Monday, January 17, 2011

Manga Review: Afterschool Charisma (volume 1)

When I pulled this off the shelf at my home library I initially thought it the title said Afterschool Nightmare (which, ironically enough, I just tracked down at the other public library) but since this is another Sig Ikki title I checked it out anyway and was quite pleased with it. I seem to like a lot of the Sig Ikki titles actually, thankfully the libraries seem to have a number of them and I've been keeping an eye out for the other titles.

Afterschool Charisma by Kumino Suekane

Summary: Shiro Kamiya is the only non-clone at St. Kleio Academy and, while he obviously can't sympathize with some of the issues the other clones have, he doesn't seem to mind being there. But the administration has some dark plans for these clones and they're not the only enemies they have

The Good: Something about the characters just clicked with me, maybe it's because I get a kick out of Freud telling Shiro he has daddy issues but many of the characters have amusing quirks. There's also plenty of set up for an interesting plot later and, having read the next two volumes on the Sig Ikki site, stuff does get moving in the next volume. There are plenty of different ways the plot could go and should provide a couple of good twists either way so I'm excited for the rest of the series. 

The Bad: The whole volume is build up and introducing character which isn't horrible, considering that the series is only four volumes long now and is paced rather slowly, but is a bit frustrating that the central plot hasn't made a real appearance yet. Sure there are hints and plenty of mysterious, shadowy people making cryptic comments about using or killing of the clones, but nothing solid yet. As a side note, most of the characters are either well known figures from history but I had to look up a couple of them online, a little character guide at the back of the book would've been nice.

The Art: I am mildly puzzled why the clones don't look anything at all like their originals, even taking in a more modern diet to account for height change, since the whole series is about how clones are doomed to repeat their original's history. I'll admit that all the characters look very pretty, and that probably gives the manga a wider female audience, but considering the main theme of the manga (so far anyway) is that the clones are doomed to be exactly the same as their originals it doesn't make a lot of sense.

This volume was mostly introduction and build up for the later volumes but I still really enjoyed it and went to read the rest online afterwards on the Sig Ikki site (what they do is they have the first chapter of each volume that is currently released up and then the chapters from the unreleased chapters up and add one or two new chapters each month). It's the best commercial site I've seen so far for reading manga online (although I still prefer the set up of scanlation sites) and they have quite a bit of stuff up there as well. Wonder how well their iPad app works then, hmmmm....