The Comic Queen

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Kerry Reads Manga! IWGP #1

Story by Ira Ishida; Art by Sena Aritou
Digital Manga Publishing $12.95

Ikebukuro West Gate Park (IWGP), a trendy area of the city where the popular kids meet and hang out, is currently embroiled in scandal. A violent criminal is strangling and raping young girls picked up from the park. Makoto’s girlfriend becomes one of the strangler’s victims and he heads up a manhunt for the man. He enlists his friends and a gang for help patrolling the park and finding the killer before another girl is murdered.

I know I’m fairly new to manga and am not used to a lot of the styles and ideas commonly depicted within its pages. Although it is fairly common, I cannot stand it when panels are drawn at an angle so we can see up women’s skirts. It is quite ridiculous when it doesn’t have anything to do with the story. It’s plain distracting (not in a sexy way) and pulled me right out of the story. While I find this practice harmless, I’m more concerned with how Aritou portrayed the rape and murder victims in the story. The women were brutally beaten, raped, and then strangled to death, yet they are laid out in a sexy pose. I find it completely unrealistic and even offensive that the women have nary a mark on them and are displayed in such a manner. A certain grislyness is needed to portray just how horrible and serious the crime is. Now one could argue that in death, the women are drawn as the innocent young girls that they are, but I just don’t get the feeling that this was the artist’s intention. The way they are shown seems to make light of the situation.

Besides this disagreement with Aritou’s style, I think the art is very good. I particularly enjoyed any scene with the gang, the G Boys. They were drawn dark and menacing, just like they should have been. Any panel where Aritou was allowed to get a little more artistic and show city scenes blurred by the business of traffic or crowds is excellent. Many depictions of various characters where they are static are also quite artistic and good. He goes beyond what would be required to make a mediocre portrait and adds little details to make it excellent. The art however just didn’t save the book for me.

While the plot, mourning boyfriend goes rogue to find girlfriend’s killer, there is just too many worthless pages added to the book to distract the reader. The first 80 pages were confusing and worthless to me. They didn’t set up the story or explain many of the character’s relationships. Worse still is that I didn’t get the feeling that Makoto even liked his girlfriend Rika until she turned up dead. No chemistry was concocted in the beginning of the book to make their relationship believable. The mechanics of the story, the idea that Makoto would go to any length to catch the strangler is believable, but not explored enough. If Ishida focused more these and less on extraneous characters it would have made for a much better story.

IWGP needed a lot of editing to make it a good book. It feels like the first three chapters were included just to add length. This made the story drag on and on. Coupled with my dislike of how the murder victims were displayed, I just can’t recommend the book.

Bottom Line: D


  • At 1:27 PM, May 10, 2005, Blogger Dupree said…

    In watching Japanese pornography and a few anime's and hentai's in my day I have come to the conclusion that rape fantasies are really prevalant in Japan. Also the Manga you read has been given the name of Fan Service in America. I do not know if they call it that in Japan. Basically it is anime or manga that shows a lot of panty shots and a lot of boob shots for pretty much no reason except to have panty shots and boob shots. I would imagine this would be a rape fantasy fan service manga. Basically you are not the target audience.

  • At 9:36 AM, May 12, 2005, Blogger Kerry said…

    All that, plus the story itself was really bogged down at the beginning.

  • At 1:18 PM, May 12, 2005, Blogger Dupree said…

    I believe you. The differences in culture is really interesting to me. I once watched an anime that was a regular anime. However it did have one character that was a lesbian and kept on trying to see the other females naked. During the last special probably not seen on tv episode, it basically had this character getting the females corner and fondling their breasts without their permission.

    Also I have noticed that there is a little less taboo about dating cousins.


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