Short Cuts 2

September 22, 2009

Usamaru Furuya – Viz – 2003 – 2 volumes

The book ends with a conclusion, which I would not have expected from a 2-volume gag comic series.  The conclusion is kind of cute, too, and he closes with a pretty amazing 2-page illustration featuring every character from Short Cuts.

Even better, in the afterward he mentions the project started out as a manga series about Leonardo Da Vinci, and he had done a lot of research before his assignment for Young Sunday changed.  That is one of the best things I have ever heard.

Volume 2 continues to feature only one-page gag comics about schoolgirls, but this volume is a little lewder than the last.  Well, actually, no, the last volume opened with a girl whose father had a penis-head, so I guess volume one is still dirtier.  This one had weird gags about… old men that disguised themselves as turtles and hid in schools, continued the thread of applying kogal fads to elderly villages, did weird things with traditional motifs (like old-fashioned coffee shops, et cetera), and had a few running gags, like the girl who talks to inanimate objects and makes it sound like she’s trying to call celebrities with a can of soup.

The parodies of famous anime and manga continue, and this time around we see Star of the Giants, Galaxy Express 999, uh… Joe of Tomorrow, The Little Prince (yeah, not a manga),  a couple bizarre cameos by Hideo Azuma (which I would not have caught had I not read Disappearance Diary a couple months ago), another mention of the artist of Heartbroken Angels, a long name-drop that created a bizarre crossover between a couple surrealist artists and Kazuo Umezu and a couple names I didn’t recognize, and a few other things.

Short Cuts is actually so cutting edge that I half-expected it to see into the future and parody Kurosagi Corpse Delivery service.  One comic featured an itako and another featured a girl with a hand puppet with a mind of its own.  It was kind of weird how close it came.

The comic that made me laugh out loud was one where a girl and her friend played dead in front of a bear, and the friend converted to a corpse because “she was really good at it.”  There’s a bunch of good ones, including a little girl that makes her father proud by sharing one of his erotic novels aloud with her grade-school class, several bizarre lapses into the “real life” of Usamaru Furuya, a couple of fantastic double-page illustrations which blew me away with their detail, and a comic where girls get so hot they simply tattoo their school uniforms to their body and go out without clothes… and nobody notices.

Know what you’re getting before you start.  It’s a lot like Heartbroken Angels, and if you feel that you can’t overdose on school girls, give it a try.  But there are a lot of school girls.

Also, I will buy anything and everything by Usamaru Furuya.  The man is amazing.  I’m excited about 50 Ways to Save Her coming out from CMX in the spring.

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