"One seed gives birth to one million melons." Did you know that? What could be more amazing than one million melons!? Just thinking on it I feel like singing... Dun Dun Dun... Dun Dun Dun... Catch my heart! Berry Melon! Berry Melon... Catch my heart! Berry Melon! Berry Melon... sorry. There's only one thing more amazing than the deliciousness of a melon and that's Konjiki no Gash!
Konjiki no Gash appears to be just an ordinary shounen, which isn't false to say, but it doesn't have to be anything else. The manga serves the genre justice by emphasizing the merits of shounen: action, friendship, difficult challenges,
character growth—all are handled excellently to where they shine. By focusing on what makes the genre so popular: dramatic battles, important friends, teamwork, it doesn't waste time with unnecessary crap trying to be unique or extraordinary. As a result the quality of it never wavers. With fan service and complex plot omitted there's less to distract or confuse the reader, making for a more enthralling adventure for those who seek and enjoy grade A shounen material.
Focusing on the life of Kiyomaro Takamine and Gash Bell, two strangers thrust together and forced on a quest of epic proportion, the tale revolves around their hardships and joy along with the other characters. Similar to siblings, Gash is the young, energetic and naive little brother while Kiyomaro is the old, calm and rational big brother. Side by side they face the challenges that await them as a team, unlike some shounen which paint the MC as the lone wolf who holds the world on his shoulders. In Konjiki no Gash, they lean on each other to build an unbreakable resolve, their friends' desires become their own and as one they strive ahead, emphasizing the power of friendship and teamwork.
Crucial to the enjoyment, the character interaction will make you laugh, cry, facepalm, cheer, and smile as it encompasses the entire manga. The pacing, while arguably a snail's pace, shows thought put into development of the story with each encounter leaving a memory and impression on Kiyomaro, Gash, and the reader. The art, while being silly, does a great job at expressing emotions and thoughts. In its exaggerated nature, it becomes easier to get a feel for the absolute terror, determination, joy, and sadness the characters display. It can cause you to laugh at its ridiculousness while feeling despair when tears begin to flow.
Konjiki no Gash will always hold a place in my memory due to its unadulterated presentation by being hilarious in its childish nature and dramatic with its story, the way it emphasizes the importance of friendship and determination while making me cough up a lung, and the silly art style and how it complements the overall theme of the manga. I highly suggest it to anyone who likes shounen, comedy or what those genre have to offer. Oh and melon, especially if you enjoy melon... Bwraaaaa! Bwraaaaa! Berry Melon! Berry Melon!
Feb 21, 2015
Black cats are known for getting a bad rap, this manga is no exception. Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, it follows the events surrounding Pluto, an intelligent black feline aptly named after the Roman god of the underworld and the judge of the dead. He plays a crucial role in the dark grotesque short story that is "The Black Cat."
The story begins with his master coming home from a night out drinking. Having loved animals all his life you wouldn't expect a few drinks to change this. Though you'd be sadly mistaken as he eventually abuses Pluto in a fit of ... rage. This event soon progresses into the unthinkable happening but I won't spoil the details. As the story is the most redeeming factor of this manga. (A warning in advance, it contains nudity and sexual acts.)
The manga's art I'd say is fair at best. Many times I feel the dialogue doesn't match up with the expressions. The faces seem monotonous and lacking emotion. Though it excels with Pluto and the grotesque scenes. I would have liked to see more Gothic-esque aspects to it.
The characters are of similar quality. While it's based on a short story with little development or characterization. There could have been subtle things added to flesh them out more. Such as more insight into the thoughts of their actions instead of just following the details of the original story.
Overall for being an adaptation. It's fair in the representation despite changing and leaving out details. It could have been much better given a different art style and more characterization. Disregarding these faults it's okay for being a one-shot and does well to promote Edgar Allan Poe's works.
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Oct 1, 2014
Produced alongside the anime variant, this manga is just that, a variant. Not to be confused by the synopsis quote "Which goes BEYOND the plot of the TV series!". It's a story that goes beyond it fully, being a new story all to itself, but still based on Keiichi Sato's concept designs. If you're starting it with the impression of learning more about the anime you may end up, dissatisfied. With that cleared up I'll attempt to review The Big O without comparing it to the anime.
With the same plot, it features Roger Smith. The top negotiator of Paradigm City, a city which lost it's ... memories forty years ago. The premise surrounded in mystery is one that's prominent throughout the series but not stressed with importance. It's like the saying goes, "The journey is more important than the destination". Being shrouded in mystery the series has quite a bit that isn't explained or told straight to you.
While this could be viewed as a bad thing, it's a unique approach. One of which I both liked and disliked, probably because I'm use to knowing the truth behind everything. These holes fit well with the setting in that no one remembers much from forty years ago. Also it limits and humanizes the perspective of the reader. Instead of being the all knowing god with everything explained, you're left feeling much like the characters in the story, confused and unsure about things. Though luckily for you, you remember who you are.
On the topic of characters, The Big O manga has a good variety of them. From the cool and confident ladies man Roger Smith. To his diligent and loyal butler Norman. The antagonists as well have traits specifically only to themselves, which adds a good amount of individualism. They aren't your generic evil or corrupt individuals bent on seeing others suffer. No they each posses their own agenda and have distinct ways of going about achieving their goals.
The pacing of the manga is a bit weird for me personally. It might be because I read it too quickly or my inexperience with reading manga. Broken up into chapters it usually begins and completes stories between them. Sometimes introducing new characters without much back story, it at times seems to rush the plot forward. Though I attribute it to the mystery aspect, in that you aren't explained everything to begin with.
As for character development, there isn't much. It's more along the lines of character expression. You slowly get introduced to the personality and thoughts of the characters through their actions and dialogue. This spans the majority of the manga even up to the very end. I enjoyed this representation as it made me feel more like a bystander watching instead of being inside the mind of the characters.
The mecha or megadeus as they're referred to in the story are unlike conventional giant robots. Not exhibiting ninja-like speed nor grace, they're metal behemoths that rely on brute strength and "old school" weaponry. Their purpose and creators a mystery to those who control them. Though this hardly stops them from duking it out in the streets of Paradigm.
Finally the art of the manga which is a critical part was overall, really good. As I've said I don't have much experience with manga, so put beside newer and more well received manga it probably doesn't compare. Though for me I quite enjoyed the art and it's "Noir film" and "Batman The Animated Series" similarities. Which apparently was a big influence for the series as a whole. I've read many times where The Big O has been labeled, "batman with mechas". While very similar I'll agree, it still holds a uniqueness that makes it one of a kind.
In summary, it's a good short series to read if you're into noir, mecha, or mystery. I enjoyed all of these aspects and how they were brought together. It stuck true to Sato's concepts and did a great job. A true classic for what it strived to be at the time and for it's presentation.
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