Sadly, last month offered insufficient dubious manga to assemble a poll. More sadly, your choice in the first of these polls, Maid Shokun, was undone by the shuttering of Tokyopop. (I ended up ordering the runner-up and will be reviewing it in this week’s Bookshelf Briefs installment.) On the bright side, the June 2011 Previews catalog offers a number of suspect debuts that are far enough outside of my comfort zone to earn candidacy. Let’s begin!
Tales of the Abyss: Asch the Bloody, by various, Bandai: Based on Namco’s role-playing game, Tales of the Abyss! Asch is the lost prince of a country torn asunder by prophecy. Cloned and replaced by a new prince, Asch finds himself among the ranks of God-General, fighting to destroy the very prophecy for peace that his clone will fulfill. War, magic, and science clash, but at their heart stands Asch the Bloody.
I must first “thank” Sean Gaffney for pointing out this listing. “Thank” you, Sean. Based on the cover, this seems like one of those books where the creators (various as they may be) spent more time on character design than anything else. I’m not instinctively averse to properties based on games, since Monster Collection (CMX) proved that even commercial spin-offs of this nature can be delightful. Still, Tales of the Abyss seems to emit a generic fug.
Bloody Monday, written by Ryou Ryumon, illustrated by Koji Megumi, Kodansha Comics: Takagi Fujimaru may seem like a regular high school student, but behind the cheery facade lies a genius hacker by the name of Falcon. When his father is framed for a murder, Falcon uses his brilliant hacking skills to try and protect his sister and clear his father’s name. However, he finds that his father, an agent in an elite government agency, was involved with something far more complex than a simple murder. A terrorist group is plotting against the city of Tokyo and it is up to Falcon, with the help of his friends to unravel the twisted plans set in place to kill millions of people.
Does every shônen magazine need to try and come up with its own version of Death Note? No, I mean, do they really need to try that? It almost never works.
Mardock Scramble, written by Tow Ubukata, illustrated by Yoshitoki Oima, Kodansha Comics: Rune Balot is a prostitute who is nearly murdered by Ciel, an enigmatic casino manager, who suffers from a disease that forces him to remove and store his memories. A victim for most of her life, Rune faces a choice. While on the brink of death, she is given the opportunity to live. It is not a simple choice for a victim, but Rune takes it. A professor brings Rune back to life as a cyborg with the ability to control electronics and partners her up with a self-aware universal tool named Oeufcocque. Together they begin to unravel the mystery behind Ciel and Rune sheds the role of the victim, but must struggle between seeking justice and vengeance.
Putting all other things aside, “Rune Balot” is one of the most annoying protagonist’s names I’ve seen in many a moon. Also, that cover suggests to me that Rune may not be as empowered as the solicitation suggests. Also, I cannot see myself happily typing “Oeufcocque” over and over again, should circumstances demand I review it. Also, the plot sounds as familiar as familiar gets.
So, those are our candidates. If you would, please cast your vote in the comments. You can pick something because you think I might actually end up enjoying it, or you can pick something because you’re a schadenfreude addict, or you can pick something for any reason that tickles your fancy. Just pick!