MITSUKAZU MIHARA: IC IN A SUNFLOWER (Shûsekikairo no Himawari, “Integrated Circuit Sunflower”) (?????????) • Tokyopop (2007) • Shodensha (1994-1997) • 1 volume • Gothic Science-Fiction Drama • 18+ (language, violence, nudity, sex)
This collection of Mihara’s early work is hit-and-miss in the story department, although her high-contrast, heavy-black artwork and scrawny Gothic-Lolita character designs already show her characteristic style. Mihara’s debut story, “Keep Those Condoms Away From Our Kids,” depicts a world in which young people have lost all sexual desire and pornography and live-action sex ed are mandatory. “The Sunflower Quality of an Integrated Circuit,” the best story, is a film noir-esque drama about a spoiled young woman, her much older husband, and his robot maid. “Alive” is a science fiction tale about clones raised for use in organ donation. The art is attractive and the best stories are darkly satisfying, but in some cases the ideas go nowhere, or the twist endings are predictable in their grimness.
Today’s winner is Marian S. of Michigan. Congratulations, Marian!