Posts Tagged 'Mardock Scramble'

Mardock Scramble GN2 — Caster moonlights in Mardock City

by dm00

If Fate/Zero’s Castor is the kind of villain you like, have I got a manga for you. Remember those juvenile/loli assassin twins in Black Lagoon? Mardock Scramble‘s Balot took the advanced course.

Volume two picks up right where volume one left off, facing Boiled, Oefcocque’s former partner, Oefcocque’s nightmare.

Balot, using her powers (perhaps inadvertently), catches a glimpse of Oefcocque’s memories, and the fight with Boiled awaken something in Balot, giving her a reason to live, and a reason to surprise Boiled with her capabilities.

Balot decides to partner with Oefcocque.

The story is grim: Balot’s life, before Oefcocque and Easter rescued her, was not a happy one. Flashbacks in this volume tell us why she had no desire to survive in the preceding volume, but seem more humanizing than dehumanizing: with the help of Oefcocque, Balot is learning to be human again. We learn a bit more about the madness behind Shell’s method, and we see him unleash four horrors to track down Balot and kill her.

She’s prepared.

There’s some truly creepy stuff implied here. The art is reminiscent of Mohiro Kitoh’s (Narutaru, Bokurano),especially when she draws Balot. Her action scenes are dynamic without turning into a muddle of speed-lines. Some of the brutality is horrific, but fortunately not dwelled upon nor drenched in blood — a good deal of it is left to your imagination.

I have not read the novel. This manga version stands on its own, and is excellent story-telling, and excellent art. I look forward to the next volume. Fortunately, Kodansha is bringing the volumes out every two months, and the next one will be released in early December (this coming Tuesday, as it happens).

Mardock Scramble GN 1

by dm00

Don't completely judge this book by this cover

The first Mardock Scramble graphic novel arrived in the mail the other day, and I thought it was pretty good, save for the fact that Oeufcoque is a little over-powered — Superman syndrome robs the plot of a lot of its tension. Still, his charge has to survive long enough for the plot to actually get going, I suppose.

I haven’t read the real novel yet, nor seen the film. For those who have, GN1 takes us from Balot’s (I now know that as another egg reference in a book with characters “Shell”, “Oeufcoque”, “Boiled”, and “Easter”, thanks to Hanasaku Iroha) death to the first encounter with Boiled.

In an early flashback, we learn that Rune Balot is a homeless girl who is “rescued” from a freezing park by Shell, an obviously wealthy and powerful man. A few pages later, he kills her, destroying his car with a bomb to destroy the evidence.

All in the first ten pages of the book.

Balot awakens with a new body, a lot of despair, and the ability to manipulate electricity and matter. Her rescuers Oeufcoque and Easter offer to help her get a revenge she’s not interested in, or perhaps they’re asking her to help them apprehend Shell and put a stop to his murder-spree.

Balot uses her power to flee, but Oeufcoque pursues her.

As the book progresses, Oeufcoque, a shape-shifting artificial being, tries many interestingly psychological approaches to teaching Balot how to be human again. He’d make a good therapist, though his first challenge is getting his charge to want to be cured.

The art is great (the style inside is somewhat different from the cover — I’m not even sure it’s the same artist). Balot’s character design often reminds me of Mohiro Kitoh’s (Narutaru, Bokurano) work. At other times I find myself thinking of Battle Angel Alita. The artist handles action-scenes well: lots of dynamism, and one is never confused about what is happening.

Fans of the original Ghost in the Shell movie will take pleasure in the obvious reference to the end of the film as Balot awakens sitting in a chair, seen face-on from across the room.

The Authors (with others, too.)

The Good Old Days

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