I kid, I kid. Please forgive the use of the pun but the manga is noteworthy. Dead A manga review by Say0chan

Utsubora

Written by manga-ka Asumiko Nakamura (best known for her Yaoi works), Utsubora is a twisted story that begins with death. From there it is a fast-pace story fraught with lies and a mystery that begs to be answered. Our protagonist is Shun Mizorogi, a famous author of ethereal beauties that come alive in his stories. He is a thin middle-age man sporting an equally thin mustache, always wearing traditional Japanese clothing for most of the story. He hasn’t written in 5 years and suddenly he is putting out a story that has everyone, from his editor Makoto Tsuji to rival/friend author Yatabe raving! But… what is his connection to this mysterious girl who died in the beginning from jumping off a building? His name and her sister’s name were the only names found in her phone when she jumped so why do the police have trouble getting answers? How is this connected to Utsubora, the story that has everyone in a clamor over the genius that is Mizorogi?

Other characters in the story include Koyomi, Mizorogi’s 18-year-old niece who lives with him; Kaiba, a detective who hates coffee and his bald, fatherly figure-superior Mochizuki; Sakura Miki, a young woman with shorter hair compared to the long-haired siren that is her twin sister. Yatabe is an old friend of Mizorogi’s from college, a womanizer who revels in asking Koyomi to be his wife and indulges in the gourmet pleasures a famous author can afford. Mizorogi’s youthful editor Makoto Tsuji is almost a dead-ringer for Shuji from Saikano.

Left is Tsuji and right is Shuji and the more I slapped this together the more I realized Tsuji is just a punk with combed hair like Shuji. Kinda.

Left is Tsuji and right is Shuji and the more I slapped this together the more I realized Tsuji is just an older punk with combed hair like Shuji. Kinda. That’s up to you to decide.

The story is rated 18+ due to sexual themes but while some stories merely use sex as something to please readers, the pleasurable acts aren’t as pleasing to the characters within. In fact, it feels creepy reading. Not everyday you run across a story like that in the bookstore. Too bad the book wasn’t wrapped like other manga but unless a passerby were to recognize the author on spot, then the thick volume of 448 pages would look like any normal omnibus (and that’s not including translator’s notes). The art style is reminiscent of other manga and doujins I’ve read from authors such as Fumi Yoshinaga (Antique Bakery) or Temari Matsumoto (Shinobu Kokoro) due to the lanky fingers and muscle-less bodies. While I can worry about whether or not any of the characters are eating well, the story is enough to make you focus on story which is the main point, right?

This isn’t one of those stories that you can be satisfied reading at your bookstore in a short time span but try not to do that, especially if you’re under 18 so I suggest investing time in reading this story of sexual psychological torment. Maybe I’m exaggerating but the story is similar to how famed Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki would write, all sexual and voyeuristic-ish. Is that even a word? Yeah I’ll go with it.

Price: $18.95 US/$19.95 CND
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.

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