Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rosy's manga recommendation: Bloody Monday by Ryuumon, Ryou

Bloody Monday
Ryuumon, Ryou

A virus deal clinched in Russia on the Christmas eve. Purpose: unknown. Two clues: a mysterious lady "Maya", one of the reasons it happened, 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 approaching to Fujimaru as his high school teacher.

Alternate names

ブラッディ・マンデイ血色星期一Bloody Monday Ver. 0블러디 먼데이Lunes sangriento
Madugong Lunes

Series 1 complete. Series 2 ongoing.

Manga reader sites (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Bloody Monday
This manga starts in a rush and just doesn't stop. It is addictive for it but also rather tiring as you just want to know when each story arc is going to end. If you're going to read this manga I will say this: brace yourself as there is no break until you're through all 96 editions. The characters run about like headless chickens the entire time, so much so that there's a collapse from stress scenario. This scenario does not halt the action though.
With this said, in this manga we are treated to a litany of IT information, a flood of insanity and fanaticism, some cold-hearted greed, several secretive organisations with spies to-boot and a group of teen heroes out saving the day, lead by the computer 'wizard' Fujimaru Takagi. There is IT babble galore from him as he just has to explain how he did everything, which is fair enough I suppose as most of us not so IT knowledgable readers do need such magic explained to us. Personally, having sat through more IT babble conversations than the average person not delved into the IT industry in some way, shape or form, it all sounds like more of the same. Except, I can point out that the speed in which Fujimaru does anything, particularly the hacking and coding, will make IT enthusiasts raise their eyebrows at the very least. In fact, most involved with IT will likely find this as incredulous as most other science-fiction and crime shows simply because although many of the methods used are possible (to some) they certainly aren't at the speed with which they're done in the manga. This just goes to show that as informative a piece of fiction can be it is still complete fiction.
IT magic aside, the story involves a blood thirsty cult lead by a young teen who's determination to kill so many Japanese is a little odd. There's some attempt at justifying everything by siting that Fujimaru had previously defeated them while they were in Russia using his IT wizardry but other than that it is a little odd. But I suppose that's what you get from the insane. And the leader of the cult is certainly that. Insanity is everywhere you look in this manga but a lot of it is instigated and controlled by the cult leader. In this Ryuumon did really well. With the creation of a diabolically insane genius for Fujimaru to go up against all Fujimaru's skills suddenly seem more plausible. The fictional scales of good and evil are balanced and so Fujimaru can become the hero we need him to be, his wizardry passed over just enough as we grasp for someone to stop the madness. Luckily, Fujimaru also has the backing of several capable characters, from his friends to secret service agents to spies, skilled in various areas so that any action he can't take as he's essentially an IT geek and not an action hero are covered by others.
All in all the manga is extremely fun as long as you get past the IT babble and the speed at which IT wizardry is performed. There are a range of characters to identify with, some tragedies, plenty of red shirt deaths, fanaticism to get angry with, cliff hangers everywhere and a giant puzzle to try and work out before the characters do. Kouji Megumi's art is rock solid and for the boys there's plenty of breasts and close ups on women's lips. For the girls, you'll likely just have to try to ignore that, but there are a few characters of worth you'll enjoy seeing on the page, some action heroines and some handsome young men (albeit grinning evilly). The style used to draw the manga falls within the normal parameters of mangas but it is very well done and there's aren't many emoticon-type faces included. The continued seriousness and tension is reflected well by restricting the illustration style while keeping it sharp and focused on movement. There is one thing of note though, that stands out straight away, and that is the eyes of Fujimaru and some other characters. In close ups we are treated to beautifully drawn eyes with versions of slip pupils. Sometimes it seems there's a double iris, a double pupil or singular for both but no matter what whenever the slit pupils appeared it was particularly stunning.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone interested in thrillers, high tension fast-paced works and possibly IT if they're interested in a bitter laugh or two. I'd also suggest it to anyone who likes action, adventure and detective stories.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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