Sunday, March 1, 2009

Garu Garu! Dancing Beast Night (1)

This series simply does not work for me. Everything else Narita Ryohgo's done is the god damn bee's knees - even Vamp, which has an awful first volume, rocked pretty hard across the second and third.
And yet...
Bow Wow! Two Dog Night left so little impression on me I don't remember anything other than a vague impression of the main cast.
Mew Mew! Crazy's Cats Night, which, on balance, I quite enjoyed - largely because of crazy chainsaw girl - still failed to actually make enough impact for me to remember many details.
I initially went with a theory that the setting was so crucial here that the abject failure of the artist (Suzuhito Yasuda, of Yozakura Quartet fame) to even attempt to draw the fucker actively undermined my ability to visualize the place and get a sense of how cool it ought to be. (The series is set on a floating island in the middle of a giant bridge abandoned a few months from completion - it's become a lawless no man's land the government refuses to acknowledge.)
But over the last couple I've come to the conclusion that it just doesn't work. That he's essentially trying for a Violence Jack grim and immoral edgy tone that clashes with his comedic instincts and...and frankly, he doesn't have a knack for it, never quite hitting the unhinged glee that makes that sort of shit palatable. It just ends up unpleasant.
Like the detectives introduced in this volume - the girl is dumb as a post and in an Isaac and Milia style wacky comedy vein, while her brother is angsty and smart and looking after her while apparently feeling guilty about some half-assed incest theme. Which feels like an accident, and ends up being a giant wet blanket on every scene with the two of them.
The other main thrust here is the bridge's urban legend psychopath/serial killer falling in love with a girl I do not even remember existing. He works reasonably well - he can overclock his mind at will, and his lengthy attempts to rationalize all his behavior and logically prove to himself that he is still sane are mildly interesting, if not all that entertaining.
But it hits the problem I had with the first Vamp volume, and that exists with the wacky detective girl as well - it feels like he's deliberately playing a variant on something he's done before. He's done crazy man in love and played it as working out this time he tries to make it turn out very badly indeed, and all he really finds is that there was a reason he had it work out well the first time. That there was a reason he had the wacky comedy character teamed with an equally wacky one.
Shit just doesn't work.
And Christ, this was largely setting up the longer second volume. Argh.
About the only thing I really enjoyed here was evidence of a writer artist feud - there was an extremely minor character in Mew Mew! that the artist apparently liked, since she featured prominently in three illustrations, far more than major characters. Her role here is non-existent, but Narita does off-handedly mention that she looks young but already has two kids. Interpreting that as his gleeful revenge was the highlight of the volume for me. Which probably means I shouldn't bother reading the second half.

No comments:

Post a Comment