Gen 1by Shiga Nakamura
Indie manga from the Tokyo Underground, four hard-lined stories are presented in the first of GEN. Wolf is the emotional story of a young man that heads to the city to avenge his childhood abandonment. VS Aliens is the story of an average student duped (or not?) into going on a wild alien chase. A mysterious masked stranger in KAMEN holds secrets to hidden powers to protect innocents from massacre. And a young woman explores her psyche in the metaphysical journey of Souls.
- Gen Manga Entertainment, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.32(d)
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Astutely for a maiden release of this indie manga magazine each of the four stories within utilize universal themes. A young boxer fighting more than just an opponent, school kids and the extraordinary, a masked warrior of a bygone era and the supernatural are tried and true subjects around the world. This anthology might even catch the eye of comic readers in a shop, though the sumptuous cover art might be a bit misleading. While Gen is aimed at a more mature audience, there is small concern regarding content beyond a little violence in the first issue. So it’s accessible at least initially for those curious of what is beyond the conventional publisher offerings as well. The art thankfully varies in style and is overall decent. The weakest in this department, the last story “Souls” perhaps shows the artist’s yet unrefined senses of aesthetics and proportion. Having instances of transparent speech bubbles on a dark grey background with black text presents difficulty in reading, not to mention unpleasing visuals. This was unfortunate since it was the story I liked the most, as well as the most outside the box regarding narrative style. As for the publisher’s handling of the material, I unfortunately might say more than on the content itself. The occasional translation of sound effects is curious. The reader might wonder why “thump” or “click” is so necessary in English when numerous other onomatopoeias are not. Perhaps this is the raw philosophy of the publisher coming through. One of the title pages of a story by the third chapter also fails to be subtitled. But, one thing I have never seen is leaving a speech bubble in Japanese kana and subtitling it under the panel. Switching from English to Japanese made me stop to do a double take. The reason for it concerns me. Education isn’t a bad thing. Respect is admirable. Time and economic restraints are normal. But possible laziness or pandering to an otaku crowd (the latter sadly understandable to a point) is cause for stagnation in the industry. The taste of independent artists presented in the first issue did enough to whet my curiosity for the next installment. However, Gen leaves me with less than the concept of “original” that the name implies. Still I would like to thank Gen Manga for offering this first issue for free.