Innocent W Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Translated by:Christopher North
Adapted by:Daniel Mishkin
What They Say
Someone has assembled a group of high school girls -- rumored to be witches -- and dropped them off in the woods. Among them is Makoto, a private eye with an uncanny, almost otherworldly, ability to get the bad guy. But one by one, the witches die a violent death -- can Makoto use his sixth sense to prevent bloody carnage from overflowing?!
Innocent W forgets to answer the most important question that every reader should ask, "Why should I read this?" The only response I could come up with is because I like to punish myself for the benefit of you all.
Cover design is by TOKYOPOP, with the original included as a b&w volume insert. The bumpy texture used on the cover isn't very appealing, and the wiggly-lined logo is a bad attempt at a "horror" branding. Print reproduction is good, with some muddy screentone spots. Some humorous extras are included from the creator at the back of the book. Definitely not a "wow" package, but it gets the job done.
What's with school girls wearing an eye-patch in violent manga? Is there some sort of written rule I'm missing out on? Character designs are very basic and lack much distinction. There is also something weird going on with the eyes, as they look static with a blank stare most of the time. Not a lot of background work, and the funky shoujo style panel layouts attempt to cover it up but end up creating quite a bit of clutter.
SFX are not translated. The English script is a little awkward. Being unfamiliar with the original, I'm unable to determine if this is a problem with the source material or the translation process. I had frequent problems with following the dialogue; it just lacks a cohesive flow. It's one of those things that is hard to explain, but is a more intangible feeling.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
More than likely born from the survival of the fittest premise of another popular Young King Magazine title, Battle Royale, creator Kei Kusunoki takes that same violent voyeuristic appeal and applies it to a genocidal witch hunt from the victims' perspectives. It's a gory, disgustingly harsh, sadistic manga that forgets to answer the most important question that every reader should ask, "Why should I read this?" The only response I could come up with is because I like to punish myself for the benefit of you all.
There are plenty of other "king of the hill" stories out there, and the most successful ones have a hook. Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies make use of biting statements regarding the human response and their respective cultures. Basilisk weaves in a historical tapestry along with a central love story that really drives the slaughter. With Innocent W, the only hook seems to be that the victims are witches. That's it.
Set-up by an unknown foe, a group of witches are placed on a bus which is unknowingly under this mysterious person's control. After crashing in the middle of a forest, they find out that a public request has been made (over the internet, how original) for witch hunters who want to join in on a slaughter. There are vague and empty attempts to explain why these people would journey out to a forest to kill witches, but it usually revolves around someone be wronged in someway and is looking for vengeance. The blood-thirsty witch hunters converge on the forest where they disembowel, dismember, rape, and torture this group of witches. To what end? Evidently the survivor "will advance to true, all-powerful witchdom". What does that mean? You get a golden broom?
Unless you have a strong fetish sadistic and torturous violence in manga, there is hardly anything here that I found enjoyable to read. Unlike more successful survival of the fittest manga, Innocent W fails at creating any sort of hook to engage the reader except for the brutal slaughtering of witches. The strong violence and rape serves no purpose other than being exploitational. I had a very hard time getting through this title, this coming from someone whose shelf is filled with violent seinen manga. You all can thank me later.
Mania Grade: D
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left