In his second collection of short stories, Mohiro Kitoh recounts the tragic fates of people living in a half-futuristic, half-fantasy city whose inexorable structural decay seems to be mirrored in its citizens hearts.
The loneliness and longing of humans is often portrayed and caused through society. In Kakutoshi no Yume the desolation of the people is caused by the city's decay, while at the same time representing it; this is done through the characters and mature themes treated in this manga.
The story of Kakutoshi no Yume focuses on the daily life of people in the slowly structural decaying city. The story of the manga is episodic, treating different subjects such as loneliness, love, longing, or just the encounters and interactions with different people, be it beggars or people from the underground. The narrative seems vague at times, which
seems to be intentionally to make the reader dwell upon the story and the people.
There is a variety of characters, each with their own motives, goals and their own way of thinking. The characters behaviour is displayed realistically through dialogues and different ways of interacting with their environment according to their character. At times it is difficult to truly understand some of the characters; this is left to the reader to imagine through little hints, the narrative and art.
The art style of Kakutoshi no Yume is simple, and at the same time lacking. The different characters are very simple in design and are difficult to distinguish, making it for the reader difficult to follow the story, while at the same time leaving the reader confused whether the characters in each story allude to a previously presented one or not. The backgrounds are well drawn, though more detail would be appreciated as it would present the vast desolation of the city better.
Kakutoshi no Yume was overall an enjoyable read, through the different stories representing loneliness, love, interactions with people and the characters. What it lacked in character design, it made up with the story. I would recommend it to anyone who has interest in the psychological genre, beside being a relative short manga.
It is difficult to understand what we want in this world, and in turn, what this world wants from us. We never realize that sometimes, our own insecurities can sometimes influence the world we inhabit. Hallucination From The Womb is a manga that tackles the maze of human wanting, it sheds light on the basic human principles of longing while at the same time, illustrating how what you want can hurt what you can't see.
Story: Hallucination From the Womb breaks its story down into smaller vignettes. Stories of people and their everyday lives with small changes. The stories are all different in their own ways,
dealing with the feelings of love and life in a way that is so real its haunting. What is amazing about each of the stories is the way they are presented. There is no grand battle to save the planet, there is no evil lurking beneath the shadows, it is just people looking for something more than just themselves.
Character: This is where the story truly shines. Each of the characters are given there own unique way of speaking, moving and interacting that is fits them. Their goals are sometimes explained, while other times they are hinted at, forcing the reader to guess at their motives, just like in reality. What is great about the work is that many of the characters are perfectly ruined (just like the city they inhabit) but still manage to carry on with life. In a strange way, its inspiring.
Art: This is where the title falters. Each of the characters (though original in their own right) are each drawn the same way. It was difficult to try and decipher one character from another, and sometimes it was near impossible. The designs of the decaying city were wonderful, clear, crisp and average in a way that spoke with a haunted realness.
Overall: I loved the manga. What it lacked in art it made up for in quality and its ability to capture life at its darkest but still being able to make seem real. Though, this title is not for younger readers, not just for its themes, but also for the depictions of naked girls (Especially in later chapters). Hallucinations From The Womb is a wonderful title that is sure to leave a lingering impression.
With a title like Hallucination from the Womb, you know you are in for a strange experience. Like a siren from ancient myths, it will grab your attention, and then probably drown your brain-cells if you get too close to it. Similar to modern art, some stories appeal to readers by asking them to insert their own interpretation. If you love to immerse yourself and analyze the details of a story, then this manga might just be for you.
The reader will be treated to several fascinating short stories involving the citizens of Shell City, a futuristic yet decaying setting. Undead will rise, children will be
kidnapped, people will be cloned, and that is just a minor taste of what this anthology contains. After finishing all the short stories, it may be hard to pin-point what the manga is truly about. Twisted love, death, pedophilia, regrets, obsession, one can find many themes on full display. Jumping up and down like a spastic kid that just made his first puzzle in art-class, the stories are just vague enough to make you curious of what it all means, if there is a solution at all.
Even the title would lead one to believe that there are many double-meanings at play. On the one hand it is called Hallucination from the Womb, but the more literal translation would be Dreams from Shell City. While it is only speculation, the short stories seem to be labelled as dreams and hallucinations, and the city which they all take place in is meant to symbolize a womb.
The manga's most notable downside is the artwork. While it lends itself well to the style of the crumbling city, and its downtrodden characters, the author tends to recycle the exact same character-designs over and over again. Whether it was intentional or not, making it hard to distinguish characters from each other did not help the overall story.
Ultimately, being so open for interpretation makes Hallucination from the Womb difficult to judge, and it is certainly not for everybody. Being strange is however the nature of this beast, and it’s a trait that will make it inexplicably enjoyable for some.