Monday, November 5, 2012

Manga Mondays #127: Afterschool Charisma vol. 1 by Kumiko Suekane

Manga Mondays Meme!

I've been doing Manga Mondays every week since I started my blog 2 years ago. It's always been a personal feature, but now I'm going to try turning it into a meme. There are quite a few people who do Manga Mondays. I don't claim by any means that I owned or created the idea of Manga Mondays - it's an obvious choice given the alliteration. I think a meme would be a good way for everyone to publicize their own Manga Mondays and get a little more publicity.

The linky will be below my review.

Afterschool Charisma vol. 1 by Kumiko Suekane


Summary

History repeats itself... Or does it? St. Kleio Academy is a very exclusive school: all of the students are clones of famous historical figures such as Beethoven, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon, Mozart, and Freud. All of them, that is, except for Shiro Kamiya. As Shiro struggles to adapt to this unusual campus, St. Kleio's first graduate, the clone of John F. Kennedy, is killed. Are the clones doomed to repeat the fate of their genetic progenitors, or can they create their own destinies? And how does a normal boy like Shiro fit in? (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Can you imagine a school made up entirely of clones? Not just any clones, but the clones of infamous historical figures. From the revered (Florence Nightingale) to the talented (Mozart and Marie Curie) to the hated (Hitler). St. Kleio Academy has them all. Except for Shiro. He's the son of the academy director and the only non-clone in school.


The first volume of this series is intriguing, but raises far more questions than it answers. The volume started off abruptly. It felt like I came in the middle of a plot arc and I worried at first that there were pages missing. I figured out eventually what was happening, but I thought the beginning was awkwardly done.

I love the philosophical questions that are inevitable with clones. What makes a person? If you're the clone of Marie Curie, are you exactly like her? Is it good to know who you're the clone of? Does it inspire you or is the pressure to much? Ironically, the student who is the nicest to Shiro is Hitler. Because of his past, the Hitler clone is hated by all the student. He treats Shiro kindly, because he knows what it's like to be an outsider. And there's another question to ponder - is it fair to punish a clone for their prior's past? That one's pretty easy to answer - obviously not.

Then of course I wonder where the plot is going? Why is there a school for clones? What happens if one of the students no longer wants to fulfill the role of their prior? We see hints that anyone who steps out of line is not treated well. I'm not sure if they're killed or something else...definitely not the kind and fuzzy cover story that's offered. I see hints of dystopia in the leaders of the clone program.

A few other observations...the series is rated for Older Teens. There's a scene with topless girls in the showers. It's entirely unnecessary. It's not particularly graphic, but it seems like a silly ploy just to get teenaged boys to read it. Do you really need to rely on something like that? Can't you just focus on having a good enough plot? Also, I find it highly odd that the clones are pretty much all of western figures. Where are the Japanese and other Asian historical figures? Or African or Middle Eastern or even ancient Greek/Roman? There are a lot of holes.

Despite a few concerns, I am very curious to see where this series leads.

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8 comments:

  1. If those clones were.. I don't know, all Tom Hiddleston, I'd definitely want to be on that school. As for, why it's all Western clones.. Good question. Now I want to read that manga. Oh, money..

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  2. Getting into Manga is one thing I've always wanted to do. I have no idea where to start though.

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  3. I'm so glad that you read this one! Yes, it leaves you asking more questions than giving answers but that's what draws me to this series. I'm still waiting to find out why the clones are created and by whom. The answers are in Volumes 4 and 5 I think but I can't get my hands on them because they're always checked out the library.

    As for the types of clones, I'm guessing that many people know more about and there's much research on the historical figures of U.S. and Europe?

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  4. There's a completely random scene involving topless girls? Super. I'm intrigued by all the philosophical questions you mentioned though, and love when stories force me to give thought to such questions, so I'll be interested to see what the remaining volumes explore if you continue the series:)

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  5. I love finding out about new Manga, I've heard of this one but had no idea what it is all about. Thanks for the review! You are probably right about the random scene only being there to attract the male audience. Sigh.

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  6. Wow, I've never heard of this manga before. It sounds BOSS! I'm going to have to look into it. The fan service you talk about is just how boy's manga works. I read a lot of shonen manga and it's normal, albeit super annoying. Provided it's not too gratuitous, I just ignore it as best I can. Hope the story turns out to be good, despite it.

    Thanks for the review.

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  7. Clones? Ooh, cool concept for manga! I guess, since Hitler doesn't sound like himself, this might be a case of nature versus nurture. Be interesting to see what happens next with the clones. (And why are they all Western figures? Excellent question.)

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  8. I've heard great things about this manga and I was interested in reading it.

    Thanks for the great review and after reading it I definitely want too!

    Have a great reading week!

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