TANPENSHU (Endo Hiroki Tanpenshu, “Hiroki Endo Short Works”) ????????) • Hiroki Endo • Dark Horse (2007) • Kodansha (Afternoon, 1998-2001) • 2 volumes • Underground Seinen Science Fiction/Crime Drama • 18+ (language, graphic violence, nudity, graphic sex)
This philosophical, profane short story collection by Hiroki Endo (Eden) tends towards dark themes–flawed people, abusive relationships, shocking violence, people driven by the traumas of the past. “The Crows, the Girl and the Yakuza” tells of the relationship between a morphine-addicted yakuza and a homeless girl who feeds crows in an abandoned warehouse. “Platform” deals with the son of a yakuza struggling not to be like his father, “Because You’re Definitely a Cute Girl” stars a sexually repressed teenage girl, and the apparently autobiographical “High School Girl 2000″ shows how Hiroki Endo (and, by extension, anyone) transforms from a sensitive teen to a middle-aged dirty old man. “Hang,” the only science fiction story, is the most conventional with its mixture of sex, futuristic machinery and Neon Genesis Evangelion character designs. “For Those of Us Who Don’t Believe in God” follows the troubled lives of the members of an avant-garde theater troupe. Endo’s art is fabulously detailed and photorealistic, and the stories, while sometimes cryptic, are fascinating and powerful at their best.
**** (four stars)
Today’s winner is Leihtah W. of Georgia! Congratulations, Leihtah! More manga reviews and giveaways coming tomorrow!