Category: Freaks Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59796-095-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Category: Freaks Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     March 09, 2006
Release Date: February 01, 2006

Category: Freaks Vol.#02
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Gokurakuin Sakurako
Translated by:Asako Otomo & Daniel Sullivan
Adapted by:

What They Say
The battle against the freaks heats up when a fellow Stand appeals for Asagi's help to straighten out a delicate case. But its resolution discloses the twisted workings of a much darker evil, which could spell certain doom for the human world. Asagi will have to enlist the aid of some of his most powerful allies. But will his normally bloodless methods be enough to defeat such a powerful foe, or will the job require him to unleash his vicious potential? And just what (or who!) is Izumi anyway? Find out in this latest action packed installment of Category: Freaks.

The Review
With volume two, Category: Freaks continues to be one of DrMaster's better looking manga. Presented in a B6 sized book in right to left format, this manga looks good inside and out. The front cover has an image of the main character Nanami Asagi, wearing his cool suit Izumi. His white hair and black suit really jump off the gray background he is standing in front of. The opposite cover has three cute bunnygirl freak eaters - Tokiko, hanging out together possibly impatiently waiting for their next meal!

Inside the printing is not too bad. DrMaster appears to have improved on the b/w printing of color plates for these pages look sharp on their nice yellow paper. I will say the print is a little dark but it has improved. That fact is clearly seen by looking at how Gokurakuin’s inking now stands out from the shadow tone during most of the gory scenes. The tone is not at its best though. There are moiré problems from the start, but they did not bother me too much, considering how common this is in North American manga.

DrMaster includes a pair of nice extras. There a couple pages of ato-gaki, one being a thanks page revealing secrets about the cover art. The other is a white on black, manga strip focusing on the busty Mahiro-chan! The usual Izumi extra should not be missed.

This title is rated 18+ and has parental advisory warnings on the front and back covers. It is shrink-wrapped and appears to be uncensored. Thank you, DrMaster.

Gokurakuin's art is very stylish and generally just plain cute. Her lines are very thing, long and sketchy. Her lines tend to give her characters a very lean look to them. Costume designs are pretty cool but unless there is a cover or chapter header, the cast is usually in their school uniforms. If there is anything I do not like about her character designs, it is her eyes. They look so empty, even though the irises have a lot of detailing. They look weird. The background art is not great. Actually, when they are drawn in they look okay but Gokurakuin does not draw them much.

The layout is solid. There is a lot of variety in perspective and point of view. Some panels even help with setting up mood and pacing, which helps a lot as this title does not have a lot of dialogue.

This volume has tremendous amounts of extremely graphic violence, full frontal nudity and detailed Yuri sex. This is not for children!

My history with DrMaster titles has been hit or miss - horrid in one title and excellent the next. This title happens to be one of their good ones. I did not notice any glaring typos or punctuation issues, and the translation was smooth from start to finish. Personalities came out well from the start. This is important for some of the characters tend to have to act, schmooze and manipulate their ways through their investigations showing differing persona to achieve success.

SFX are translated with subs in this series. Generally, DrMaster does this better than most studios and this series is no exception. What makes them unique is their use of smaller subs, so they rarely compromise art in their smaller sized GNs. The use of small subs also gives readers a chance to take in all of the artist's work - character art, background art, layout and writing.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Nanami Paranormal Investigations has made itself a high profile institution by taking on the toughest cases with minimal damage to property and life. Nanami Asagi himself insures that his reputation is maintained that he often takes on cases alone to guarantee a clean quick resolution to his client’s problems. But as we find out in this volume, Nanami is not the only Stand based business around capable of providing the same services (at a different level of quality). Freaks are everywhere there is hatred, fear and confusion and in an increasingly isolated society, these forces are creating a lot of work for businesses like Nanami's.

Even with freaks increasing in number, Stands have been able to keep the beasts under control. A new threat has emerged that is not only feeding on the fears of humanity, but is now being summoned into this realm by humanity. At their own endangerment, humans are calling upon flesh dolls without completely understanding the ramifications of their actions. Instead, to fulfill their desires of the flesh, these foolish people make contracts with these dolls and their makers guaranteeing their own demise after a brief period of sinful experimentation. It is bad enough when a freak overwhelms its host after a prolonged period in a parasitic co-existence, but for a human to willingly summon the supernatural into their own lives is far beyond the pale. Such actions could create chaos among the living and empower the freaks shifting the balance in this realm.

That is not all. The source of these dolls has gained the strength to create other forces against humanity. Cursed rings, songs that cause instant death and autonomous freaks are beginning to wreck Tokyo and its inhabitants. This monster is now capable of acting on her own and when she decides to take on her biggest threat watch out!

Nanami did not become the best in his trade on looks alone, though. He is willing and capable of taking this challenge on himself; which is why is competition has turned t o him increasingly to help take on this new threat. Nevertheless, if Nanami is going to become the hunted he is going to have to finally show his true vicious colors.

After reading the first volume of this series from one of my favorite artists, I really began to fiend for more Freaks. I already was in love with the art. Which happens to be very similar to her designs for Aquarian Age, but racier. Moreover, there was something sinister about Gokurakuin’s brand of storytelling that had me wanting to come back for more. Nanami, Tokiko and Izumi just seemed to be evil enough to keep my attention piqued at all times.

As this new arc progressed the secrets of the relationship behind Nanami and his remitter Izumi are revealed. This is perfect timing for after seeing the pilot and going into some background on a few supporting characters, a little character development on the leads seemed appropriate. In addition, we are also treated to a very long arc detailing a new kind of freak; one much more destructive than anything seen in the previous volume. So as the story begins to unfold and we see the horrific supernatural crimes committed against humanity, we also get to see why Nanami is considered to be a different level of Freak hunter. As one would expect this great monster hunter is possibly nothing more than a monster himself. However, the motivations for him to not turn against humanity remain unclear. Maybe Gokurakuin is trying to tell her readers that everyone like a Nanami can be prone to turning bad. Or is it as simple as Izumi says - He just likes humans. Knowing Gokuarkuin it can’t be, right?

This volume takes the premise of this story, Freak hunting, and completely expands its possibilities. We were initially let to believe that freaks are all around us. They were to feed off our negative energy. Now, these freaks have become a direct product of humanities own suicidal tendencies. Gokuarkuin presents the dark sides of humanity. The sides that want vengeance (even if in fleeting moments), the sides that want to take their aggressions out physically on others, the sides that want to be like gods and the sides that do not want to let go of memories long removed. Many of societies faults are presented in their worst and through her Freaks Gokurakuin makes her readers aware of how dark our neighbors, friends and family might be.

Reading Category: Freaks repeatedly reminds me why I am such a fan of horror manga. Not only is my adrenaline rushing and my attention riveted to the visuals but I am also often treated to social and moral issues that challenge me as a reader. Manga like this can get readers active in a few ways, as they are entertained by gore and pushed by the personal belief systems we all individually possess. Our boundaries are pushed and in the end we usually want more. With every volume, Category: Freaks keeps leaving me wanting more. I just hope Gokurakuin could make more time in her busy schedule to follow through.


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