I have been a huge fan of manga artist, Atsushi Nakayama since I laid my eyes on his pages for Negimaki Kagyu. The momentum and expressions of his characters are a huge inspiration to me, along with all the bat shit insanity he can put in an image form. #mangakagoals.
I just learned from my favorite digital bookstore that the new book of his new series is out so I previewed it, and bought it then and there. THIS is EXACTLY what I expect him to write and draw!
Not going to lie, the character designs (all three of them you see here) irked me the wrong way. I’ll write my reviews on other modern magical girls manga/anime for sure later, but god damn they gave off way too much Madoka Magica vibes with the design, and some Magical Girl Site PTSD Flashbacks. But it’s been a minute since Atsushi wrote and drew his own story so I HAD to give it a chance.
Turns out, I enjoyed it quite a lot! The main character is likeable, and the dark humor is right up my alley. VERY fast paced, so it’s a crazy roller coaster ride just the way I want to enjoy my entertainment.
Here comes the touchy subject: yes there is a LOT of mention about suicides which will irk some people. Especially to those who lost someone dear to them. It has a LOT of obvious imagery of suicides and many of them are blamed on these devil-like entities called “Phobias” that encourage people with the damaged mentality to commit suicide, which, I DON’T think was the right naming choice and he went full Engrish on. Again, STRONG Madoka Magica influence there. I’m not the fan of blaming the supernatural on suicide but this is from Japanland. They are culturally more susceptible to sprout ideas like this and I’m just accepting as it’s a Japan thing. Reluctantly, I should note.
If you can get past that, it does have a good message for those in distress and despair. I sure as hell went through some rough times in my life but this would’ve helped me crack up. It’s kind of like Zetsubou Sensei (Mr. Despair) in the humor genre.
The art is FANTASTIC. He was started to prefer drawing in very thin, sketchy lines for a hot minute but he has cut them down and feels closer to the best-drawn chapters in Nejimaki Kagyu so I was thrilled to see the shift in his direction. Looks much more polished. I feel like the sparkles and the shot angles are very Ginax-like so if you’re a fan of that style, you’d love it.
Going back to the topic of it’s pacing, I usually don’t get too disappointed with shallow character development, at least for the introduction. I enjoy the plot being pushed forward than spending long chunks of slow character introduction. Characters can be revealed while shit is happening. Atsushi does a pretty good job with this with his core characters, but he just rushes the side character’s arcs too fast even for me. He did this in his previous work, Uratarou too and I’m worried he is moving his story too fast again and writing himself into a short story run again.
Overall, I can’t wait to read the next book! I want to meet more Suicide Girls and their crazy antics, and I still can’t get enough of the post-Madoka magical girl genre, even if I get burned repeatedly.
Nayama Atsushi’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/nkymAtsushi