In the End Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: F

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 184
  • ISBN: 978-1-4278-0718-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Faust Anthology

In the End Vol. #01

By Briana Lawrence     June 10, 2008
Release Date: February 28, 2008

In the End Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Pink Psycho (Heath & Nheira)
Translated by:Erin M. Blakemore
Adapted by:Barb Lien-Cooper

What They Say
No one understands high school student Kaito Niikura. Not his dad. Not his classmates. No one. That is, until he meets Ren Ando, who understands him better than he even knows...

In this punk rock bi-shonen love story by global manga-ka Pink Psycho, can the possibility of a forbidden love survive teenage angst?

The Review
Isn't there a Linkin Park song with the same title?

The front cover shows Kaito and Ren standing together, both looking like models on a gothic fashion runway. Their holding hands, and Ren is using his other hand to treat a beaded necklace like a leash around Kaito's neck. I can't get over how diabolical Ren looks, like he has very evil intentions towards Kaito, who looks rather unhappy about being pulled closer to the older man. The title of the manga looks like they cut the letters out of a newspaper, sort of like those ransom notes kidnappers would send in the movies that had the letters cut from newspapers and magazines.

The back cover has the description of the book with Kaito's face in a sketchy red to blend in with the color of the back of the book.

There's a lot of focus on the characters of the story. A lot of times, we'll get their faces in a blank frame as they're speaking to each other, or they'll be drawn outside of the frames to make them stand out more. There's also a ton of detail in the clothing, and if you look closer at some of the different settings in the story, there's some small details that make the different places unique (Kaito has a "Dir en Grey" poster in his bedroom, for example, and there's a Dragonball Z video game and action figures in Kyou's bedroom).

All of the sound effects are translated into English. There isn't a hint of kanji anywhere in the story, with the exception of some buildings in the background. The story is primarily told in Kaito and Ren's point of views, but there are times where the other characters get to have their own little narratives in the story. It's a nice change a pace to see what Kyou (Kaito's best friend) is thinking, or even what Megumi (Ren's wife) is thinking in the middle of the scenes she's in.

The only real problem with the text is that it's ridiculously overdramatic, though I guess that fits the story. The inner monologue, the dialogue, everything is trying way too hard to sound deep, dark, and angsty. So get ready for the city streets to be compared to forests with wild creatures lurking around, looking to tear the flesh off of Kaito's emo bones and drag his lifeless body into the shadows from whence they came. There's also some tense problems with the text. Sometimes, the characters narrate in present tense, but there are other times where Kaito will speak in past tense or he'll say things like, "I get all misty-eyed when I think back on it," that make the entire story sound like a flashback.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story starts out with our young and angsty hero wondering why his dad hates him so much as he sits alone in a subway in the middle of the night. By chance he meets Ren, who turns out to be the new chemistry teacher at his school, but Kaito doesn't know that because he never goes to class. After seeing him once, Ren can't seem to take his mind off of Kaito. Deep down, Ren knows that Kaito is really an adorably vulnerable teenager under all of that eye make-up and Hot Topic clothing. Just when Kaito starts to open himself up to the man, he discovers that the teacher is married. He jumps back into the arms of his ex-boyfriend, Shingo, but is still unhappy with life in general.

Soon, Ren and Kaito find their way back to one another, and Kaito even runs away from home to stay with Ren. But Megumi is quick to interrupt things. She calls Kaito's parents, who are quick to pick up their son, and she makes Kaito believe that Ren doesn't love him. Kaito's parents decide that it's best to move away from the situation, which leads to one last desperate attempt from Ren to get Kaito to come back to him, but when he can't get Kaito to return to him he decides that the only choice left is suicide.

This is a song fic. This is a published song fic. It's that one fic on you find that uses that damn Evanescence "Bring Me to Life" song to describe the relationship between Sasuke and Naruto, or Light and L, or whoever the big fandom yaoi pairings are these days. And it's very overdramatic, and when you read it you roll your eyes because sure, they're angsty in their respective anime series, but the fic has them cutting their wrist and crying out their lover's name on a rainy night.

I didn't expect much from this story, at most I thought the "teenage angst" and "punk rock bi-shonen love story" would be over the top and I'd have a good laugh. But the story is just bad for a lot of reasons. Kaito is trying very, very hard to be emo, and the book randomly spits out reasons for his "deep and powerful" angst. Not only does his father not understand his failing grades, missing class, and partying into the wee hours of the morning... but randomly, he hits him, and has apparently been hitting him since he was a child. In the middle of the story we get an image of chibi Kaito crying and asking his dad why he hits him, then the subject is never addressed again. It was trying to make me feel bad for Kaito but it didn't work at all. If anything, I was more annoyed with the constant barrage of angst, especially the child abuse turn it tried to take for less than half a page.

The story does a horrible job with the different relationships presented in it. You don't find out until the end that Kaito and Kyou have been friends since childhood, there's no real sense of "best friends forever" between the two of them until Kaito is moving away at the end. I have no idea why Ren is even married to Megumi, because he obviously can't stand her. Worst of all, I don't see the point in the manga where Ren's curiosity for Kaito turned into mad love and devotion. But in the end, it doesn't even matter, because Ren is so torn apart about Kaito leaving that he shoots himself in the head. Wow. Word of advice: if you're going to have the guy kill himself over losing his loved one, then I better feel that undying love, especially in the boy's love genre, which is known for having some pretty angsty couples who don't always make it to the end of the story.

Can forbidden love survive teenage angst? No. Now go put the book back on the bookshelf and don't bother buying it. Seriously. Return it to the shadows from whence it came!


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