A manga that deserves attention, truly. Sure the art is 90's style, but as with most of those hidden gems, you need to get past that hurdle. And honest, you get to a point where you start to like the style but thats just me. From my experience, this is the first manga of its kind, to have business/capitalism as a focal point in driving the story. Being someone who is constantly exposed to business in real life it was a definite treat, and I can only persist to say it will get better.
From everything I have watched and read, this is
the first to tackle business and capitalism in such a simple and entertaining way. First of all, it works. By that I mean, the capitalist backdrop is a perfect foil in exploring the human condition. It allows room for degeneration and also dramatic growth because of the inherent element of competition embedded in a capitalist system, which is perfectly designed to stimulate the excessive human desires. To have Ken (protagonist) and his sister removed from a position of wealth, status and authority, to the status of a slave-- exploited and controlled-- was a just representation of the capitalist system at its worst.
The reason I have given 10 stars for this is not because of the story, but the way the characters in Zenikko and their banalities, are to a certain degree relatable.
You can't really downgrade this because of the art. Yes, aesthetics are a key part to manga, but as long as the authors are capable of conveying emotion, one should not use this aspect as an excuse to drop this manga, or any for that instance. By now, I've come to like this retro style, one because I bear in mind that this sort of style used to be considered the best of its kind in the manga industry. We should allow a revival for this style.
I am a strong advocate of the idea that characterisation is more important than the story. Imagine: a fantastic story with bad characterisation is tiring and yet, a story with good characters and a bad story is pretty non existent because good characters make boring situations interesting. In Zenikko, characterisation is explored in 2 ways: 1. Hard-work and 2. The overarching theme of opportunism. Ken and his sister were taken advantage of by the opportunists, who lawfully used the capitalist system to their advantage. In the start, Ken was both naive to hard work and opportunism. during the chapters I have read, he comes comes face to face with the realities of hard work and opportunism and the way in which they can be used.
Well, the reason I have given it 9 is because the characters are sometimes too reactive. Yes, people are usually reactive, and it is probably the intention of the author to provide such a depraved representation of human vice and desire. Yet, these actions of depravity are never expressed in rational argument. There is only the theme of greed which runs the side characters to commit their crimes. It would be nicer to have a multifaceted view of their criminal activities but this does not detract from the characterisation of the main character as it only results in failure to show the reason why people in general do what they do.
The enjoyment comes from seeing someone who has been stripped from everything, come back to power to take back what was rightfully his. No, I am not talking about money, it is power. Zenikko makes it clear that information is power, and Ken comes both close to be destroyed from a lack of information, and succession with a surplus of it. Yet, one point keeps recurring, information is a double edged sword. Once again the reason for giving it a 9 is purely because I am being overly critical. After some time the lack of expression in reason for why the side characters interact the way they do with the main characters, builds a sort of void. But this does not take away from the overall score because it is a simple explanation of capitalism.
The reason for giving it 10 is because Zenikko flawlessly shows the importance of human relations. How capitalism, such a greed oriented system, is at the end of the day run by humans no smarter than you. You have to put in the hard work and find the right opportunities in order to reach your goals. Thus, it sheds a positive light on capitalism, that whilst it oppresses the poor, it is to a certain degree under your own volition that accepts your predicament of poverty. There are many themes that can be explored but I do not want to spoil anything so dig right in. Also, it teaches the art of business, quite a few quotes from Warren Buffet too but thats probably because I heard it first from him.
Don't miss out on this novelty!!!
This is my first review, I hope you feel informed and more inclined to read it now. Thanks!