Friday, February 21, 2014

Things No One Cares About: Futatabi

Every time Kentaro Miura shows up here I end up making fun of the man's work. To be honest I feel bad for doing it because I really love Berserk. It is to me a modern classic in the making and I refuse to believe he just got lucky. I know he didn't do the stories for Japan and King of Wolves but the art wasn't that stellar either. He had some success as an ammeter manga-ka and it's clear he knows what he's doing. You know what maybe he just sort of got dragged into the Buroson team-ups to build his reputation. He's defiantly not a bad writer so maybe if he has full control like he does for Berserk maybe things will turn out for the best. Enough speculating on the past,lets move on to Futatabi.

Futatabi was Miura's first public release that wasn't a doujinshi. Released in 1985,it was a hit and won him a best new authors award .This would be four years before the first ill fated team-up with Buroson and Berserk Prototype .After this he would end up in a rut with the falling out of his next manga Noa but for now he had a great victory. So has this little one shot stood the test of time or is it another work that makes Berserk look like even more of a miracle. Well enough speculating...for real this time.

The plot is a rather simple animal, though I 'm not sure if can be sterilized by alcohol . The twists outside of one clever one are pretty easy to guess. It follows a auto mechanic named Rick in a futuristic/totalitarian city and his chance meeting with a mysterious girl named Venus. The plot heavily relies on a series of twists that actually sets up a very interesting premise(which I'm not spoiling). The problem is that once it sets up said premise,it doesn't do much with it. Instead opting to go with a weak theme of hope. So weak that it has to be explained in a short paragraph that also reveals where the story takes place. There is also a revelation near the end that answers question that no one was asking and raises some new ones. The ending itself is lacking with that ridiculous paragraph that just seems to scream “I ran out of ink and I'm on a deadline.” It is a real gut punch as the story had manged to draw me in and just having it end abruptly with that is silly.

Rick and Venus are by no means bad characters,their interactions do reveal more about the world in which they live in. However,Rick is your stock good guy and Venus is the mysterious girl. There are no real slants to their characters that make them stand out from anyone else That being said,they still do play off each other very well. The conversations they have between themselves and with other characters really do build up this world that I actually want to see more off but you know one shot.

The art is pretty great and actually does help the above mentioned clever twist. It does seems to draw from other sci-fi anime and manga without really anything to set it apart. However it still looks very nice for an early Miura work and shows that yes this man has a sense of perspective. Something he seemed to forget in King of Wolves. It is also nice to see him draw something besides barren wastelands so I actually have sights to see.

Weirdly enough reading this reminded me of Sweet Rein of all things. Mind you,Not so much for the art or anything but the squandered premise. Both had so much potential to be something great but instead went in an okay albeit less intrenching direction. This is a book worth checking out but like Sweet Rein you'll probably forget about it in a weeks time.

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