Boichi Shorts

July 27, 2008 at 3:51 pm (Review, Seinen) (, , , , , , )

It is high time I posted here again, and it is high time I talked about Boichi. Honestly, he is one of my favorite authors in the world of manga. Like, actual favorite. Not, holy-fuck-he-draws-people-with-their-heads-being-blown-up favorites. I know my little corner of the internet here won’t get him too much publicity, but I will give him everything I can.

Boichi is mostly a one shot author, though he does have an ongoing series in Young King OURS called Sun-Ken Rock. I have yet to sample it, but the artwork looks excellent and well up to Boichi standards.

Speaking of that, if you’ve never seen any of Boichi’s work here are a few pages to wet the proverbial whistles.

I’ll start off with his weakest but by no means bad short.

Diadem
English translation provided by Illuminati-Manga.

Found in Mandala 2, published by Kodansha’s Morning.

Description:

Diadem is about Lilith, a young lady whose father dies in a rebellion against an evil empire. She carries on her father’s war to the best of her abilities, being more brutal and more violent than the empire ever could be in her quest to destroy them. She does this believing that the Goddess of the North Wind will come and save everyone, setting them all free.

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

The story line here isn’t nearly as surprising, uplifting, or amazing as it could be. Lilith’s father tells her that “freedom” runs through her veins, and that the Goddess of the North Wind will come to free her and everyone else if they continue to fight. So, they continue to fight and sure enough, Lilith is the Goddess of the North Wind! Not really that surprising or original. But honestly, that’s not why I like this story. It has some cool fighting, tits, and pretty much everything you could want in 14 pages.

Really though, the reason I recommend everyone take a look at this is because of the amazing art and coloring job that Boichi’s done. It is entirely in color, a rarity for Japanese comics, and each page is so meticulously drawn and colored that if you don’t just stop and stare at some of the panels there’s probably something wrong with you. It’s just that beautifully done.

The three stars below are entirely for the artwork, can’t exactly give it too many more because the story doesn’t add much here.

***/*****

Hotel
English translation provided by Kotonoha.

Published in Kodansha’s Morning.

Description:

Hotel is about a struggle against time. A struggle to last as long as is humanly possible in a world ravaged by global warming. As long as is humanly possible, except our main character is not human, it’s an AI. Louis Armstrong is a computer that is the last thing humanity ever built. The manager of a Hotel of sorts that houses DNA. Louis’ job is to keep the DNA alive and viable for as long as possible so that when the Earth is habitable again, he can restart life. The only DNA that is not in this Hotel is that of humankind…

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

It’s hard to find words to describe this short. In just 42 pages of beautiful artwork and scenery you’re drawn into sympathizing completely with an inhuman object. If that alone isn’t amazing, the premise, the story, and everything else in here is so absolutely well put together that it will leave you speechless. Louis struggle over the 27 million years that this story spans is worthy of legends. His love for his pseudo-father and mother told in flashbacks through his own “memories” that fade as he struggles to keep the Hotel in working order is more than most humans will ever feel.

The only real gripe one might have with the short is that some of the names are, well, reminiscent of real people.

There really isn’t much more that I can say about this other than to tell you to read it and see for yourself just how excellent this really is.

*****/*****

Present
English translation provided by Kotonoha.

Published in Kodansha’s Morning.

Description:

Another short in the vein of Hotel, Present is set in the future but isn’t as massive in proportions as the former. Present tells a story based around more human social problems, though it isn’t exactly what it seems. Hanako falls in love with her teacher Dr. Takao, and they seem to be well suited for each other. The only problem is that Hanako falls ill and is put into cryogenic stasis until they can cure her disease. She’s brought back two months later and told they can cure her, but all is not as it seems.

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

Another brilliant short by Boichi, Present is right up there with Hotel for me. Same amazing Boichi artwork paired with a really human, and sad story. The ending isn’t entirely unexpected it, but Boichi plays it well enough that you aren’t exactly sure until the very end. Mr. Takao trying to make everything okay for Hanako, even though things are quite the opposite is extremely touching, and quite heartbreaking at the same time. This comic is also the reason that people kill themselves around Christmas time.

If you feel like the last time you cried was when you waited for Fry, then definitely read this. For those of us that seem to lack emotion, this can definitely bring some of it out of you.

