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Goth The Manga
Goth The Manga
Manga Review by Carolyn Whu

Guess what? You don't have to graduate to reading a full-blown book to enjoy Goth anymore. I was also wrong when I said it's a good thing that there wasn't a manga version of it as well; the pages of manga aren't completely black with blood.

Let me back up a little here. There was once a novel that was called Goth that was absolutely amazing. It's about two high schools kids that were seriously wrong in the head, who were obsessed with everything related to death. Lacking all sorts of normal emotions that usually keeps society safe from them and vice versa, these two kids go around town looking for corpses, killers, and any sort of mayhem you can think of. After you are done with the novel, your mind will be messed up more than it is now.

Goth: The MangaThe same warnings I gave about the novel before apply to the manga version as well. Perhaps even more so because the lovely artist, Kendi Oiwa, has decided to sexualize the manga version up a HUGE notch and I'm talking about full detailed nudity. I would not recommend this book if you are not old enough to buy books with money you earn yourself. I would not recommend this book if you have a weak stomach, heart, or mind; there is ABSOLUTELY NO SWEETNESS here to save you. You don't have to worry about convoluted timelines and plots anymore because the stories have been rearranged for your convenience.

Goth: The MangaThe manga version is great in its own ways in comparison to the novel. Other than not having to worry about convoluted timelines and plots, you also don't have to worry about the scary amount of words you have to go through to enjoy the story. I have a very vivid imagination so the amount of blood is thankfully less in the manga but apparently I don't have as detailed an imagination as the artist. Thanks to him, I have a highly detailed naked, disemboweled, beheaded corpse decorating a tree with streamer like intestines nailed up surrounding it as well as the bucket loads of blood that I imagined before on it. Also, since I've never seen a hanging before, Oiwa-san has given me a beautiful visual of what it should look like. Yeah, the body hanging limply on a rope doesn't work. You need the drooling mouth, the drooping feet, and, most importantly, the open bulging eyes that stare accusingly, almost angrily back at the people that are still alive.

Goth: The MangaThere are a few things that the manga version can't compare to the novel though. The novel is very internal. You are running around in the main character's shoes; you are him in all his messed up glory. That really screws up your mind. In the manga, he is a character that you walk through the stories with. He's a completely separate person from you so mentally there is this detachment to everything that he experiences that you can place so that your mind can stay safe. Also, the convoluted plots have been edited and two of the stories that popped up in the novel have been edited out of the manga. The edited plots have made things much easier to follow but the fun of the novel was that the writer, Otsuichi-san, had you running around in circles guessing and slowly driving you mad with suspense. The two stories that were edited out of the manga were very psychological, so I do agree that visually it would not have worked. They were such wonderfully messed up and evil stories that I would recommend for those that love the manga to go get the novel just to read those two to finish up everything.

So to end it all, if you want blood, guts, and glory along with scaring yourself stupid without a lot of words to go through, Goth is your manga. Let two high school kids lead you down the path of madness.

Reviewed by Carolyn Whu, March 2009

Below: Panels from the Goth manga.

Goth: The Manga

Goth: The Manga

Goth: The Manga


Goth Website Links:

Tokyopop's Goth Novel Homepage

Goth Manga review at TaCkís Pop Culture (fan blog)

Goth Manga review at About.Com

Goth (manga) entry at Anime News Network

Wikipedia entry for Goth (novel)

GOTH A Novel of HorrorGOTH A Novel of Horror
Goth: A Novel of Horror
Japanese Literature Book Review

Word through the grapevine was: there is a new book out that I must read. It's good but read at your own peril. No one would tell me why but they warned me it will mess with my head. I would not recommend this book if you are not old enough to buy books with money you earn yourself. I would not recommend this book if you have a weak stomach, heart, or mind; there is ABSOLUTELY NO SWEETNESS here to save you. I would not recommend this book if you have a problem with keeping up with convoluted timelines and plots. If you are not ready to graduate from lots of pictures, very little reading to pure unadulterated reading, get your butt into gear; I'm graduating you anyway just for this book. Relatively light in weight, Goth is still not hardcore reading, so don't worry; no 500+ pages for you yet. I don't need to torture you when the book will do it so much better than I ever can.

Our main character doesn't have a name. All we know is that he's a very intelligent second year high school student. He has a sister and parents like any normal teenager but they don't really know him. He has friends at school like any normal teenager but they don't really know him. If he allowed anyone to really know what he was like, who knows what they'll do? Who can understand that he is fascinated with instruments of death? Who can understand that he likes to visit places that people have died in? Who can understand that he has no feelings other than curiosity and the satisfaction of fulfilling it? Who can understand that the only reason why he allowed someone to live was because her scarred wrist looked much better on her alive than dead?

Maybe he found the one person who can understand him: Morino Yuro. Long black hair, porcelain skin, and a beauty that has attracted many boys in the school, Morino's seeming fragility hides a secret. She can calmly pepper spray anyone anywhere and then beat them into a pulp with a desk. She can see through our main character's act. It's as if they are kindred spirits in the sense that they both have no feelings other than curiosity and the satisfaction of fulfilling it. Unlike him though, she can't fake emotions. She can't fake a smile for a joke, enthusiasm for anything that isn't related to death, casual conversation to put others at ease, or anger at anyone that is harming her. Also unlike him, Morino has a tendency to attract the most abnormal people. It's ironic that she is a natural prey that all these predators are attracted to and she is being protected by one predator that has marked her as his prey and no one else can take her life but him.

It is a good thing that Goth is not a manga. I don't think there is enough red ink at any printer that can completely color these stories and if red ink isn't used, black ink being used would mean that the entire page that you see would be black. Our main character and Morino frolic through rooms covered from ceiling to floor with blood. They explore a forest of diced up organs and body parts that are nailed to trees, decorated as if those parts are Christmas decorations on a Christmas tree. How would you fare as Morino takes you on a journey towards death? She's stuck in a coffin underground with only two hollowed out bamboo sticks to breathe from. Would you choose what she chose: to end your own life by stabbing your neck with a mechanical pencil instead of slowly starving to death? Would you throw a knife to a killer to finish the job just to see the death throes of a man?

How did the publisher describe Goth? "Two high school sociopaths become fixated in a local serial murderer. But rather than trying to prevent and solve the next murder, their obsession grows, taking them on a descent into a maniacal darkness." They got most of it right except one part: their obsession doesn't take *them* on a descent into maniacal darkness. It takes *us* there.

Reviewed by Carolyn Whu, January 2009

Below: Various pages from the Goth manga (click on the to see the image at full size).

Goth: The Manga

Goth: The Manga

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