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.
Currently, I have read 21 chapters, and I must say there is room for potential. From the start, I reckon some people will assume the mindset that this is a manga with an excessive amount of fan-service with no real drive to develop the narrative, A.K.A. your typical go by quote, "I'm reading this for the PLOT!" when you're trying to justify an anime or manga that's just 100% lewd. Anyways, the story sounds somewhat ridiculous when you're confronted with the fact that protagonist-kun's transformation is that of a psychopathic mascot. But once, you overlook the fan-service and if you're not into corny transformations like
that, then it may just be enjoyable for you.
I know I like it enough to want more updates as I am curious to see where the manga will lead. Particularly the characters, since the protagonist (Shuuchi) and the girl (Claire) have opposing natures, yet they seem to have this "unique bond" with one another.
Oh yeah, there seems to be some new characters, so I'm hoping they will interesting or maybe the author will kill them off in the dozens like in those typical tragedy mangas.
Overall, the manga will either be a hit or miss for you. So, I suggest you try and consider whether you wish to continue it.
(Note: I'm not much of reviewer, but overtime I would like to think that my reviews would be more structured, entertaining, and helpful.)