Human Club 9

November 10, 2011

Kazuko Teradate – Netcomics – 2008 – 17 volumes

Netcomics announced that they would be taking Kazuko Teradate’s work off their site today, so I thought I would squeeze one more volume of Human Club in for the road. Human Club is… okay. A little inconsistent, but a reasonably entertaining BL-tinged mystery/horror series. I should have read it before today, because I’ve always wondered if it developed an ongoing plot before the end of the series. Interestingly, Kazuko Teradate went on to draw Harlequin manga.

Anyway. This volume has two stories in it. The first is a plot where Shinobu gets kidnapped by a mysterious man that holds him hostage in a mansion for a mysterious future purpose. The man doesn’t take advantage of Shinobu sexually, which is unlike previous stories in the series. Turns out that he wants Shinobu for some sort of Nazi rally. Not even Neo-Nazis. These men are the real deal. For some reason, they want a young Asian man to torture at their rally. It goes even stranger places after that.

The second story is more interesting, and is about a character who is something of a second coming of Ludwig II finding Shinobu and Ron in the woods after a snowstorm outside the Swiss border. Shinobu and Ron have been in a car accident, and Ron has lost his memory. Shinobu is devastated. While they are waiting for Ron’s memory to return, Shinobu has to endure the creepy Ludwig character, who eventually conflates Shinobu with his dead sister. The two briefly have sex.

Human Club is a weird, weird series. These stories don’t really develop Shinobu or Ron’s character at all, and are mostly about the bizarre situations the side characters are in. Except these situations are so far out of left field I’m not sure what to make of them. Why am I reading a story where Shinobu is, for whatever reason, entrapping a Nazi? Why is Shinobu and Ron’s rescuer a crazy man who thinks he’s Ludwig II? They’re not really romances (though again, there’s definitely BL themes to the story, even when there’s no romance or attraction), nor are they really horror (there’s a few moments of terror, but they pass, and they aren’t for real since you know Ron will save the day). They’re… atmospheric, I suppose, except I’ve never read any other story that goes to such lengths simply to set the mood.

I have a feeling most readers probably wouldn’t have a taste for it. But it is unusual, and Teradate has really nice art. Plus, it’s cheap. Again, I’m a little sad I couldn’t finish it up.

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