Shuuichi Kagaya isn't human. He has an unnatural sense of smell, and can transform into an incredibly powerful beast... of sorts. He does all he can to avoid standing out and being discovered, but no good deed goes unpunished, and his decision to use his power to save a girl spells the end for his quiet life.
In the short span of 12 chapters this manga got my hopes up and died in my eyes, both at the hands of its fanservice. Where I once believed there isn’t a way this can flop, I am left to wonder what I liked in the first place.
Thinking back, it was probably the tension, the ambitious idea, the body horror, the nice reversal of gender tropes and shounen tropes: Gleipnir is structured as shounen, but it’s darker and more cynical, focused on the street brawl “by what means we have” philosophy. I was on board with the raunchy, sketchy art. I even enjoyed the weird
fanservice, slightly scary, slightly ugly, more sweaty bodies and flapping meat than the usual abstract balloon tits. And all of it was wrapped in a delicious urban legend setting, something with the logic of, say - you find an artifact on a scrapyard, and it works, it’s miraculous, but you probably should not pick it up. *sigh* …yeah, I guess it was a tall task to juggle so much.
So it fell – an overflow of fanservice washed away the magic. In addition to the unusual pandering, and partly instead of it, the author also added the usual type. It is baffling that the scenes, when female protagonist wears the male one (he is a living suit after all, look at the synopsis) are left out, but readers are fed simple pantsu-shots instead. Not to mention that with a girl who is the dick of the relationship in any possible sense and goes around naked a lot, pantsu-shots don’t feel like any sort of arousing transgression. Then there is also purely mindless fanservice, best demonstrated by a reoccurring frame, where they talk about something and suddenly a panel shows the female character’s giant thigh gap with visible vagina outlines, her word bubbles on top, just pointing upward. It doesn’t follow the male MC's pov, and nothing happens with the aforementioned vagina, aside from the fact that it’s suddenly more important than the conversation, so I am not sure why I should bother reading it. It’s heavy stuff too, with nipples always outlined and clitoris hinted through panties.
The incessant need for titillating material has already brought the female MC’s character to ruin, she’s been reduced to a psychotic nymphomaniac (acting crazy for the sake of crazy), which doesn’t bode well for the manga progression: the male MC is yet a non-character (he’s just got to the brooding part), and it’s her motivation which had to be the focus of the first part of the story.
The oft unnecessary fanservice is stalling, robbing the series of its momentum. By the 12th chapter there’s been plenty of sexual teasing, but we know nothing of the characters’ living conditions or interests. The world of monsters is being built bit by bit, but because of the padding the process is slow.
I am not sure about the supposed tactical approach to fighting, it doesn’t seem so clever lately. To be frank, even my positive stance on the art changed, I am perfectly fine with impressionist and untidy manga styles, but human anatomy here gets seriously messed up, and I am getting increasingly disappointed by how boring the unusual is portrayed. The art is not so good from the fanservice point of view as well – it’s not conventionally pretty, it displays a strange fascination with saggy tits, and the heroine’s bust size shifts from frame to frame (would be confusing to fap to, I suppose).
I’ve wanted to review this manga for a while, but in the end I have to write not what I hoped for. I guess, I am venting, sorry. Let’s wrap it up. So:
can I recommend this manga currently? It can be useful for those looking for very specific fetishes – living fursuit, girl entering her male partner, abusive teasing from female partner, saggy tits. But to a broad reader – no, it's borderline readable, but currently a mess. I allow for the possibility that it may improve to some degree, but I am hard pressed to imagine how the damage could be undone.
A very eh story with an interesting idea. That fails on multiple levels of some of the most basic stuff.
Monster designs tend to be creative and interesting.
First couple chapters are fairly interesting.
Some decent comedy.
Characters don't act like regular people.
Enemies tend to be cliche villains.
Story tries it's hardest to be as edgy as can be.
Female Main Character is just not that enjoyable she is kind of crazy.
Male Main Character is a whinny kid that gets powers and what not ( Typical Japan kid gets power trope )
Could have been interesting but got kind of annoying.
This is a good series to checkout on if you like action thriller, with a lot of nudity. I really admire the art and design of characters and monster so far, background art is also on point.
That being said, I feel the story could use faster pacing to move things along. The characters are uninteresting at this point other than the female protagonist. She is one hell of a fan service and I don't mind it as long as it doesn't stray too far from the meat of the story.
I'm enjoying this series for trying something different (albeit still in high school setting) when
it comes to action thriller. Which is frankly quite empty now that I caught up to Berserk and MPD Psycho.
When I first started reading this, I was reminded a little bit of Double Arts. Much like Double Arts, Gleipnir is a breath of fresh air in the sense that it lets more than just the main character shine. The story is really about Shuuichi, Claire, and their teamwork. I'm excited to keep reading to see how they improve over time.
In general, I'm always pretty happy with the art in manga. But, there is something about Gleipnir that goes above and beyond for me. I feel that the art style carries across more emotion and really fits the vibes that the author is going for.
highly recommend this series, and I hope that you will give it a try.