Monday, July 20, 2009

A mix of good and bad


Sunday July 19, 2009

A mix of good and bad


Story and art: OGA
Publisher: Gala Ungul Resources; 104 pages
(ISBN: 978-9833882823)
For ages 16+

ILLUSIVE is a locally produced work written and drawn by Ipoh boy OGA. The manga is a collection of 12 horror stories which illustrate the evil of man ... and the unknown. The basic premise reminds me of Kazuo Umezu’s Cat Eyed Boy, one of my favourite manga. Sadly, that is where the similarities end.

The quality of each tale fluctuates. Some, like Madness Whispers – the story of a statue that induces madness – is genuinely intriguing. In contrast, most of the others such as Blood Ties (about a psychically linked murdered twin) are gratuitously grotesque, while a few, like Lake Monster, which revolves around a vengeful lake monster, seem totally pointless with no real substance.

A major flaw of the manga is that it is 104 pages short. With an average of fewer than 10 pages per tale, most of them cannot help but feel incomplete or rushed. This is further underlined by the lack of continuity between the stories. However, I have to commend the few tales that feel whole, even when crammed in a “tight space”.

This manga would definitely have fared better if it dropped all the lacklustre tales and expended on the few good ones.

Although the manga features the same dark, thin-lined and detailed style, the art differs in quality from one panel to another. There are panels where the art is so good that it looks like a screen shot from a high-quality anime while in other panels it looks as if it was drawn by an amateur. It’s almost as if we were witnessing the artist’s mood swings as he drew the manga!

From the language, the manga is unmistakably Malaysian. There are expressions like fuh and “you-know-it-when-you-read-it” Malaysian English.

All in all, Illusive is an average manga with a mix of good, bad and ugly elements – rojak, if you will. Fans of supernatural manga may find the local perspective to be something different. Whether they like it or not is another matter entirely.

No comments: