The mafia boss of the Iwashi family is a high school girl named Konomi Minoko. But don't let her appearance fool you. She has done and seen things normal citizens can't even imagine. Under her control are two assassins who have gained legendary status for their deadliness and ability to get any job done. Ishikawa Rushia, codenamed Bullet, uses a modified handgun that uses a custom made hollow point bullet that explodes the target from the inside. Shirato Marin, codenamed Francesca, uses a original weapon that is a mix between a throwing axe and battle axe. Both of them are Minoko's high school classmates and seem like normal teenagers but are two of the most feared killers in the mob world who handle missions often involving other assassins and underground groups.
This is a brutal manga. Not only in premise, but in execution, trash. shows focuses on the lowest members of society, the trash of the human race. It's not entirely unexpected for a work devoted to assassins to be this way, but the grittiness that you'll find in trash. is more than just skin deep; it fearlessly tackles some of the darker aspects of the criminal world, without holding back and without being too melodramatic.
So, let's get into it: trash. is a manga that follows the exploits of two female assassins, Shirato "Francesca" Marin and Ishikawa "Bullet" Rushia, as they are contracted by the young yakuza boss and fellow high school girl Konomi Minoki. It's not exactly the most novel premise you'll find, by neither is it weak. It sets the stage pretty well for the events to come, though if one criticism is to be found, it might be: Why high school? For Minoki, it certainly adds an aspect to her character, but our two lady assassins have basically no discernible character depth relating to their identities as high school students. Regardless, Marin and Rushia's contract to Minoki makes the format of the manga fairly arc-based, episodic; basically you can expect each volume to be devoted to the dynamic duo taking out some target, or group of targets, and facing off against fellow thugs, criminal kingpins, and murderers for hire.
Let's talk about the smaller elements of the plot, the ones that really get me excited about this manga. Elsewhere, you'll find manga that deal with the bottom of society, and the scum therein, but rarely, in my experience, will you find them so committed to not leaving out the details. Not only will you find guns, drugs, and sex, but trash. puts the reader face to face with human trafficking, prostitution, physical, mental, and sexual torture, body modification, and a whole host of psychopathic lunatics that actually don't feel too over the top. There's more than one character that gets off on the misery of others, and although the main yakuza cast are placed somewhat as "the good guys", it's still fairly clear that nobody wins, nobody is free of sin when the name of the game is killing, and killing frequently. It's not that trash. gets its appeal from "edginess" or torture porn; it's just merely that as each brutal element is introduced, it doesn't feel all that forced, and it doesn't detract from the experience of reading the chapters, of furthering the plot.
As you might expect from such a premise, there isn't too terribly much character development in trash., at least not after the 31 chapters I've read so far. Rather, the character depth and change comes in the form of gradually learning the backstory of the assassins and criminals. This is something that trash. does surprisingly well, in my opinion. Yes, the scenarios are somewhat contrived, with too-lengthy exposition of past horrors being recalled precisely when that character relives a version of them in the present, but once again, it's not forced enough to take you out of the moment; it feels natural enough to work.
For the most part, it's easy to keep the characters separate, as they have strong, memorable personalities. I say "for the most part" because this is true primarily of the female characters, which comprise most of the cast. Most of the men are subsidiary to the women, not only in the main yakuza's hierarchical structure, but also in terms of characters depth and plot relevance... which is all fine, honestly. It doesn't feel like it loses anything by not having a majority of the characters being strong-willed strong-hearted strong men. In fact, having most of the main cast being women actually allows for some decent contrast in tone, with various moments of cuteness being appealed to, if not in the characters themselves, but in their perception of the world or situations around them. It feels pretty nice, as there's only so much dark, brooding cruelty that you can handle before you start to want at least a little bit of tone diversity.
The next thing to talk about would have to be the art, which is phenomenal. trash. is illustrated by the talented D.P, who among other things also illustrates Gun x Clover, and the similarities in style are very clear. It's worth noting that I actually think trash. is drawn a bit better; the character designs and set pieces tend to be a tad more minimalistic, which allows for a cleaner art style that is directly and satisfyingly contrasted with elements of hyper-detail, mostly pertaining to particularly gory executions. The fight scenes are dynamic yet easy to follow, which I appreciate. Too often, it's difficult to make out the exact movements of characters in a complex battle sequence, but the structure of the pages and the execution of each panel by D.P is good, very good, to the point where it's no trouble at all to piece together the fight sequences in your mind's eye. Additionally, the way character emotion is portrayed is particularly nice. With most of the characters living double lives, students by day, killers by night, the ability of the artist to separate these personas by facial expression and body language is pretty important, and it's done exceedingly well in trash.
Overall, it was impossible for me not to be drawn in by trash. as I was reading it. The action and plot development were well-paced, the characters and circumstances were addicting, and I was always eager to find out what would happen next, worried for the more vulnerable characters and excited for the stronger characters' opportunities to prove themselves. Not only is trash. similar to Gun x Clover, but it also feels a lot like Arachnid, another personal "Assassins killing assassins" favorite of mine.
Would I recommend trash. to you? Yes, I would, but conditionally. Like I've mentioned, it's got gore, it's got rape, it's got a whole host of rather heavy topics that honestly aren't for everyone. trash. does a decent job juggling those darker moments with occasional flashes of brighter merriment, but all in all, the tone of the work is dark and mean. If you don't mind that, then absolutely, I would recommend trash. to you. If you're a fan of those things, then why are you not reading it already?
Story: 8.75/10. Well-paced and gripping in all the right ways, if not necessarily the most original manga
Art: 9.5/10. Detail is paid to all the right things, with plenty of ultra-detailed gore and a fair amount of fanservicey ecchi moments to top it off.
Characters: 8.75/10. Exciting and unique, though somewhat static. It's easy to find at least a few favorites amongst the cast.
Enjoyment: 10/10. A wild ride that won't leave you disappointed.
Overall: 9.4/10, would absolutely read again (and anxiously awaiting more chapters)read more
"The scum of the world belong in one place and one place only, the trash..."
(For +18 readers only)
With mature themes and a dark tone to the overall story, Trash. is about 2 high school bounty hunters/assassins girls that work for the daughter of a Yakuza, and they have the job of putting the scum and most worthless people in the world "into the trash"(killing them, of course...).
Following Marin "Francesca" and Rushia "Bullet", our overpowered and self-sufficient main protagonists deal with a sea of rapists, killers, gangs, and even other bounty hunters in order to make money to buy food and live.
Blood, intestines, and brains, are only some of the daily experiences our hatchets and pistol dueling killers go through everyday. The plot involves many unexpected cliff hangers and unlikely situations deriving from the characters' involvements. The reality portrayed is often exaggerated, but it does contain many similitudes to our crude world.
The art is impressive in the exaggeration of the action scenes. The gore is enough to invite the hardcore readers as it does well depicting the darkness in this story. Despite it's great art, the over-amplified action scenes can add an unnecessary comic sense to many scenes(apart from the occasional comic relief), but it's dark tone is well kept through-out the manga. The character designs, weapons, and backgrounds are splendid.
The characters' backgrounds are well fleshed out and can create a sense of immersion into understanding their ideologies. Even though it relies heavily on the explicitness of the art, the plot is good on it's own and it's enticing to action lovers.
An exciting fast paced manga with a plot as dark as it's characters. Enjoyable through shootings, stabs, and slashes, you will end up grinding you teeth with hatred towards the Trash of this world.