Usamaru Furuya Wsamarus 2001

Facts
Reviews Views Date product posted
0 3103 9/8/2007
 
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
No recommendations None indicated None indicated
{Please note ~ this is an import comic and is not available in English at the time of this review. It can be purchased with the ISBN number below through Japanese bookstores and amazon.co.jp}

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Publisher: Cue Comics
ISBN: 4-87257-222-X C0979
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Background

Usamaru Furuya is an amazing artist and an incredibly twisted man. It takes a certain sort of courage just to pick up a title with his name on it: one never really can know exactly what to expect. Chances are it will be offensive, eye-opening and heartrending. This book, like the bulk of his work, is a collection of short stories, artwork and 4-koma collected around no particular theme at all.

Short Stories Included

The Sea I Went to with Sachi - an irrepressible tomboy with feelings for her gentle, girlish best friend virtually kidnaps a driver and orders him to take them to the sea. The driver complies, and on the way develops feelings for one of the girls... When they finally arrive at the beach, what began as a lightly comic road trip story takes a pretty strange twist. (romance, comedy, science fiction)

Taeko - a high school outcast befriends a small abused child living in the same apartment building. Both of them outsiders, she forms a bond with the beaten little girl but the girl draws terrible things in her rooftop murals and is covered in more and more scars every day... (horror)

The Hot Seat - a cab driver takes a tripping drug dealer into the desert on his insistence and begins to share his trip... (comedy, psychological)

Red Soul - a young worker joins the forensic unit at his local police force totally blase about death. That is, until he's had a few days on the job dealing with it firsthand... (horror, drama, psychological)

Mariko - a pedophiles small, but disconcertingly mature lover leads him to a gruesome discovery (horror, psychological)

The Cleanest Water - Natsumi's older sister, Ai awakens from her 8 year-long coma. But instead of being the perfect "older" sister Natsumi had imagined, 18 year-old Ai has the mental age of a 10 year-old... (drama, touching)

Extras

Also included are 19 pages of color illustrations, 8 full-color short parody comics, and 15 shorter comics drawn in a variety of styles.

My Thoughts

Unfortunately, this volume has no theme at all to tie it together and suffers if read in one sitting. Many of the stories by themselves are wonderful, but few have the disturbing bite Usamaru is so well-known for. This is, on the whole, Usamaru's weakest collection to date.

The strongest stories: "The Cleanest Water", "Red Soul" and "Taeko" are most definitely still worth reading: but with a $10 price tag; you may just want to borrow the book from a friend or find a nice resale shop that doesn't wrap their books...

Overall

Recommended to Usamaru fans for the sake of completion. While this is his weakest collection, it's also one of the most accessible to new readers and lacks the high gore and violence quotient of his other works. New readers may want to start here and build their way up to more complex and disturbing things.

Otherwise, this is a book best borrowed and read one story at a time.

NOT recommended to minors, weak-stomachs, fluffy shoujo fans, people prone to nightmares, unstable serial-killer types, and anyone who lives with their parents or anyone else who might be freaked out by finding a book like this lying around...
Keywords: cue comics, short story manga, cab driver, comics
Illustrations and Layout Excellent
Entertainment Value Average
Replay Value Average
Plot Average
Genre Short Stories, Independant, Horror, Drama, Psychological, Romance, Guro
Volumes 1
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