Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa Manga Quarterly Review 2
I really don’t want to hop on the bandwagon. The thing is, I was the first person in all of the blogs I read to write a post about Harisugawa, or, in fact, to write three posts about Harisugawa. So I’m not the one hopping on the bandwagon. I was always on the bandwagon.
It’s hard to break out of old blogging habits.
Everything changes slowly, and with time. Before, my posts were lengthened summaries (an oxymoron) of the manga, and nobody wanted to read them. Then, eventually, they changed to be more about my thoughts about the manga, and nobody wanted to read them. After a while, they changed to be more humorous and entirely unrelated to the manga, and nobody wanted to read them. But through all of these, one thing has stayed in common: I structure my posts around my images.
Yes, my images. I place my images in my post first, and then fill the gaps up with words. Sometimes, I swap the pictures around a bit to make the post a bit more coherent, but generally, images go before words. This is why, in none of my recent (read: a year ago) posts, you never see several images in succession followed by a long wall of words. It’s always either images and words mixed well together, or an image followed by a long wall of text.
What am I saying? I’m saying that I’m writing this post in class, and as I’m writing this post in class, I don’t actually have access to my images for this post. So, I’m writing this post with words first, and then filling the gaps up with images.
Not that it’s going to make much of a difference.
The thing about putting images first is that I group my notes of similar concepts together into those gaps, and then write the post. But without images, I don’t have the same motivation to group concepts together, so I’m just going to talk about a primordial soup-like mess of random ideas.
Harisugawa may be an ironic satire on modern social relationships. For example, teenagers typically fear confessing to their crush for fear of rejection, and because they don’t want to possibly lose a friend. Harisugawa takes this concept to the illogical extreme, so that if his confession fails, he, uh… dies. Is this supposed to illustrate the intense pressure on teenagers’ love confessions, or is this supposed to illustrate how stupid this line of thinking is? WE MAY NEVER KNOW.
Whatever the author’s trying to say, he’s not saying it well. I think he should learn from wells off the coast of Finland, because they write manga better than he does. Ever since he’s been at the bottom of the Jump rankings (that’s since chapter 16), his writing has gotten progressively worse and worse.
It’s a vicious cycle – at the beginning, Harisugawa might have been an aggressive attempt at an ironic manga, but only people who like ironic mangas would read Harisugawa. Thus, the others who don’t like ironic mangas won’t read Harisugawa, and as its ranking drops, the only thing the author can do is to try to appeal to those who don’t like ironic mangas. But by doing that, he alienates the people who like ironic mangas, dropping his ranking even more and forcing him to appeal even more to those who don’t like ironic mangas. But those people won’t read Harisugawa, because they decided it was too ironic at the beginning, and thus, not only does its ranking in Jump drop more and more, but its writing becomes worse and worse.
tl;dr: What I’m saying is, Harisugawa started out as an ironic satire, but now, it’s just a normal Jump manga, and if it continues as it is, it’ll soon happen to, eh, ABSOLUTELY SUCK.
Harisugawa’s a pretty boring thing, really. It’s a one-trick pony. A guy can only love so many girls – unlike Kaminomi, where Keima’s main goal is to seduce girls, Harisugawa actually has to love them. Which can’t continue on for very long – either he gets rejected and dies, or he confesses and escapes from the mirror. Pretty tough being him.
Thankfully, Harisugawa is very close to finishing. Even if the author isn’t planning to finish it soon, Jump will undoubtedly cancel it because, y’know, if they don’t, Harisugawa will continue on and soon start to ABSOLUTELY SUCK. If it continues on after this à la Bleach (by the way, that also ABSOLUTELY SUCKS) with some sort of lame new plotline that comes out of nowhere, I’m just going to give up blogging and start a career testing the texture of lollipops instead. Cause, y’know, you SUCK lollipops. Hahaha.
I’m not all mean words though; the one trick Harisugawa’s got is a pretty good one, especially after they added the ‘after you break the curse, they won’t love you anymore’ clause. That made the last few chapters much more emotional than they would’ve been otherwise, starkly contrasting with the rather lame settings of previous chapters. As long as they keep to this and end the manga earlier, Harisugawa will actually be a decent manga, and will not ABSOLUTELY SUCK. It’s a sunken ship, anyways – better just for the mangaka to try his luck on a new piece.
tl;dr: What I’m saying is, Harisugawa only has one main concept, and it’s better sticking to that one concept and ending early than stretching itself on forever on points that come out of nowhere and make itself ABSOLUTELY SUCK.
There really is a difference between weekly and monthly serialized manga. Authors can prepare much more consistently for monthly serialized manga, while they’re subject to the whims of popular opinion in weekly serialized manga. If the people don’t like your manga one week, you better make it more exciting immediately, whereas if people don’t like your manga one month, you’ve got lots of time to prepare. You can see that Harisugawa’s negatively affected by these ‘excitement points’, plot points brought in only to increase the popularity of a manga. Since popularity is a fickle thing, these excitement points always come out of nowhere – things like Matsukawa’s emotions, Satomi going to America (subverted when it was only her parents), and new characters who never appear again.
At the end, it’s not because Harisugawa’s concept sucks that it ABSOLUTELY SUCKS, nor is it because Harisugawa’s mangaka sucks that it ABSOLUTELY SUCKS. It’s because the mangaka can’t handle the proper use of excitement points, not only to please the audience, but also to create a coherent storyline. It’s also because the original concept is so narrow that it can’t be extended; and yet, the mangaka wants to extend it. This story really didn’t even need to be 26 chapters long. It could’ve ended on chapter 13 if unnecessary parts were taken out. Each chapter would’ve been nice and compact, and maybe then, Harisugawa might have been a great manga!
But he didn’t.
The author’s trying to revive a dead horse.
I’ve been using too many metaphors today.
tl;dr: What I’m saying is, Harisugawa should end. Now. Immediately. If it does, it’ll be a good manga. If it doesn’t, it’ll ABSOLUTELY SUCK.
P.S. My writing really hasn’t changed, has it? Haha.