Doh! For some reason, I had no idea the other-worldly adventures of the Picasso/Chiaki dynamic duo [pocket-angel Chiaki directs the surviving Picasso towards doing good deeds for his fellow students] was a trilogy. I figured on a few more years of diving into secret sketches since high school lasts at least that long. Alas, we’re lucky to get even three installments because, according to creator Usamaru Furuya in his “Afterword” at series end, “This story was planned to end after eight issues [in serialized format], or two volumes, but I wouldn’t have been able to pull it all together that way, so I got to do three volumes.” He adds, “Each volume is thick, though, so it’s more like there are four! Each one’s a good value! Ha ha ha!”
Those valuable life-saving exploits in volume 2 include relieving the school’s star pitcher’s competitive angst disguised as girl problems, getting over debilitating mean-girl trauma leftover from an early age, revealing one’s true self regardless of outward appearances, and holding on to dreams even when the Simon Cowell-wannabes try to shatter your soul.
In volume 3, Picasso comes to the rescue of a former classmate who dropped out because his’ loving’ Tiger Mother whittled him down to almost nothing (parents take note, ahem), then saves a friend feeling betrayed by unrequited love from making a dangerous mistake.
Then (finally) in the second half of volume 3, it’s Picasso’s turn for some revealing sketches. Picasso’s closer friends finally begin to wonder how he knows so much about their lives. Questions, then accusations fly, sending Picasso off on a soul-search of his own … and Chiaki must guide him through one more challenging adventure. Jaded old reader that I am, I confess to getting completely blurry over the last 20 pages …
Tidbit: Hopefully this post comes just in time to be part of the Usamaru Furuya Manga Moveable Feast which ends today. I didn’t know such a fabulous effort existed until I posted Furuya’s No Longer Human (vols. 1-2) [markedly different from his Genkaku trilogy, by the way], which serendipitously got included in said Feast’s Archive. The Furuya Feast, hosted by fellow manga addict Ash Brown of Experiments in Manga, is just the latest in the Manga Moveable Feast [MMF] series founded by Kate Dacey of The Manga Critic in February 2010. To learn more about MMF, click here. Luddite that I am, I’m joining in a little late, but the adage ‘better late than never’ sure applies here! What an inspiring manga community I’ve stumbled into … addicts unite!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2011 (United States)
GENKAKU PICASSO © Usamaru Furuya
Original Japanese edition published by Shueisha Inc.