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Title: Garden
Author: Furuya Usamaru
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 2.5/5

Title: Kami no Kodomo
Author: Nishioka Kyoudai
Number of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 1.5/5

I'm reviewing these two together because I don't really have that much to say about them individually and what I do have to say applies to them both. While I like the art in both of them (Kami no Kodomo has a really unique and interesting style and I like Furuya's art in general), the stories were not that great. They both are full of rape and gore and trying to be oh-so-edgy, but that's really not that appealing.

Garden is a collection of short stories, and there's only one I really liked a lot, which was The Book of the Moon. The rest are just shocking for the sake of being shocking and overall kind of gross and misogynistic and rapey.

Kami no Kodomo is about a serial killer and really doesn't have much story to it at all. It's ~edgy~ because the killer is sort of compared to Jesus, with his thirteen disciples (one of whom betrays him) and chapter titles like Judas and Holy Communion (where he makes his disciples eat bits of someone he raped and killed). But like the stories in Garden, it's just trying to be edgy for edgy's sake, and was really not that interesting.

I also really disliked how the story used homosexuality (or homosexual sex, rather) as a sign of their perversion, and the one disciple who wants to leave, is leaving because he's found a girlfriend. Meh.

Anyway, they are interesting reading if you want to see some non-mainstream manga, but I really can't recommend them aside from that. I translated both for Kotonoha. Kami no Kodomo has been fully scanlated and all of Garden has been posted except for the final chapter.
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Title: Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku
Author: Furuya Usamaru
Number of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 5/5

The world Kai and Pipi inhabit is a peaceful world where everyone lives and works in harmony. It is a near utopia watched over by the loving goddess Marie. Ever since Kai went missing for fifteen days when he was ten, he's felt a special connection to Marie, a deep love that turns obsessive and even sexual as he grows older. Then when he is eighteen, he finds out the secret of Marie, that she was created by their ancestors in order to supress anger, hatred, etc. through her music. However, the tradeoff is that technology can never surpass a certain level. As Marie's musicbox winds down and people begin to quarrel, Kai must choose whether or not to wind it again.

The art is beautiful and this would be an interesting story on its own, but what makes it really excellent is the twist, which I so did not see coming. I really, really, really recommend reading this without spoilers, but omg. Once Kai fulfills his destiny, that's when things get really interesting and we find out that Kai didn't come back when he went missing. His dead body was washed ashore and Pipi has been talking to his ghost this whole time. At first I was like, whoa, was the whole thing in her head? And that's what the villagers though at first, too. But Kai's ghost was really there and really did everything. Father Gule could speak with him, too. Kai himself didn't realise he was dead, and Pipi kind of did have a mental breakdown in that whenever someone tried to tell her that Kai was dead, she blacked out. I love that if you go back and read it with that in mind, you can see all the little signs, like the villagers talking just to Pipi and the way the boys who try for Pipi's hand don't see Kai as real competition the way they would if he were alive. (And of course the scene where her dad tries to tell her something makes sense in retrospect.) Anyway I thought that was very cool and took it beyond what would otherwise just be a "oh, society was so much better before technology" sort of story.

Scanlations are available here. (I provided the translation for most of vol. 2.)


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