This Week in Manga: Blame! / Homunculus

Gary, Secretary:

Man I’ve been waiting a while to get in the limelight to try further promoting my crappy taste in anime and the time has finally come.  So, in celebration I’m just going to say right now that the two manga – yep not anime – I’m about to suggest are really unique and can be disturbing.  One has scenes of rape and the other really crudely drawn gore and themes of depression. OTHER than that I think both are incredibly engaging and interesting within the wide scope of manga!
First suggestion is a manga created by the same author as Knights of Sidonia (Sidonia no Kishi) and is one of their earlier works: Blame!  The art style is slightly more crummy and crude than even that of his more contemporary work but the cyberpunk genre really is quite interesting.  It’s story, unlike most other mangas is not as dialogue focused and strangely enough focuses much more on images and atmosphere and funnily enough, the unique art style truly emphasizes these characteristics.

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Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the remnants of civilisation have been buried (or sunk) beneath layers of wiring, piping and metal, humans are slowly being replaced by cyborgs and the like.  Although cliche, the narrative is quite somber and disjointed – within reason – and often requires thought with the interpretation of the story.  Similarly to my second suggestion, this manga can’t be read like a crappy fanserviced action novel and you have to really use your brain to piece the puzzle together to form even a storyline.

So under all this fluff, why am I really suggesting this read?  Cause it looks cool – yeah I know it’s kind of hypocritical to say, no excuse can be offered.

Second suggestion is a manga called Homunculus – that was difficult to spell for some reason – and it’s is most certainly a disturbing read; the themes are even more disturbing and abstracted than Blame! and with good reason.  If this manga was to ever be pigeonholed into a genre, it would slot nicely into the psychological category.
I reiterate, this is not something to be read for the faint of heart.  Not only are there scenes of rape but there’s also scenes of masturbation as well as some things that should never be said on the internet; if you’re even more curious now that I’ve said that, first of all you’re weird (join the club) and second of all, just stop reading this and start reading the manga.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

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Homunculus really explores deeply into issues relating to one’s psyche and does so through the main character’s “ability” that blossoms as he goes through a primitive medical procedure known as trepanation – a process in which a hole is drilled into the skull without touching the brain.

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The story is interesting and the characterisation is quite enjoyable and surprisingly one of the few mangas I’ve read where no themes are over dramatised (looking at you Shingeki no Kyopoop) and the story doesn’t descend into the fifth layer of the Inferno (Naru”wo”to and “Kubo drank” Bleach).  I would also recommend reading this twice because a lot of underlying themes are most likely to be missed at first glance without the context of the ending.  OH, and did I mention AMAZING art?
Welp, I hope you enjoyed my suggestions and hopefully I can see you guys around university as the break finished and we can have a little chat about manga (and not my shit taste in anime).