Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fragments of Grimm I -- Cinderella

Stop me if you've heard this one before -- normal boy stumbles onto something supernatural and the only one who can save a tsundere.
I'm not sure how I expected Gakuto Coda to follow up Missing, but for the first twenty pages, I was genuinely worried he had actually taken the easy route and done a Shakugan no Shana clone. Only without writing so terrible it feels like the author is vomiting down your throat.
I'm pretty glad I soldiered on. The more he digs into his story the more interesting the characters become -- Coda never one for dramatic characterization, so it's all subtle touches like the male lead laughing at the tsundere when she tells him to drop dead -- and the more FUCKED UP the events unfolding became.
Like Missing, Jung's concept of the universal subconscious underpins the basic mythology; God sleeps deep in our collective minds. Sometimes he has nightmares. Since he is all knowing, his nightmares encompass all things feared by man. Since he is all powerful, he neatly removes the nightmares from his mind, and sends them drifting upwards in a bubble, a bubble that divides countless times before drifting upwards into individual minds, but remains so potent that few humans survive the experience. Those that do retain a fragment of God's Nightmare, and the effects of that fragment allow them to fight against the fragments, saving people from them, and destroying those corrupted by the madness. They usually fail spectacularly.
These powers are born from nightmares; the female lead slices her own arm open and shouts, "Let my pain burn the world" to summon forth nightmarish flames that burn those possessed by nightmares; their operations are protected by a girl who has insects that eat memories living in her brain; they pour out her ears and cause all witnesses to forget what happened, but also leave her with absolutely no short term memory -- she has to write things down in a notebook if she wants to remember them.
Particularly dangerous nightmares tend to follow archetypal motifs -- like Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Somehow Cinderella leads to hobbling around on the remains of your ruined foot, horrible doves tearing their way out of your blood vessels, and a particularly memorable bit where people pulling bones out of the ashes after a cremation proceed to start eating them.
Spectacularly nasty stuff.

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