Thursday, March 08, 2012

Confuse-o-Vision Week, #4: Zombie-Loan, Vol. 13

This week, I'm reviewing late volumes in manga series without having read most of the earlier volumes, to see what  (if anything) a new reader could figure out. I had something like an explanation of this strange behavior on Monday in the first post.

Today's choice is the thirteenth and final volume of Zombie-Loan by the manga team Peach-Pit. Coincidentally -- I didn't plan this at all -- both the members of Peach-Pit are female, which makes this very appropriate that it's appearing on International Women's Day. I read and reviewed Volumes 2 and 3 of this series back in 2008, but haven't seen it since then. 

Not all experiments are successful; not everything we try works. So far this week, the manga stories were clear enough to get into, even if I wasn't sure who all of the people were and what they had to do with anything. But Zombie-Loan has stymied me. When I read it, it was the story of three teenagers -- a cute boy with dark hair, a cute boy with white hair, and a mousy clumsy girl -- who had died, been brought back to life through vaguely magical means, and were working off the value of that resurrection treatment working in the collection office of the company that does the back-to-life deal. (Hence, they all were paying off their zombie loans -- get it?) As this book begins, the three of them -- I think it's the three of them, but the light-haired guy might be someone else, and the white-haired dude on the cover might be somewhere else -- are on a boat, confronting a guy (or maybe a woman -- there's several of them, dressed identically like the Gorton's fisherman, and I can't tell them apart) who can turn them into digital static with the giant oar he (she?) carries. (They may be in some kind of simulated environment, or maybe the whole thing is just a more high-powered fantasy than I expected.)

Anyway, there's a lot of talking over the next three hundred pages -- about the mousy girl being a "singularity" who can destroy the world, about the "seven-member committee," about Elizabeth (who I think is a metaphor rather than an actual person) and her children, about someone called the Inspector (who was apparently an important minor character for a while) and his supernatural relationship with the mousy girl, about the worlds of Higan and Shigan, and about a bunch of other things I didn't get. There's also a car that flies for no reason I can see -- after being saved, mostly off-page, from riding down a river towards a waterfall -- a chase up a giant spiral staircase out in the middle of an ocean (and the invisible elevator right next to it), and a bunch of other characters doing something else somewhere else, one of whom might actually be the white-haired kid. (Or maybe not.)

It all ends with a bang, in a way I probably should spoil for people who might actually know what it all means. But I definitely didn't get it, and so this quick note is really nothing like a review at all. The best I can say is to go back to the first volume instead, and see if that grabs you -- but, under no circumstances should you pick up a series with the last volume.

Of course, anyone with two brain cells to rub together already knew that....

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