Daydream Sanctuary Features

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finished Manga: Bloody Monday Season 1


Bloody Monday
A virus deal clinched in Russia on the Christmas eve. Purpose: unknown. Two clues: a mysterious lady "Maya," who is one of the gangsters, and "Bloody Monday," the keyword for the project.

Then an incident happened in far-distant city of Tokyo. Fujimaru Takagi, a second year student at Mishiro Gakuin high school, is commissioned to find out the truth by the Public Security Intelligence Agency, for his great ability as a super hacker. Now, Maya approaches Fujimaru as his high school teacher...

Author: Ryuumon Ryou | Artist: Megumi Kouji | Volumes: 11 volumes | Year: 2007
Genre: Action, Drama, Mature, School Life, Sci-fi | Demographics: Shounen
Original Publisher: Kodansha | English Publisher: Chuang Yi | Serialized in: Weekly Shounen Magazine

[ OVERALL IMPRESSIONS ]

Bloody Monday had a very catchy title. And a plot involving technology, particularly the art of hacking, and bioterrorism made it even more interesting!

However, once you read the first few chapters, it seemed like your typical shounen wherein the main character is just too good in the skill he excels in that it's too unbelievable. What's more, our main cast involves a bunch of teenagers fighting against something big and serious. There's also the "heroic teenagers versus evil grown-ups" kind of thing going on in the series as well. The cliches honestly didn't even even until the last few chapters, wherein everyone actually has to wait for the leading character to do his big role before taking action.

Other flaws that have been noted about this series are the faulty technical information it presents. I'm no hacking or computer expert, but I think you don't need to be one to notice some parts there just can't make sense. Even non-technology portions in this series don't make sense that it felt like they were just forced to happen even if there are no such hints in previous chapters just for the sake of having a plot twist.

But you know, despite that there are annoying stereotypes/cliches that it shouldn't have maintained, the good stuff in this series are just too awesome that it had been easy to ignore all those flaws!

There are three main things that I love so much with this series: 1) Imperfection on Perfection 2) Protagonists = Antagonists 3) Thrilling Story!

I see many people complain that Fujimaru, leading character of Bloody Monday, is weak and stupid; unlike Light Yagami of Death Note. But that's actually what made Fujimaru better as a character! Both main characters are young, they are prone to mistakes and being affected by emotions. I like it that though Fujimaru is such a genius when it comes to hacking, he still has weak points. That makes him more believably human! Moreover, since it's his first time to be in serious danger, he could also feel fear. It's certainly not natural for a highschool kid to be able to act rationally and calm down especially when he's not used to that kind of situations. My main point is: though Fujimaru does have the role of being the heroic and talented leading character, he still has flaws that can screw things up. In other words, he's so imperfect which made him a great character!

The next things that I love so much with this series is the equality between the protagonists and antagonists. Unlike other shounen series, antagonists here can win. It's not always the heroes who get to do the awesome stuff, because the villains here are also capable of doing things that can outsmart the heroes. They could beat each other; sometimes one side wins, sometimes the other. Both sides have the chance to shine. Geniuses are not only with the heroes, but there are also such on the villain's side. Even idiots exist in both sides. Traitors too, and it could be anyone. Seriously, anyone. And of course, both sides aren't exempted from death either. I love this series for not being the "protagonists always win" type.

In my opinion, what makes a story thrilling is when it keeps on making you surprised with so many twists and intense moments (whether dramatic or action types). Bloody Monday is exactly like that! Every single chapter had been awesome and exciting in its own way! Twists come one after another like it'll never run out of such. One of the greatest twists for me is that what I thought as something stereotypical actually has an explanation! Particularly, it's the fact that it involves a bunch of high school kinds and most events had occured in school. There's actually a reason why such people are involved and why the setting had been that place of all places. Most shounen shows just pick schools to be settings for fights and stuff for no apparent reason. In other words, some things that seem stereotypical to me at first aren't actually stereotypical at all! I'm really very impressed!

I am also so relieved that despite its serious theme and though its main genre in my opinion are sci-fi and action; it still manages to insert some comedy, drama, and even romance! The comedy could either be obvious or subtle or simply crack! The drama doesn't feel forced . . . and if it didn't make you cry, it can still make you sad somehow. And I'm very happy that the romance here isn't your typical highschool teen lovey-dovey crap. The romance had been between adults, and even between very different age groups. And of course love isn't limited to romantic love; because it also shows love towards family, friends, and companions. The most obvious one would be the sibling love between Fujimaru and his sister of course. His bias is obvious.

Additionally, it has psychological aspects because it discusses analyses of human behavior, emotions, and thinking. And of course, we get some biology trivia because of the bioterrorism subject. Also, since the terrorist involve a religious group, we also get to explore the occult and their practices.It's so fun that we get to learn so much stuff from different fields in this series!

Lastly, the artwork in this series is very fantastic! Those chapter covers and spreads got me amazed the most. The character profiles had been creatively designed too! Character designs have been really nice of course! I like it that though it's pretty easy to recognize a character drawn by that artist, each character still looked different that you can distinguish one from the other. Unlike with some other series wherein many character almost look alike if it weren't for the change in the hairstyle. And I'm also relieved that sexy women here are sexy, but not disgustingly sexy. And what I mean by disgustingly sexy are the gigantic bouncy boobs and exposed panties. In other words, if a character wears revealing outfits, it's just because it's part of her personality, not just to please the eyes of perverted fans. Thank goodness.

I consider this as one of my top favorite shounen series of all times! It has been so awesome that even if its chapter will contain parts that can cause me headaches, it will easily make up for it with something really brilliant making me forget whatever I disliked in this series. It has been a very fun and exciting read! Of course I highly recommend it!
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