Ah yes, gimme those wacky homicidal hijinks the Japanese do so well.
This falls more into the 'silly' category than 'horrifying insanity'. The violenceAh yes, gimme those wacky homicidal hijinks the Japanese do so well.
This falls more into the 'silly' category than 'horrifying insanity'. The violence is (relatively) tame; instead the the focus is more on the absurd circumstances our characters find themselves in, locked in their school unless they can murder another student and get away with it (it gets worse too, but I don't want to spoil ALL the surprises).
Have I mentioned how much I love that "survival game" is basically an entire genre in manga?
I love the make-up of the student body, all of them handpicked for Hope Academy because they're the best at something. What this translates to is that not only do you have the "Ultimate Pop Star" and the "Ultimate Martial Artist", you also have the "Ultimate Affluent Progeny" and the "Ultimate Moral Compass".
And then there's the bloodthirsty teddy bear headmaster.
I do have a question though: can someone tell me if that thing on the head of the Ultimate Biker Gang Leader's head is his hair or a hat?...more
These stories serve as sweet and sad reminders that every death, every statistic is someone with a story.
The two stories here are related to a scene aThese stories serve as sweet and sad reminders that every death, every statistic is someone with a story.
The two stories here are related to a scene and characters from Battle Royale; one is action occurring "off-screen" while another gives us backstory, both leading up to the same scene from the novel. It's been several years since I read the novel, and while it may be possible to appreciate much of what's going on regardless, I'm glad I was able to dig out my copy of the novel and refresh my memory, as the scene in question has a lot going on.
Overall I enjoyed these very much. My only real complaint is that having the stories drawn by two different artists resulted in the repeated scene and characters looking very different in each story. The first artist opted for a more European look for the characters, including making two of the girls blonde, while the second artist drew them as more Japanese and all having dark hair. I think perhaps the repetition would have worked better without such noticeable differences.
I also quite liked the author's afterword. The world has changed significantly since Battle Royale was first published, but if anything we may need stories like these even more....more
One of the things I really appreciate about Japanese manga is their ability to combine the wacky and the horrifying with a straight face. Others mightOne of the things I really appreciate about Japanese manga is their ability to combine the wacky and the horrifying with a straight face. Others might place the reader at a safe distance to be able to laugh at the absurdity of it all, but the manga writer wants you right in the middle of it, only able to scream, "What the hell is HAPPENING?" I love it.
I've only gotten into manga pretty recently and I already know that the cute little girl who is really a terrifying killer is not a new idea, nor the "It was looking to be another normal, boring day and then my entire class was slaughtered" concept. MGA is as aware of these as it is the Magical Girl concept it is skewering; where it exceeds is dialing these concepts up to 11 and making sure those beats of rest you expect in a narrative like this are shorter than you expect before pulling the rug out from under you again.
I'm certainly looking forward to the next volume....more
So here's my question: as the highly sexualized female nudity (and rape apologist attitude - the "honorable" young male character actually says afterSo here's my question: as the highly sexualized female nudity (and rape apologist attitude - the "honorable" young male character actually says after throwing a jacket at the naked girl he's just rescued, "Put it on or I might attack you myself"!) and violence means that this is expected to largely be read by a young male audience, why does the (non-sexualized) male nudity need to be pixelated? Are young men really so disturbed at the sight of their own genitalia? School showers must be hell.
A comment in another review suggests that things get better after about ten volumes. Why on earth would I want to invest that much time and money in reading something that I admit has promise but still makes me want to punch someone?...more
In some ways this feels like the YA dystopia I've been waiting for, one where the characters are literally trapped in high school. That being said, thIn some ways this feels like the YA dystopia I've been waiting for, one where the characters are literally trapped in high school. That being said, there's nothing particularly special about the writing or the plotting, and the characters run the bland gamut of straight mostly white middle class teens (with one flamboyantly gay drama kid - quelle surprise). It's like a movie you'd watch all the way through at least once if it happened to be on TV, but not something worth buying. It's fun enough that I'm probably going to read the next two books in the trilogy, as long as I can get them from the library....more
This is not "literary horror"; this is literary fiction that uses horror elements, at best to add elements of magical realism, and at its worst in a dThis is not "literary horror"; this is literary fiction that uses horror elements, at best to add elements of magical realism, and at its worst in a dismissive ironic hipster way. As someone with a deep appreciation of the way horror can give us unique insights into the human condition, I find this tendency aggravating and all too frequent in writers of contemporary literary fiction.
But wait, there's more.
The psychiatric hospital in this book is very familiar to anyone who's read much. It's a warehouse containing people who don't really belong there or who will be institutionalized for the rest of their lives, with a tragic few who end up a member of both categories, in large part due to the fact that such institutions have little ability to actually help anyone, so instead they just medicate everyone enough to make them manageable.
I'm also someone who has dealt with mental illness since childhood, and it is depictions of psychiatric hospitals just like this that led me to avoid seeking treatment until my thirties.
I'm not saying that the abuse and neglect written about psychiatric hospitals in fiction doesn't exist, but I'm tired of it being the ONLY way they are depicted. There are mentally ill people to whom a psychiatric hospital is a place of safety and help. Some of them even leave without escaping, still mentally ill, but having gotten the help they needed.
I really would have liked to have given this a better rating; there is much about the writing to compliment. But I'm not convinced that it's a story that needed to be told....more