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Surprise! A manga series I don't like!

Somewhere in here is a sad little story about star-crossed lovers, but it's totally overwhelmed by a cast of grotesques with revolting ways of killing people. The graphics are striking but ugly. Even the (sort of) good guys are beetle-browed and sinister. (And in fact, when I commented on this, the Mr. informed me that "there are no good guys; they're all bad guys.")

The outline of the story: a treaty has kept the Iga and Kouga ninja clans from wiping each other out. During this period of detente, Oboro of the Iga clan and Gennosuke of the Kouga clan fell in love and in fact, plan to be married. But now the treaty has been dissolved, and most members of both clans couldn't be more pleased: they promptly start killing each other.

Basilisk, vols. 1-2 (review)

The level of grotesquerie in the character drawings here is rather amazing, and even characters that you would think could be left out of the freak show - aren't. Believe me, as a Samurai Deeper Kyo fan, I don't have lots of warm fuzzies for Tokugawa Ieyesu, but he doesn't deserve his depiction here, with what seems to be a huge stubbly goiter growing out of his throat. Characters are introduced and disposed of so quickly that it becomes clear why it's necessary to have each one labelled with a little placard when he or she shows up, giving his or her name and clan affiliation. There's the rubbery guy, the guy whose blown breath becomes tornados, the guy who can shrivel himself up like a slug, the vampirish girl, the spidery guy ... pretty soon it all runs together in a hodgepodge of ick.

There are also some odd choices for handling cultural issues. The books have some nice notes in the back on things like honorifics and the political figures mentioned. But when a dying character gives her disguised comrade a coded message that addresses him as "Anii-sama" (which the notes in the back tell us is the older form of "Onii-sama," honored older brother), the text just has her using his name. The notes say something about how it would have seemed odd to have kept the honorific title, but I think it loses a lot of flavor. And come on - the girl in question has just been killing people by sucking out all their blood - and not just with her mouth (the series is rated Mature ...). And we're supposed to be put off when she addresses someone as either "Anii-sama" or "Honored Older Brother"?

So why in the world did I read this thing? It was lying around the house, that's why. Oh well ... at least it gave me chance to prove that I'm not an indiscriminate reader who likes everything. And you have been warned ... .



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
pft. Read the first Basilisk. If it'd been about the lovers and that conflict I would have been nuts about it. Instead, it was what you said. Basically, it's likethe Ninja Scroll movie: an excuse for porn with swords and monsters. The Live Action movie-Shinobi-was considerably better, though(I love Nakama Yukie, the lead actress, and that influences my opinion of it) no porn, considerably less grotesque designs, etc, but still mostly the fighting(and one character is a direct rip of a Blade of the Immortal character, but we won't get into that)

There are enough other samurai manga(and anime and live action series) that I don't feel bad about there being a crummy one.
May. 8th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)

Oh, I'm sure there are lots of cruddy manga ... but I'm ticked that I could find both volumes of this and not both volumes of Blade of the Immortal. To do my best beloved justice, he did spend some time poking around his side of the bed looking for it (we both tend to develop accretions of reading materials on our respective sides, but his are more likely to slide under the bed because he has newspapers in his), but he couldn't find it!

Plus I just get annoyed when somebody commits yucky on purpose.

May. 8th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my bed is like that...my entire apartment, really.

BotI gets really, really bloody, and there are a couple of very sick characters in it and a couple dark parts(Beasts, in particular, which I can warn you about if you want, but it's not gratuitous), but nothing compared to that(in the scene I posted where Magatsu describes what was done to his girl, it's actually the cleaned up version of what was done, but we don't see it happening, just her afterwards, and then later, the guy who did it talks about it to taunt Magatsu)

Basilisk was just...eeeeeh...
May. 8th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)

I can deal with sickos as long as they don't triumph in the end. I read through vol. 1 and liked it - I like Manji's down-to-earth ethics, and the facts that he has ethics.

(BTW, sorry for what's going on at your place. I didn't mean to step into the middle like that, and I shouldn't have answered back, but I felt I was being used against you, and I hate that. No on messes with my friends, dammit, and no one gets to use me that way.)

May. 8th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
heh, no it's fine. the thing is that we ALWAYS argue/debate whatever and sometimes can do it for hours, but it's always clearly our opnions and stances, as opposed to the people that have them, but today for whatever reason it seems to be personal, but he(who's been a friend for a long time and hopefully that isn't changing) doesn't seem to realize thatits coming across as personal.

Ethics in BotI are interesting simply because the good/bad line is so blurry. The only character who really seems to have a well defined, unshakable moral code is Magatsu(who, incidentally, is my favorite manga character ever, though hes only a random-if interesting-opponent in vol 2) and even that is a rather basic one "stand by your friends, keep your word, kill samurai, protect women, don't hurt women unless it's the only way to keep them from killing you"(and really, there's only one woman who has a chance against him, and they're on the same side.)
May. 8th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
i watched the anime series. there really is no porn, at least none that's too graphic or actually show it. i'm the opposite. i liked the anime but hated the real movie as i feel that the real movie left out alot of the characters and they mess with the anime ending, which i liked better. never read the manga so i don't know if the ending was different.

but i have to agree that some parts of the anime were better left out and the storyline is flaw. the characters dies so quickly that i find myself not liking most of them because they didn't have much depth before they were quickly depose off. those that i do actually like are nevertheless kill off too. characters that suppose to be good are extremely annoying and bad.

all in all, not a very good anime but still bearable if you have nothing better to watch.
May. 8th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)

Well, that means I won't watch it ... 'cause I hardly ever watch video stuff anyway. I just got out of the habit - when I want to be brain-dead for a while, I play computer games (Civilization, or if I'm really brain-dead, Mahjongg).

As far as the disposable characters go - yes, the manga was just like that too. And as my husband said, they're all bad guys, even the ones that are supposed to be sympathetic. Makes you wonder who exactly reads (or watches) this thing ...

May. 8th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
Now of course I'm curious to see what it looks like! ;-)
May. 8th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Ick

LOL! Well, at least if you do it on purpose, you won't be disappointed!

The funny thing is, the way the artwork looks, this team could have created some visually stunning things. What a waste of ink ... .

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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