Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Dolls by Naked Ape

Naked Ape

After the crime rate began to spiral out of control in the third Toutoh empire, a law was established to help expedite trials and relieve the pressure on the overcrowded prisons, which were filled to the brim with criminals who had been sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole. According to this new law, trials could be held and the accused criminals sentenced to death even if they hadn't been captured yet. Moreover, in order to capture/kill these criminals who had been given a punishment by the courts, the Special Executions police force was created...

Alternative names
Dolls (Naked Ape)



Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Anime, Kiss Manga

Rosy's scrawlings on Dolls
I didn't pay too much attention to the genres and categories of this manga listing before diving in and reading it. As a result I spent a fair amount of time wondering if any of these men, who look very much like glamour girls, would pair up and fall in love. I am quite partial to a Yaoi love story every now and then and so that's just where my mind went when I saw all the indicators currently in manga fashion: very good looking men who are a tad too smooth and beautiful about the face, girlish behaviour and attachments, the standard types of characters meeting, and a few tragic circumstances to be overcome. Well, I remain a little disappointed here as Dolls turned out to be Josei and not Yaoi, meaning it is a manga for women (like chick-lit), probably younger, and not a manga portraying gay romance. I still think at least four of the characters should pair up as it would add more tension to their individual plots...
So, as you can probably tell, there's some aspects to Dolls that leave you wondering and that is why I recommend it. There's enough innuendo to have Yaoi fangirls waiting and there's plenty of tragic, psychological and relationship aspects for fans of chick-lit. On top of that, everyone is stunningly gorgeous but violently emotional, unstable and sometimes insane. You can't tell the goodies from the badies based on looks or even mentality at times. Instead you're left following a series of quick paced murder cases and watching the characters, particularly the men for the character list is predominantly of men, tackle their private and not-so-private issues. To give you an example of just how girly Dolls is, one of the characters is given the nickname of Bunny as his real name is one letter off, and the other men on his team fawn over him as though he were a strange little bunny. Such a thing would never happen in any story not profoundly girly or aimed at girls (Yaoi included).
Otherwise, the murder cases they various Brigades of executioners go out to solve or finalise  are brutal and quite twisted. There are more serial killers and one-off murderers, leading you to wonder just how disturbed the general populous is. Given that there are teams of executioners allowed to conduct public executions where-ever and whenever they like, the answer is pretty obvious.
So I recommend this on the basis that you'll likely be left wondering just what is going on, how these men can call themselves men and not girls (not even women - I must mention that I like Yaoi where the men are all far more manly than this), whether any of the men will finally pair up (hopefully) and whether the society will implode or the execution squads will.
The art of Dolls can only be called glossy. And for the glossy version of manga art, usually less personalised and more to audience expectations of high beauty, it is very well done. In fact it does manage to become quite arty at times, with a touch of impressionism being used to portray a character or situation. Not all details are drawn in but a bold use of blacks against whites give a strong impression of shadows and lines and folds etc.

I'd recommend this manga to: women in general, anyone who likes mind-boggling characterisation and fans of Yaoi.

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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