Start With A Happy Ending

I… I don’t even know. It’s a manga about people. People who die. People who die and are reborn. People who die and are reborn for a week. People who die and are reborn for a week as kittens. “Start With A Happy Ending” is this manga.

Before my usual “analysis”, I want to talk about what happened to be yesterday.

I was reading this in the college cafeteria, hanging out with my Breakfast Club. One guy in our group notices the cover.

“THAT’S A HENTAI!”

Now, you know me. I may read manga about nipple-sucking Christians, gay airports, and stories that always amount to panties, but… well, you know I’m not stupid enough to read them in public. Someone could see the cover.

So I read things with a more pleasant cover. Look at it. Isn’t it nice? Isn’t it? Does this look like a hentai? At all? No. It does not.

“Um… no it’s not. It’s just a manga.”
“Of course it is! Do you know what a ‘Happy Ending’ is?”

Oh, Lord.

“You have a dirty mind, son.”
“Plus, she’s barely dressed!”
“Not only is she dressed, she’s also covering herself with more clothes.”
“Lemme take a picture of you reading that hentai!”

So I had no choice but to put it away. Why do I share this story? Because I don’t like this ignorance. I’m not the Hentai Connoisseur, I’m the Manga Connoisseur. Even though the title “Nipple Wizard” interests me, I’m not willing to go out of my way to buy it. I try to keep things here marginally clean.

Is this a “Ohhhhh, you just say that since you love Japan!” I don’t. I’ve never been to Japan. I could hate it. Maybe it smells like Limburger cheese. But it is very photogenic. So I don’t like it when people think such a beautifully photographed country is nothing but smut. Did you know that they ban live-action porn? That’s why hentai exists. I don’t know, maybe I’m just misinformed. But the only one with a dirty mind here, Mr. John Bender, is YOU.

Now, the review.

Plot: People die and are reborn as kittens! They have one week to realize what their lives have been missing, and better the way of life for the people that they love! It’s all very sweet and cute.

Except, oh, I don’t know…

SOMEONE DIES IN EACH CHAPTER.

It’s kinda disturbing, really. Like, a few high school girls die. It’s upsetting.

Sure, they have a happy ending, but the beginning is a huge bummer. So the title is a lie.

Actually, the Cat God is the one who gives people the option to mend their ways. I must say, this is probably the best religious belief that I’ve ever heard. All you have to do is be kind to cats and you get a satisfactory afterlife? Sign me up! Plus, kittens.

You might wonder, “What do they care if they don’t realize what was missing in their lives? They’re still dead.” They explain that, actually. See, if you don’t mend your ways and realize what went wrong, you’ll fall into the same lifestyle as the previous one. So it’s nice to have that explained.

What I’m mixed on is the fact that they stay dead. Doesn’t it seem like a ton of… well, doesn’t it seem like everything ever has had the dead character come back to life? Okay, most things. Half. This manga keeps them dead.

Now, I like it because it’s honest. It doesn’t… *AHEM!* pussyfoot around the issue. Then again, it’s still a huge bummer to see this many people dying. Oh well.

Also, the endings differ. Some choose to be reincarnated as kittens. Others to live as humans, meeting their past friends later in life. That’s-a nice-a variety-a!

There’s not much else to say, but this: The art style is weak, but cute. The plots follow the same pattern, but it’s not a bad pattern. It’s a huge bummer, but very sweet. It’s all a contradiction, but it still works.

Overall Opinion: It’s very sweet, but if you don’t like kittens, stay away. You fiend.

Rating: A BOX FULL OF KITTENS!

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Pretear

Night has fallen. The Manga Connoisseur looks at his stack of manga to read.

“Hmm… what should I read? Zombie Fairy? Nah, best saved for later. To Heart? Looks kind of dull. What’s this? ‘Pretear’? Yeah, I’ll give it a go.”

The Manga Connoisseur starts reading Pretear. He stops short.

“Wait, the cover says it’s ‘The New Legend of Snow White. This… this seems more like Cinderella. Wicked step-family, that sort of thing. Didn’t President Dad have a similar problem? Whatever…”

He continues reading. After a few pages, he makes a disgusted face.

“So this Himeno character is bullied by her step-sister and, rather than be upset, she smiles and says ‘I’m not gonna give up!’ like bullying was an okay thing. No, no. It’s not. Amanda Todd and all that. Then again, Kana from Sokora Refuges never shut up about her woes… so I guess this is an improvement. Okay.”

The Manga Connoisseur continues his volume. He stops short again.

“Oh, oh NOW it’s like Snow White. You got seven handsome magic guys, so I suppose they’re the dwarves. Well, three of them are kids, so that must be it. But it hardly dominates the Snow White field!”

The Manga Connoisseur becomes cross, but presses onwards. He thinks for a moment.

