Gen 5

July 5, 2012

Shige Nakamura / Yu Suzuki / Gunya Mihara / Arisa Karino / Hajime Taguchi – Gen Manga Entertainment – 2011 – 12+ volumes

I am so far behind it’s criminal. But in case you’ve forgotten, this is the anthology Gen, a monthly publication that features chapters of a handful of quirky series. Reading it online is a steal, at $2.00 per back issue, but a monthly subscription of $1.99 nets you access to all the back issues, plus the guaranteed issue for that month. They’re definitely different, and the small sum is worth it for a peek inside.

The most interesting this time around was Alive, by Hajime Taguchi. Alive was new in this issue, a fifth bonus story. A girl who is bullied contemplates suicide, and a classmate tries to show her a miracle again and again and fails. One occurs unlooked-for, and the girl manages to turn her life around. The story ends on an unsettling note, with the roles reversed in adulthood. It’s depressing, then triumphant, then super-depressing. It’s an ongoing series, so I’m looking forward to where it goes from here. It would have made an excellent one-shot, though.

Still at the front of the publication, and still as interesting as ever, is Wolf, the story of the underdog boxer. I still like reading it, though this chapter doesn’t do much to develop the characters much. Okami’s father is forced to leave the gym after their relationship is exposed, and Okami engages in a difficult fight at the end of the chapter. Strategy is failing him, and things look bleak at the end. The chapter ends mid-fight, which is a good cliffhanger for next time.

Kamen is good again, too. Again, the original story arc was my least favorite initially, but the new set of characters, the prostitutes introduced last issue, are much more interesting. A female joins the male prostitute from the last chapter, and they have a discussion about their individual worth, whether they have it good or bad, how they measure in the world, and the worth of the soul. The conversation revolves around a pigeon the female prostitute picks up, whether they can care for it, and whether they should. It’s a little heavy-handed, but interesting, at least.

Kamen moves along again, and the main character engages in a spectacular fight. I actually like this series a bit better than Wolves right now, though there’s a lot of vagueness and foreshadowing going on. Still, it’s a cool fight, and I’m up for seeing where things go from here.

Vs. Aliens… hm. This was my favorite for a while. The series ends here. The ending… I didn’t like it. It was a silly twist in a series that started out with a delightfully bizarre flavor. It ends in a rather mundane way. I was disappointed.

But! I’m interested to see what replaces it. Plus, there’s a sixth series appearing in the next issue too. I need to catch up!

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