"Viz Sig Ikki"
What a weird sounding phrase.
Anyway, another batch of first chapters has been uploaded in the last few days. This crop consists of Afterschool Charisma, House of Five Leaves, Kingyo Used Books, and Tokyo Flow Chart.
There's some cute, clean artwork, but the concept is far too cooky for my liking. It's a take on the familiar elite, segregated high school academy formula, with the students all supposedly being clones of famous historical figures, like Napoleon, Freud, and Madam Curie, even fucking Clone Kennedy. Then there's some random "ordinary" Japanese kid named Shiro who's thrown into the mix as the protagonist. Having only read so much, I have no solid idea as to the direction in which this series is heading. As I try to look past the concept, I see traces of seriousness, with the talk about free will, destiny, and what not. Uh oh. Even if this does turn out to be a comedy though, I'm still going to have trouble swallowing this. There's just something disgraceful about associating those prominent figures that have had such a huge impact on history to these flustered high-school kids featured in the manga.
House of Five Leaves-
Another samurai/ronin story about a bodyguard who makes a contract and must protect somebody. The twist is that this time, the bodyguard is protecting a criminal outlaw and his operations. I liked how, instead of being a badass, the yojimbo in this story is a timid, modest individual who's just trying to stay afloat in tough financial times and find a job that can prevent him from starving. I was somewhat irked then when I found out that this painfully normal person has Inherent Fighting Talent. Again, I liked the atypical art with its gaunty, alien-looking characters, but overall, Five Leaves wasn't a very captivating read.
Kingyo Used Books-
The standalone episodic narratives revolve around a used manga bookstore that gets people in tune with their soul with the power of nostalgia and memory. First story is about this nondescript man who comes to the titular store, Kingyo Used Books, to get rid of his manga collection. However, at an evening middle-school reunion party, he meets all of his old buddies, who start reminiscing about manga, tear up, and get all chummy as they talk about stuff they read when they were little kids. Then in his happy drunken state, he leads the entire party to Kingyo (which is miraculously still open at that hour), where everybody temporarily forgets the pains of adulthood and employment to buy manga. Not horrible, but just too simple and sappy for my tastes, if the first chapter is any indication. Or I'm too damn cynical. I kept on waiting for a panel to pop up showing that the store had abruptly gone out of business. Is it even possible for a used book store to stay in business nowadays, much less operate on a 24/7 schedule?
Tokyo Flow Chart-
What is this mess?
Overall, a disappointing set this time around, though I suppose I've been a bit spoiled by the preceding material.
(Off-topic burst of excitement - Something by Usamaru Furuya has been licensed?!)