“Wait… they need her help? Why? What did she do, try to fix a plant? I don’t understand. What makes her so special? But I’ve heard worse reasons for a chosen one, so again, you’re safe for now, Himeno.”

The Manga Connoisseur reads a chapter or two. He gets upset.

“Boy, Himeno must be getting punished for the sins of the world or something! Everyone lays it into her! ‘Himeno, you spoke to the magic dwarf guys! You are not part of this family!’ ‘Himeno, how dare you slap my daughter for destroying your room!’ ‘Himeno, I don’t care if you saved a puppy orphanage! You didn’t brush your teeth! You are the devil!’ I mean COME ON. Some relief for this girl might be nice, huh? Why does Himeno receive so much blame?”

The Manga Connoisseur can stand no more. He persists, however, but quickly becomes bummed out.

“Oh, great! She almost got on her other step-sister’s good side, but because of a Three’s Company moment, she loses the chance! I HATE THIS MANGA!”

He thinks about what his next action should be. He decides to put Pretear on the bottom of his stack.

“What a horrid manga. I mean, it’s very pretty, and the individual powers of the dwarves are cool, but I can’t stand how the heroine is treated! That’s why this manga is so bad!”

The Manga Connoisseur decides to read Vaizard. He quickly hates it.

“At least I cared about Himeno enough to see what happens to her! I have no such feelings for these nitwits! And the art style! UGH. In fact, Pretear’s plot was much better!”

He ponders about this, but shakes it off. He reads Zombie Fairy instead.

“Oh, no. This manga I actually like. BUT IT’S CALLED ZOMBIE FAIRY! HOW CAN IT BE ENJOYABLE? At least Pretear’s title was obviously beautiful. When you give a manga a dumb name, you expect a dumb manga. But Pretear… NO! I HATE PRETEAR! I HATE…”

The Manga Connoisseur catches himself. His emotions change.

“No… I don’t hate Pretear. I can’t hate Pretear. It makes me feel. I care, okay? I care about Himeno. I want her to succeed. I can’t tolerate her boorish family. OH, HIMENO! KEEP YOUR CHIN UP! YOU CAN MAKE IT! DON’T GIVE UP!”

He smiles. He reaches out his hand and switches Pretear to the top of the stack.

“I think if you want a manga that makes you care, Pretear works. If you don’t like depressing family issues, then skip it. But I liked it.”

The Manga Connoisseur lies down and prepares to sleep. Before he does, he says…

“Five out of Seven Dwarves.”

Project X Challengers: Cup Noodle

I’m very sorry for my fellow Hurricane Sandy victims. As such, I’ve decided, as good will towards men, to review something close to my heart. Ever wanted to see the serious business of Cup Noodle? Now you can! This is “Project X Challengers: Cup Noodle”.

Plot: It’s the history behind the invention of Cup Noodle. Yet, it’s extremely serious about it. Everything is serious. The creation of the cup. The cooking of the noodles. Having the shrimp in it. The price of the product. EVERYTHING IS SERIOUS.

Because of this, the manga becomes HILARIOUS. My dad was cracking up reading this. It’s a lot sillier than making a car or 7-11. This makes it the best of the three, which is why I saved it for last.

The boss is the greatest of the characters. He must be God (except we all know that Mokona is really God), because he knows all, he sees all, and everyone takes his word as genius law. No one ever says, “That’s impossible!” or “What a dumb idea!” Nope, everyone trusts his word, and he knows what to do in the face of adversity.

Plus, he’s the most serious out of everyone, which makes him even more hilarious.

I also love the goals of the creation team. In 240Z, they’re motivated by revolutionizing the car industry (and make money). In 7-11, they want to revolutionize the general store industry (and make money). In Cup Noodle, they want to make money (and revolutionize the food industry).

They’re always so straight-faced about it, too. “If we succeed, our salaries will rise!” “…Right then. Let’s do it!” Yes, their goal in all this is earning bigger paychecks. I find this more respectable than being driven by revolutionizing food. Know why? BECAUSE IT’S HONEST. They want money, and that’s what it’s about. They’re down to Earth, I can get them.

It’s the facial expressions that sell it. They almost never open their mouths, so it adds to the already imposing drama. Remember, this manga is about Cup Noodle. It’s hard to imagine such a serious subject being unintentionally funny, but it is.

They succeed, of course. They settle on styrofoam for the material of the cup, leaving room in the cup for the noodles to rise to cook it evenly, get a special type of shrimp to freeze-dry, and sell it for 100 yen. “Now our salaries will rise!” “We’re drinking tonight.” HILARIOUS.

I completely recommend this manga. Its serious is canceled out by the subject matter, so it becomes a work of humor. Go get this manga.

Overall Opinion: WHY DON’T YOU HAVE THIS MANGA YET?

Rating: A whole factory of Cup Noodle. Buy this manga.