*****/*****

Stephanos

Found in Mandala 1, published by Kodansha’s Morning.

Description:

Stephanos is set in modern day Japan where our main character Noriko finds out that she is pregnant with her lover Matsumura’s baby. He, however, is an important doctor with a family and everything already. Noriko wants to have the baby, but Matsumura says that it’s actually a rapidly growing cancer and that they have to remove it immediately. It might also be neither of these things…

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

Just when you think you know where this piece is going, you’re wrong. The ending might seem like it comes out of nowhere, but it still fits in with the narrative quite well to me. There is some slight bit of foreshadowing as to the ending. But enough talk about that, the story is good, the characters feel real and display emotion well, and the art is fantastic. Basically another Boichi short that I can recommend that everyone should read. It feels like a drama at first, but then turns into a horror as the pages drive on in their non-stop rush to the amazing ending.

Stephanos shows that Boichi is not just a scifi writer. He does horror and unease just as well. A good read, and I highly recommend that you check it out if you can ever get your hands on Mandala #1.

*****/*****

Brutality

Published in Shueisha’s Young Jump.

Description:

Brutality is actually written by Takeda Yuusuke 竹田雄介, Boichi only did the artwork. Set in a fantasy world based on ancient China, the story is about Fuuren, an armless Defender. Defenders are people who will complete their mission or assignments no matter what. If they accept them, that is. Fuuren has been called to a small town that is about to be taken over by the Ka empire, and they wish to hire him to help their armies defend their little town. However there is a little bit of intrigue within the town itself, and Fuuren accepts a different task altogether…

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

Even though this is written by someone else, it still shows a lot of Boichi’s characteristic humor. That’s not to say it’s a comedy, but it still feels like a Boichi short. The artwork is probably the best part about this as the story’s not amazingly awesome when compared to Boichi’s other shorts. Though I will say this, there is a lot more violence, fighting, gore, and tits in this than anything else Boichi’s done. Hell, the violence and fighting is exactly why I enjoy this short.

If you don’t enjoy multiple beheadings, arrows being sent through multiple heads, people being completely destroyed, or naked women, you probably won’t enjoy Brutality all that much. It’s definitely a MANga, if I must say so myself. Read it for the violence and tits, even if the story isn’t the greatest thing ever.

****/*****

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5 Comments

  1. bozukka said,

    Great thing you’re doing here… Anyway, I think Hotel isn’t a weak story. On the other hand, I’ve never read Brutality or Stephanos. Do you happen to know where I could download or view those stories? Hoping to hear from ya…

  2. Fogbank said,

    Thank you, Zindryr, for this bit of information on Boichi. I just encountered the manga Sun Ken Rock at the bookstore yesterday and was impressed with the artwork. The story is pretty good too. To summarize it briefly, the protagonist is a young Japanese man who travels to Korea to follow the girl of his dreams. He is dirt poor but a kick-ass fighter with a strong sense of responsibility for the unfortunate people he meets. He defends one old man’s noodle stall from three thugs which leads to more fights, of course. “Ken” becomes the head of a small but tough gang that smashes larger criminal gangs in the name of justice. I don’t see how he is able to pay the bills though because his gang doesn’t take over the protection rackets when he defeats the criminals. I give the series two thumbs up for gritty violence and bodacious girls well drawn.
    I hope to run across the short stories that you mention here. Thanks again!

  3. Weaper said,

    hi, I previously read on this post about Stephanos and Brutality but never found anything about them except here. I’m so sad that they aren’t picked by any team.
    I’m part of RandomScanlations and we currently are scanlating Sun Ken Rock and Space Chef Caisar. We should also do Rakia once it’s published in my country : France.
    I also created a website to spread more Boichi’s work : http://www.sunkenrock.com
    If you could join me and talk about those two manga, I would be really glad.

    ps : can I use your reviews about those two work for my site ?

  4. Weaper said,

    Hi, don’t know if you still follow the comment here but can you contact me on http://www.sunkenrock.com? We previously talked about Brutality among others and you told me that you had the raw. I’m unable to find it anywhere even via backorder and would like to know if you culd scan it.
    thanks

  5. Toutetsu [RAW] | Sun-Ken Rock said,

    […] one that I was never able to find and only knew the existence through a blog going by the name of MANga of Taste were it was titled as “Brutality” but is in fact “Toutetsu“. It was only […]

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