December 25, 2008
It figures that I get into this series in the third volume. Apparently the third volume is not the end of the series, but I kind of doubt that there will be more released. The transformation from confusing and boring to readable and interesting was kind of amazing, actually. I made a mental effort to sort out all the characters and place them at the beginning of the volume, and much to my amazement, everything fell right into place. The only person I was still confused about was the third bunny girl, I just can’t remember where she came from, but it doesn’t seem that important.
Most of the volume is a flashback to 70 years in the past, when all the… stands or whatever worked together under the command of the one that cross-dresses. All the rules of a story are followed, with details about the monster and what it is that they’re after, some interaction between their target (the woman who is summoning the freak) and the human member of their party, details and snippets of fights and motivations for the non-human characters who are in the present storyline, and a pretty good resolution to the flashback with a few good twists that shed light on the present timeline, too.
My biggest regret is probably that it will never be explained precisely what it is that the stands are and what kind of supernatural creature they come from. I’m actually kind of curious after reading this volume. I also grew to like the main character a lot more, even though most of the good things that happened didn’t have much to do with him.
There was a really, really cute chapter towards the end about the three bunny girls doing the job they do best by themselves. Part of me wants to dislike the bunny girls since they seem to be pretty blatant fanservice/joke fodder, but their role in the story is actually kind of… well odd, and not original or irreplaceable, but I like them anyway.
This still isn’t fantastic or a must-read, but it’s definitely more palatable than the other two volumes. Perhaps I just needed to be in the right mood or something.
October 31, 2008
Oh man. Things don’t get any better in the second volume. In addition to being really, really confused about the characters, now I’m confused about their genders as well. This is the type of series that you figure is really pretty clear about drawing male and female characters different unless there’s supposed to be some question. Nope. There are at least two characters with ambiguous genders now. Part of the problem, too, is that random shounen ai is thrown in for absolutely no reason. Romance has no place in a series like this, and the way it’s tacked on is really awkward and sloppy and… well, too much blatant fanservice.
More blatant fanservice comes when… I don’t know something that is the main character’s powers?… separates from the main character and turns into an apparently well-liked man. Of course, the two don’t recombine because all the other characters want this new person to stick around, so he’s now hanging around the office all the time. Except he’s not the main character’s source of power after all, so now things make even less sense on that front.
More… professionals like the main characters appear and drop in and out through the volume, and a plotline emerges where an otherworldly being is apparently manufacturing freaks, and the characters are ordered to stop it. A bunch of stuff comes to light about the main character, and as much as I would like to get excited about this, there’s too many things that are frustrating and don’t make any sense, so I just can’t enjoy it. Literally, almost everything that happens, I have to think hard about, because so much just does not connect together for me for some reason.
I’ll read the third volume, because it’s the last. I suspect it won’t be good, though.
October 8, 2008
I saved this series up because I thought it might be a good horror series to leave for October. Unfortunately it’s… not so good.
I can’t adequately describe what is wrong with it, exactly. I want to say everything, but it’s not really as bad as that sounds. The premise is sort of poorly explained, and not so much explained as it is just shown to you in the first chapter. The main characters are part of a supernatural investigation unit that seem to specialize in exterminating “freaks.” What exactly freaks are is left up to interpretation as you read the series, but we are told they are a type of monster, which is helpful. Apparently the members of the unit are “stands.” Stands are not really explained either, and are once again left up for you to figure out, except the stands are a whole lot more confusing than the freaks. One would also expect Star Platinum to number among them, but alas, this series isn’t nearly that cool.
As you watch the exterminations, you see that the freaks are… malevolent… things that possess humans, and the stands draw them out with their… eye. After they are drawn from the human, apparently they have a physical body that can be eaten by the cute little girl who sort of doubles as a rabbit mascot. This is the gist of it, except in the first story it’s implied that there are different types of freaks, which is true, because I still don’t know what was up with the freak in the second story. For the most part, they seem to be either lingering emotion or ghosts, I don’t know. The stands, as far as their power and origin goes… what the hell. Let me tell you, with no explanation, the main character pulls up his shirt, and he’s got an eye for a stomach, and this seems to stop them every time. One time, the main character turned into an Alucard-type monster, I think, but I’m not sure that this actually happened. There’s also the little girl, who was a rabbit one time, but seems to have limited vocabulary and just eats the leftovers after the exterminations. NO EXPLANATION IS GIVEN. I can’t stress this enough. I can understand leaving an element of mystery to reveal later in the series, but the nature of their powers and what the hell it is that they’re doing should not be something I have to speculate on.
Also, there is a female member of the team. There may be two female members. It is possible these two females share the same body. This may have something to do with the fact I’m not sure if the meek girl summoned the strong girl or the head stand through her body during a fight.
Also, the characters don’t really get proper introductions, and as a result I don’t know any of their names, and had to constantly refer back to older stories when they started talking about one another, trying to see where they refer to each other by name to try and pin it down.
I wept tears of blood. Not really. I mean, it’s not AS confusing as I make it seem, because it’s a pretty formulaic good-guys-bust-bad-guys in every chapter, so it’s not like you can’t figure out what’s going on. I… like the idea of the eye that kills monsters, but I just want to know why it does this, or what is supposed to be going on when it does this. I will read the other two volumes in the series because I already have them, but this… this is not good.