Gimmick 8

November 30, 2009

Youzaburou Kanari / Kuroko Yabuguchi – Viz – 2009 – 9 volumes

I wondered how this series would finish up, since it seemed like the plot hinged on interesting one-shot stories involving special effects makeup.  It finishes like any good shounen series should, with a tournament.  On one hand, it’s a tournament involving special effects makeup, which is definitely new and exciting.  On the other hand, it’s a shounen manga tournament.  I’ve seen it a thousand times before.

One of the things that made me laugh last volume was Kohei’s fondness for his “special spatula,” an item he wore around his neck as the usual shounen talisman/relic of the past, except in this case it was… you know, a makeup spatula.  For doing special effects.  Well, he clutches that a whole lot more in this volume.  Other people have their special spatulas, too.  There are the usual pitfalls, balance issues, unfair fights, battles with friends, self-sacrifices, blah blah blah… not even my interest in what the characters were doing could distract me from the fact that it was literally taking the path of least resistance to end the story.

The only truly detailed effect we get to see is a life mask, which the characters have to make as realistically as possible using only ingredients from a grocery store.  We learn about what ingredients can be used in a pinch, how certain things mix together, techniques for coloring and whatnot, and a lot of other things besides.  There are other challenges, like making vampire makup and scars and aged makeup, but other than a protip about actors and elderly makeup, we don’t learn too much about the others.

Kohei goes into the final volume to face the evil version of himself, clutching a handful of spatulas that are special to all his friends that didn’t make it through the contest.  Again, I am still thoroughly amused by the theme of makeup and special effects for the series, especially since it is discussed in such detail, but man… I can’t do such a blatant use of shounen manga plot device.  But I do have the last volume, so let’s see where this goes in the end.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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