Friday, September 25, 2009

GoGo Monster Impression

GoGo Monster
Every once in a while a manga comes along which does not have the best art but it has a story that captures the reader in a manner overlooked by most manga. Taiyo Matsumoto’s GoGo Monster from Viz is one of these books and for fans of the paranormal, the softer, more realistic side, it’s a must read.

Yuki Tachibana is not the average first grader. He keeps to himself, draws on his desk and is ignored and made fun of by his classmates. Yuki sees things, he talks about the others, about their leader, who he’s named Super Star. He spends time on the roof playing his harmonica and tending to the school garden with the old groundkeeper Ganz. New student Makoto Suzuki begins to take an interest in Yuki, talking to him even at the expense of being made fun of. Yuki tells him about the others, the danger Super Star is in and why the students cannot go to the abandoned levels of their school. There’s also the unique IQ, a student who cares about the schools rabbits and always wears a box on his head. Through spring to winter and back to spring, Yuki must grow and confront the others, his disconnection with Super Star and the other side.

The art is simple, like something sketched out in Mushi-Shi, a Miyazaki sketch but at the same time powerful. No anime characters, no crazy settings, just plain everyday life for school age kids. No, where GoGo Monster shines is its story. Wondering what Yuki sees, how he changes over a year, the outside perspective from Makoto, it all adds up to a ‘is it really true feeling’ that scary enough has to be answered yes. Ganz makes the comments to some teachers that he’s seen this before, kids who see things much as Yuki does, but he states they all grow out of it. What’s compelling about Yuki and this story is not so much what’s going on in the story but how true it is, that this happens in real life. Kids have senses, see things, and have open channels that have long since closed in adults. What Yuki sees, the fact he knows as he grows he becomes disconnected, rots, is so thought provoking. The practice or Reiki, opening you channels, fixing the flow of energy, is something adults can do and practice to help understand. Understand what, well that is up to the one who practices. Yuki could be any child in any country in real life.

Overall GoGo Monster is not about the art, it’s about the story, the thoughts and ideas it passes. What Yuki sees, how others view him and even Ganz view is all very real. As adults it’s easy to lose sight of what we were as kids, the innocence and connection with the other side. Children are not burdened with all the adults’ thoughts, ideas and teachings. They are pure and simple and can accept what science cannot prove. This is easily one of my favorite manga for these thoughts alone. The other side is real, GoGo Monster is not just a work of imagination.

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