Afterschool Charisma 1

December 19, 2014

Kumiko Suekane – Viz – 2010 – 12+ volumes

I read a random volume of this series, and was intrigued enough to go back to the beginning and start fresh.  Or, at least, to buy the first couple volumes and sit on them for years.  But I’m reading them now, which is the important part.

The premise is that the main character, Shiro Kamiya, goes to a high school filled with clones that his dad created.  He has a crush on the recently-transferred-out Marie Curie, is friends with Napoleon, frenemies with Freud, and gets beat up by Mozart.  So there’s that.

It inevitably reminds me of Clone High, which was only on for a second and I watched a couple episodes of.  From what I recall, it’s a lot like Clone High with different historical figures.  It’s kinda weird.

Anyway.  The first chapter of Afterschool Charisma is rough, since it handles the subject matter rather awkwardly and unsubtly.  It’s mostly a flashback to a tearful outburst from Marie Curie, who doesn’t want to be a physicist and only wants to make music.  Shiro agrees with her, and intervenes with his dad on Marie’s behalf.  She is transferred out, and all the various student reactions (Shiro has a crush!  Her friend Florence Nightingale misses her!) are shown.

It was pretty awful.  Then, in chapter two, we are shown the first successful clone grown to maturity, John F. Kennedy (he is very pretty in this manga).  His first foray into public life is a speech he delivers about picking up where the original Kennedy left off.  He is promptly assassinated.

I… wasn’t sure what to make of that, honestly.  Is it brilliant?  Accidental?  In any case, it kept me reading.

Sadly, this first volume is mostly high school stuff.  Shiro doesn’t fit in because he’s the only “normal” one.  As such, he’s the outcast in a school full of strange outcasts.  He has friends, blushes at girls, fights with Mozart, and all of it isn’t super-interesting yet.  Towards the end of the volume, we start to get hints of a terrorist organization that doesn’t like the clone program and wants to kill them all.

Hmm.  I have the second volume, and will probably keep reading.  I’m a bit disappointed with the wasted premise so far, though.  Maybe once it focuses more on the private lives of the clones, the story will get more interesting.

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