introverted maid with scars all over her body, another maid who's a presumably 13 year old girl wearing an eye patch, a hotel manager wearing a Mexican wrestling mask throughout the entire series, Chuck Norris' front tooth. The list goes on and thankfully, unlike other series, this manga explains why everything is the way it is later on.
The artstyle, although not perfect, compliments the characters and the aura of the manga as they're all drawn in a way that reflects their personality and character traits, plus it's eerie yet goofy just how a dark humor series should be. Though at first there doesn't seem to be much effort put into it, it becomes obvious how purposefully spooky and crude it is to give the series that aura of crude and spooky.
Overall, I have enjoyed myself to the fullest while reading this. The ending was on such a short notice but we're left satisfied as just about everything of actual importance has been explained. Plus, what would you expect from a comedy manga?
This Halloween I feel obligated to give this manga a big 10/10, truly a spooksterpiece and absolutely worth your time.
Just personal scratch.
Advised, possible spoilers.
Opinion & Informal
Art: 8/10 The unique art style of this was fresh and surprisingly fit with the mood and direction the manga went in. Cartoon-cute style. Anatomy and proportions weren't realistic but were instead part of the style so it was fine. The backgrounds and environment weren't too impressive. There weren't any 2-page spreads or impact-panels to note. This manga made up for it in storytelling and the atmosphere it was able to build.
Panel Progression: 7/10 Easy to follow but was very particular about details that added a lot of information. There were some nice use of panel-spanning art and
Characters: 8/10 This manga did a really good job in keeping me interested in the characters. I actually wanted to know what would happen to the side characters. This manga did a good job in keeping even the side characters interesting and getting me to want to know more about them. Although the MC could be said as an average bland MC, he did have enough mystery to him and substance that I didn't hate him. The MC was alright. I liked the two maids. I also really liked the ghost chick genius who got high and died. She was cute. The relationship with her and that manga artist was to die for. That one super short bit on how the manga artist hid the manga draft she liked because he was afraid of her finding happiness and ascending was just so touching and practically made this manga for me. I loved how each chapter could just be some shit show and not have too much meaning to it while others could just give you such well done character and world building.
Plot: 8/10 The synopsis does not do this manga justice. The plot though is actually super simple. It's a slice of life with a whole lot of twists. It does such a brilliant job of introducing the supernatural to reality. By the end of it I didn't even realize how casually I accepted everything that was thrown at me. This manga was able to blend so many crazy things like demons, witches, zombies, assassins, drug dealers, gangsters into a slice of life with smiles and mystery. It just all seemed so natural. I did not so much as question any of those and why they existed in the story.
Development: 10/10 Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Each chapter was very short, maybe no longer than 10 pages each, but each and every chapter had impact. Each chapter slowly added to the story. Bit by bit you were introduced to the characters, their backgrounds and the story. At its roots this manga is a simple love story between the MC and the main girl, but this manga throws so much more at you in such a natural way. The characters, their deaths, their departures... everything was done in such a nonchalant and natural way. The chapter and story progression also is like Haruhi but not as annoying; that's the best analogy I could think of. The story is non-linear and can jump from going chronologically, reverse, or all over the place. However, the way it's done is clear to understand and uncluttered. What this manga did so well was tell the story without using exposition. Things just happened and we were left to think about it. Nothing was too deep or confusing. Like I said, it's a simple story but the storytelling is what was so great about this.
Conclusion: 10/10 This type of open-ended ending was appropriate. There was a time skip in the chapter before the last to wrap up the side characters, then it jumps back to the circa present for the MC and main girl to go on a vacation together. The final reveal of her being a witch and his response was just too appropriate. The idea that they will continue on together and the future unknown was a good ending for this, I mean the story wasn't over the top but was over the top at the exact same time which is why this was so good. A super simple ending, for a super simple over the top love story. Great.
Overall: 9/10 Took me a bit to get my thoughts collected for this, but this was truly a great read once I thought about it.
I used to think that my favorite manga was Welcome to NHK but that soon changed once i discovered this little masterpiece.
I used to read a lot more but kind of fell out of reading manga so it was nice to be revitalized by something so fresh and unique.
The story of this manga is pretty fantastic, I wont give any spoilers so I will just say that everything really comes together quite nicely and at several points it had me sitting like L from deathnote in my seat glued to the computer screen.
The art is by far my favorite part of this
whole manga, it has this really neat western influenced style and a lot of things are animated really funky and unique to the point that it is eye catching. I showed some of the pages to my friends and all of them were asking me what manga it was from because of how cool it looked. The character designs are the best, i love how it has this hodgepodge of different designs and they work really well together.
Characters are always the most important part of manga and anime, setting and theme can be quite important but i always find that if the characters are bland or uninteresting it can totally ruin the whole thing,. well you wont be disappointed because there are some REALLY interesting and odd characters and most of them have engaging back stories that will draw you in and leave you wanting more even when you've completed the very last volume.
I got a lot of enjoyment out of such a short manga, I have read longer manga like rurouni kenshin and FMA but there was something about the quirkiness and personality of this one that really left something imprinted on me. I even have looked up the author Douman Seiman and read some of his other manga (of which i definitely enjoyed - would recommend), all in all i would say if you are on the fence just go for it. Its such a short manga you can feasibly finish it in a day if you really felt like it and chances are you wont be disappointed.