Ten years ago, there was an explosion at Hisano's apartment building. She would have been there, but she'd been hit by a bike ridden by a boy in blood-stained clothes. He dropped a toy scale when it happened, and she's been hanging on to it as a good-luck charm ever since. Now Hisano's in high school. One of her teachers was murdered, and the police are investigating. A young man suddenly appears carrying the toy that scale belonged to. And perhaps... can he also see the hallucinations Hisano has always been plagued with? Everything is connected as the pattern slowly rises to the surface.
Coelacanth will remain one of the most elegant and beautiful artistic shorts Ive read to date, it's collective story was truly magnificent. A mysterious drama that deals with the dementia of a human psyche in conjunction with one enigmatic romance that's just all the more intellectually stimulating. The artistic genuinety posed by this magnificent piece is simply astounding, the author Kayoko Shimotsuki really did create something wonderful.
I tend to dote on the art of this piece more than anything else, though the story remains just as strong. It's so rare to see a series stick to it's Shoujo roots, all the while remaining enticing, interesting, and exciting at every turn. The artwork has some of the cleanest line work Ive seen thus far, as well as a feel for the more abstract that further enhanced what the story was attempting to convey overall.
This story primarily deals with a young teenage girl named Satomi Hisano, who just so happens to see a condescending sheep hallucination that belittles her into a state of insecurity and longing. When she was very young, the apartment where she lived burned to ashes in an explosion. An enigmatic young man named Yukinari Yanagi is somehow connected to said fire, and one unexpected meeting connects events that slowly rise to the surface.
Many times in my life, someone has asked me, "What's your favorite manga?"
It's a difficult question, isn't it? There are so many stories and pieces of art, each one different from the last. There are lots of manga that I have enjoyed, yet none in particular ever seemed to come to mind. I found myself wondering, at the end of each series, "Why isn't this good enough to be my favorite?"
Coelacanth is the answer.
Reading this manga, you begin to realize how artful and complex a story can be -- and, in turn, how life can be this way too. Although the plot should be ridiculous and unbelievable, anyone who has ever felt emptiness in themselves will find it eerily familiar and relatable.
But it's more than that human sadness that makes this particular story come alive. Each moment is powerful and unexpected, shocking and heart breaking, without ever once becoming a predictable cliche. The storytelling is masterful and the art is flawless. The characters are layered and well developed, full of doubt, hate, pain, and love.
For me, the most striking character isn't even one with a name. It's Hisano's hallucination, a sheep born from the despair in her heart. As someone who has suffered with serious depression in the past, this sheep affected me particularly. By the end of the story, I was asking myself why I had never seen sheep before.
But regardless of your experiences or happiness, Coelacanth will definitely hit home and touch you in a painful, beautiful, hopeful way. And, like me, you may walk away finally having an answer.
Coelacanth are considered to be a "living fossil", meaning that they haven't undergone any major mutations or adaptations for over 400 million years, and I imagine that this manga is somewhat similar in that respect. This manga has themes that are incredibly relatable for everyone. Nothing like a creepy sheep that speaks the darker parts of your psyche to understand a murder mystery, hmm?
This is one of those perfect, short manga that everyone comes across. It has lovely art, a crafty storyline, and some bomb-ass symbolism. Even if you're not into shoujo, I swear that this is on an entirely different level.