Genkaku Picasso 3

April 30, 2011

Usamaru Furuya – Viz – 2011 – 3 volumes

Honestly? I wasn’t sure where this was going. The episodic stories can be appreciated for their artwork and surrealism, but the characters that each chapter introduces wind up accumulating without much purpose, and there hasn’t been much in terms of ongoing plot. Hikari just meets new people and solves problems in every chapter. And as amazing as the art and some of the situations were, the stories themselves are a little weak.

Turns out everything was building up to this volume. The conclusion to this series was unexpectedly touching, and unlike the rest of the chapters.

There are three stories in this volume, all multi-part. The first story introduces the last of the incidental characters, a boy named Yuto who has withdrawn from society. He shows up at the school festival escorted by his mom, and the incidental characters go out of their way to make him feel welcome. Hikari winds up solving his problems (Yuto’s “heart image” was a drawing of himself as Ashura, destroying a city), with everyone apologizing for his awkward and erratic behavior. Unfortunately, Yuto’s problems wind up being very simple and easily solved, which is my problem with most of these stories, but some of the issues that the story brings up are still interesting, and it’s always fun to watch Hikari being misanthropic.

Now, the next story acts as a bridge between the episodic stories and the multi-part conclusion. Hikari winds up helping Sugiura again, the first boy he helped and the one that has been the best friend to him throughout the series. Sugiura confesses his feelings to Akane, is dumped, and then tries to rebound with another girl. The problem is a complex one, and not entirely solved by the resolution to the story. But more interesting is the fact that Sugiura recognizes the pencil drawing that Hikari does, and forces Hikari to admit to his strange powers and reluctant quest to make people’s lives better.

The surprisingly dark ending to that story leads into the conclusion, where Hikari winds up drawing and entering his own heart. To give you an idea, this story addresses the helicopter crash that happened in the first chapter of the series, the trauma that was abruptly brushed aside and never really mentioned again. Seeing poor, misanthropic Hikari laid bare is most heartbreaking, and it’s surprising to see just how sensitive the story can be after I spent most of the time oogling the art and glossing over the somewhat shallow characters.

I can’t really give too many details without spoiling the ending, but it’s fair to say that it’s well worth the three-volume trip through the series. And the artwork is still just as unique and amazing as it was in volume one. Granted, the one-shot stories can wear on you a bit, but they do get more interesting as the series progresses, I promise (though the conclusions are never really anything to write home about). And what saves them from being too boring or formulaic are the extended sequences, drawn in pencil, where Hikari and Chiaki navigate the surreal landscapes of people’s hearts. That never really gets old, largely because Furuya is such a wonderful artist.

There’s a bonus essay in the back where Furuya talks about writing the series that is also fairly interesting. He mentions that this was originally supposed to be a 2-volume work, but that he had to extend it to three very thick volumes. In other words, it wasn’t prematurely cancelled or anything, it was just meant to be a short work.

I literally just finished the volume, and promptly wrote this article. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but yeah, I really liked this series, and the ending is terriffic. I would dearly love to read more of Usamaru Furuya’s work in English. That is all.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

3 Responses to “Genkaku Picasso 3”

  1. […] for Treatment) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 3 (Comic Attack) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 3 (The Fandom Post) Genkaku Picasso, Volume 3 (Slightly Biased Manga) Genkaku Picasso, Volumes 1-3 (Good Comics for Kids) Genkaku Picasso, […]

  2. The ending had me in tears, I think the only other comic to do that was V for Vendetta (though it wasn’t the tragic letter, rather the policeman visiting the now-surplus death camp and thinking about the old days).
    I think some of the “problems turn out to be easily solved” was the artist speaking directly to his teenage audience – that some of the ‘insurmountable’ problems they think they are stuck with can actually be escaped with a bit of understanding, tolerance and/or boldness.

  3. Isabel Says:

    I’d almost go as far as to say that the reewivs where my writing was the worst are the series I loved the most. Oh, me too! I suspect that’s why I never got around to reviewing InuYasha or Rumic Theater.Genkaku Picasso is an odd duck, isn’t it? I agree with you about the art: the nightmare/dream sequences are really beautifully done. Furuya is a terrific illustrator, and can work in many, many different styles. I go back and forth about whether Furuya is playing things straight or poking fun at shonen cliches; given how sour Hikari is, and how extreme his predicament, I’m leaning to the second interpretation over the first. I haven’t had a chance to read the third installment yet, but your review has gotten me excited about finishing it so thanks!

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