29 July 2011

Some Thoughts About Good Manga 1

Even though this site is technically a blog, it’s been awhile since I last did a blogpost about my opinions (I guess the older ones are now lost since fluffypress is dead) but I had the sudden urge to do one since I recently realized randomscans had scanned all 3 volumes of Genkaku Picasso that was done by Viz. Hope I don’t come off as too pretentious like many bloggers often do, so feel free to tell me if I do. Oh, and very minor spoilers ahead.

When I first heard that Furuya Usamaru started a manga serialized by Jump SQ, the magazine in which Claymore and D. Grayman run under, I went “What the fuck?” considering that this was the guy whose debut work in Garo had scat, bdsm, S&M, incest, gore, and… did it have necrophilia? Well the point is that it was unusual but I guess not too much so since he tread similar territory in Chronicles of the Clueless Age along with Otsuichi. And speaking of Chronicles of the Clueless Age, I always wondered just how much Furuya actually contributed to the storymaking process (since Otsuichi is more known for being the writer) but after reading all 3 volumes of Genkaku Picasso (quite hefty volumes, all 250~300 pages in length), it seems the answer is obvious as this series felt like a nice spiritual successor to Chronicles. I don’t mean that just because the theme and contents are similar (common teenhood concerns such as first love, social pressures, worries about personal future) but also because usage of creative surrealism is present in both works.

To clarify, manga like Genkaku Picasso and Chronicles of the Cluess Age is direct proof that execution triumphs over content. It’s how you tell the story that’s important and not the content of the story itself. Why tell mundane teen-drama Degrassi-style (do Americans even know about Degrassi?) full of awkward dialogues and the like when you can do it with the style of a Dali painting? Of course, that’s not to say that the surrealist approach is good in all cases, since there’s a time and place for everything (to quote Professor Oak), but I’m merely trying to make the point that otherwise mundane drama can be made interesting through the style of execution.

For example, in Chronicles, a chapter about falling out with a friend is shown through the protagonist wandering a maze-like school controlled by a creepy mother mainframe. In Genkaku Picasso, a chapter about self-hate is conveyed with a great Eva-parody with the protagonist fighting off ange- I mean, girls (now if only this scene had a Mitsuo Iso-animated adaptation…). 

On a slightly different note, is anybody a little bothered by the change in Furuya’s art since Lychee Hikari Club? He seems to have picked up the full red lips a la Maruo Suehiro’s art (not actually sure if Maruo was the first one to do that but I’m sure he was the one who definitely influenced Furuya). I don’t mind the full red lips on females but when it’s used for males and present in stories that aren’t characterized by eroticism, it gives an out-of-place homoerotic vibe. Not that I mind homoeroticism. Mind you that I’m an avid fan of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. It just feels a little… odd. I do think it’s an apt fit in his most recent manga, Teiichi no Kuni, however.

All in all, Genkaku Picasso is fucking great and Viz did a great job with it, including extra stuff with Furuya Usamaru and everything, though they did omit a few colour pages. Nonetheless, it’s good enough that I’m ashamed to have read it through not-so-legal scans. But I will be definitely buying it so I hope you guys do the same if you either like Furuya Usamaru or just happened to like this manga. 

Oh, and I haven't seen the raws for Zero yet so please do be patient if possible. It's hard for me to wait too. Never mind, it's out and scanlated now.


  1. It was a good read. The last few chapters were amazing though.

  2. I never think he's really good at drawing males

  3. Yes. Unfortunately, we are aware of Degrassi.

  4. Ah I see. My condolences to you, dear Amuro.

  5. I bought this manga by chance and loved it a lot!

  6. Furuya loves his pretty boys with luscious lips. Maruo Suehiro has never struck me as having as much of a penchant for pretty teenage boys as Furuya, but then I've only read the Laughing Vampire and some of Paranoia Star by him, along with some rad posters.

    Here's Black Museum Springald.

  7. guren no kishi31 July 2011 at 02:14

    I'm really enjoying Picasso and I'm looking forward to read the final volume when it will be released in my country at the end of august.

    Springald was a good reading too a couple of years ago. I still have to try Moonlight Act though.

  8. Thanks HOX! Glad to see you back posting more than just the next chapter of one of your on-going mangas. I missed your blogs, they are always thoughtful and eye opening. Like this one about Furuya usamaru's manga, that I must confess, missed , but now thanks to you , can't wait to check out.
    Hope you will have more time for the blog posts.

  9. I enjoy reading your thoughts, man. You should definitely do these more often if you want to.

  10. Good blog entry, keep posting

  11. I'm french and I know about Degrassi !

  12. Hm, interesting, but I should have known that Viz would drop the colored pages. I'll have to check the italian Star Comics edition then.