The story of Ciguatera follows Ogino, who is bullied in high school along with his friend Takai. The two rely on their passion towards motorcycles and desire to get one to add some hope and vigor to their otherwise bleak lives.
The two are learning to drive in secret at a driving school, and it is there that Ogino's life begins to change forever. The manga follows a variety of characters through their high school and working lives, through their struggles, their triumphs, their dreams, their futures, their love, life and loss.
Ciguatera is a mature manga from Minoru Furuya, author of Ping Pong Club and Himizu.
Ciguatera is about a boy, bullied to the point of torture at school, who takes solace in his love for motorcycles and in the crush he has on the beautiful girl at his motorcycle licensing class.
It's a story that veers wildly between being sexy and being crass; being hilarious and being disturbing. It's never boring and will make you think... and yet, the time skips and plot holes (not to mention the horrendous last chapter) keep the manga from being as good as it almost is.
In the end, you like ecchi seinen romances with a hefty dose of black comedy, you can certainly do
a lot worse.
Story (7): The last chapter is awful, and feels like it belongs to a different manga. Also, their are several plot holes, and is pretty cavalier in it's attitudes about sexual assault--all of those things keep it from being a great story.
And yet, despite all of that, I really enjoyed most of the story. The story jumps forward quite a bit, introducing confusion but this also means that it never dwells for too long on any particular side story or plot arc. The painful and awkward bits, therefore, never last for very long. And most of the plot arcs are either genuinely interesting or hilarious--so chances are very good, that if you just keep reading for another chapter or two, you'll hit something that you love.
Art (6): Not a big fan of the artwork here. The MC's face is so over-exaggerated at times (and just plain ugly when it is) that it becomes distracting. It would be fine if it were just done for comedic effect, but it's hard to take him seriously when it happens in scenes that are building dramatic or romantic tension. Also, the heroine's look feels too dependent on her hair, so that when she changes her hair I didn't notice at first that it was supposed to be the same person.
Character (9): The characters here are great. The main character is clearly insecure and baffled by the various predicaments he finds himself in. He's a little annoying at times, but always relatable and never is he too stupid for too long. His relationship with the heroine is very well done. The bully isn't nearly as detestable as he first seems, and the friend characters all have interesting grey areas. I couldn't have asked for a better cast of characters.
Enjoyment (7): There are probably half a dozen chapters that I hated. Thankfully, they were dispersed throughout the manga and none of them lasted too long. Mostly, however, I just couldn't stop reading. Even when I didn't like what was happening, I always wanted to know what was going to happen next--and ended up having a good time in the process.
Overall (7): It's been a long time since I've had such a love-hate relationship with a manga. Ciguatera hits at least three of my pet peeves (sexual assault, bad ending, distracting artwork)... and yet, I couldn't put it down, and still think back on those characters fondly. So I'll compromise on a "very good" ranking, and be done with it.
Minoru Furuya's Ciguatera is a cynical slice of life story about an average boy in high school who gets bullied, but relies on his passion for motorcycles to get him through the day. The thing I liked best about this manga is that it's real while still being entertaining the story is slow moving but at the same time has rapid character development and some unexpected events. It's also a manga that sneaks up on you where you might read it and just like it but you keep thinking about it weeks later.
The characters are a bit hard to love. First you have the
main character, a normal high school boy who is humiliated by getting bullied along with his best friend. They start out as kind of under dogs you could relate to and have sympathy for but they drastically change as the story goes on and although they both find different niches neither of them gain any confidence so they just seem a bit timid the whole story. Then you have the asshole bullies who make their life hell and the leader of the pack only continues to taunt the main character more personally as the story goes on. But at the end I think the author did a good job at kind of just putting them in their place as the kind of realistic people who actually exist in this world that we just have to accept.
I enjoyed this manga very much. It's very entertaining and even though it has my favorite aspect of slice of life being slow and realistic it still has some thrill. So I can see this being liked by all different kinds of people as long as they are old enough to understand and appreciate mature content.