Feb 4, 2009
Beatnik (All reviews)
Mod Note: This review was initially posted for the one-shot, Personant, and was subsequently merged into Koi no Kamisama.

Personant is like a manga written by Akito Takagi from another manga called [i]Bakuman[/i]. It’s smart enough to stand out from shonen generics, yet simple-minded enough to appeal to a young demographic. In short, it has the makings of a successful manga.

The year is 3333 and we begin with the 100th anniversary of the personant system. Everyone’s wearing masks, which have this cool blending-into-face sequence that probably looks spiffy animated. The purpose of the masks is to eradicate discrimination, conflicts, differences in appearance and class, and was apparently essential in the building of a society of equality and peace.

A guy called Damore wants to rip that peace apart, a reporter gal gets roped along and a big bad guy gives chase. That’s it.

So as mentioned above, this manga is a manga of two halves. Stuck between shonen and seinen. Big ideas ripe for exploration, but quick and easy execution. Like a burger dressed up as a cow. Or something. Anyway, you become aware of this juxtaposition when the author immediately starts putting sweat marks or stress veins in characters' faces, even though 90% of the people in this manga wear masks, and the author's entire point of the manga is meant to be how wearing these masks strips us of our individuality, yet ruins it from the get-go by giving these masks characteristics. Way to go buddy!

But it’s not something to moan much about, you have to be aware of the demographic the manga is aimed at. You just can’t have the manga be populated by stoic plain white masks with no facial reactions. The young readers would become restless quick. Well, that’s the reasoning of publishers and editors at least, who knows if that’s the case in reality.

The manga speeds along with no restraints, not bothered with the gigantic plot holes left in its wake, completely oblivious of the contrived coincidences and convenient plot devices. This is all just one gigantic shonen franchise condensed all into one chapter, like a greatest hits, or 101 Tips On How To Make A Shonen Manga.

Personant is a decent read if you're a shonen fan, as you've realised by now, but for shonen readers who also happen to be seinen lovers there is this slight hint of what could have been with this manga. There is this idea of an anarchist being the protagonist plunging the world into chaos which seems really cool, but in Personant everything's nice and simple, no edgy ideas at play, the good guy is good, the bad guy is bad, and what the good guy is trying to do is positive and not questioned at all in any way.

That is the difference between seinen and shonen at the end of the day, one author will ask questions, the other will just give answers.