Saturday, 17 May 2014

Gen (#1-3) by Arisa Karino, Shige Nakamura, et al

Publication date: #1, 1st May 2011 / #2, 1st July 2011 /                                   #3, 1st August 2011
Published by: Gen Manga Entertainment, Inc.
Genre: Manga (Japanese Comics)

Gen #1

Gen #2 by

Gen #3 by

Gen is described as a series of previously unpublished stories straight from the Toyko underground.  Manga (Japanese comics) is new to me and this is my first experience.  The first thing I had to get used to was reading from right-to-left, which I got the hang of really quickly.  There are 4 stories each by a different writer/graphic designer.  By the end of each one I was left dangling and didn't get it. It was only on getting a copy of the second instalment that I realised all 4 stories are serialised - so story 1 in Gen 1 continues as story 1 in Gen 2 and so on.  Yeah okay to all you clever clogs manga readers who are thinking Duh! right now ; )

Story 1 - Wolf is about an angry young man who has a raw talent for fighting.  He leaves his mother to move to Tokyo in search of his estranged father, who it turns out abandoned him and his mother when he was a child.

Story 2 - VS Aliens is about 3 teenagers, two girls and a boy, one of whom is (possibly) an alien. I don't think I'll even bother to elaborate further.

Story 3 - Kamen tells the tale of a character who has a permanent talking mask stuck to his face.  It communicates with him and if he removes it he will die. The mask has the power to protect him and it does so in order to preserve itself.

Story 4 - Souls (?) You got me.  I'm not entirely sure what this one is supposed to be about.  It sort of reminds me of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in that a woman is being visited by and spector and is taken on a journey where she faces the error of her ways: her harsh treatment towards her daughter.  It all stems from her personal demons, which we get a look at.  It's like being a fly on the wall of someone's therapy sessions - not exactly light entertainment.

I liked Kamen best and quite liked Wolf.  I would be interested in following those stories.  I found the story-telling and characters of VS Aliens too wooden for my liking.  Also, the teenage boy is on a huge ego kick - he seems to think he has the pick of both girls *yawn*. Souls is a bit too heavy for my liking - all that female weeping and hysteria.  In truth, at times I found myself irritated by the portrayal of the women in these stories and I found the attitudes towards women in general rather pre-20th century.

Perhaps manga is an acquired taste; I'm not sure it's to my taste.  The jury is out and I'd need to read more to know for sure.

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