My first impression of the manga is that it has really nice art, which is what led me to read the story from start to finish.
Plot-wise, it's suspenseful and you have absolutely no idea what's happening. The story throws you into the eyes of our main-ish protagonist (I'll explain why I say '-ish' later) Ryoji Seusu, an ordinary factory worker who gets caught up in an accident with the Shikabane heiress, Hanako. It all starts out intense already, I mean, they get hit by a boiling vat and they all look fine, so I mean, nothing strange there. Weirdly enough, it's never explained why they're both okay and believe me, it has nothing to do with the supernatural, even though it felt like it was going to lead into it.
Due to guilt for the accident, despite it not being his fault, Ryoji agrees to serve Hanako in her home and...regrets it.
The home is definitely not his favorite place at the start and it only spirals out of control in the very short time he's been there. From how it's paced, it feels like it's only been two days since his employment there and many things happen one after another. Several which drive Ryoji and Hanako closer and everyone else apart.
The story isn't the most impressive, and you'll only be invested if you want to know what the hell's happening. And believe me, you don't get any closer unless you stick to the last chapter when it gets explained. While reading it, I was trying to piece everything together and realized that you only need to read the first like two chapters and the final one if you wanna know how it all plays out. I'm not saying it'll all be understood from there, but it's complicated in the middle and would probably make people nauseous if they're not into the whole 'gore' genre.
However, if you wish to read through the manga (it's only 10 chapters, so it's nothing heavy), then go on ahead. I did it mostly to understand the characters as they're the ones who really interested me to pick up the story. What can I say? I'm a sucker for clean looking character design.
The characters are all mad in some way, twisted due to circumstances, and all deal with different reactions towards loveless and negligent parents. From here, we only see their view on familial relations (though, it's obvious for the Shikabane family that their parents mostly cared for the legacy rather than their children) and how it corrupted them into the insanity driven cast we see in the manga.
Ryoji and Hanako are really the ones who stay sane through this out of bounds plot - this is if you can sustain your disbelief long enough to enjoy their relationship and interactions - but honestly, have the more plain designs. Prior to this section, I called Ryoji a main-ish character only because he gets back pedaled to the 'straight man' or the 'sane man' in a cast of very twisted characters. He's there to ground the reality that what the household is doing is NOT normal and that this is truly unacceptable. He's still a main character, but you can call any one of them a main character as there are very small arcs dedicated to each of them.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Shikabane are all distinctive in terms of personality and appearance. I won't spoil this section because...well, they're all pretty interesting, but the one who really caught my attention was the eldest sister, Juria. She's the example of an angel fallen from heaven...and then went straight into hell.
You can tell how messed up the children are and can see how the way they were raised messed up the way they are now. Earlier, I talked about how you can just read three chapters (first two and last) if you wanted to know the story, but if you wanna read through it for the characters, go on ahead. That's why I did it so I can figure out what the hell made them that way. All of their back stories are covered through flashbacks and other narrators, so they're more or less covered and fulfilled.
Again, more or less. They have their moments of being one dimensional, but don't put the author into fault too much as there's only ten chapters. And thankfully, the cast is small enough that each of them were covered pretty neatly in its entirety. However, they all have such deep rooted issues that if the author had a few more chapters and a less complicated plot, then their problems might've been solved in a better way?
I don't know, I should be happy with what I got considering how old this is.
Beautiful. Earlier I stated how plain the main duo were, but the rest were all very pretty and seemed like they were in a european setting. Which is strange considering how European the household is and yet they're all Japanese, but I digress. I suspended a lot of my belief for the story, so I'm gonna cut some slack on the designs. I'm sure their parents were European too, so I'm just being nitpicky.
Right, the characters are all cleanly drawn and their expressions conveyed what they felt. When they dreaded, you can feel it. When they're happy, you can definitely see it in more than the lines used to make them. The artist really knew how to reel in the right emotions and to show the disgust Ryoji felt for what was before him.
I wanna say a lot for the art, because, really, that's what drew me into reading it in the first place and I didn't see it decline nor improve during the serialization of the manga.
Art is pretty. Characters are twisted. Story is meh.
There's a plot twist and I'm not sure how to feel about it as I've recently just finished it.