So, I actually finished that Christian manga series that I talked about waaaay back on June 2nd, at the beginning of this storyline. Wow, this one has been going on for a while, huh?
Anyway, I was curious to see how it would play out. Will the main character leave behind her wild, hedonistic life of implied sexual debauchery and drug use that we never actually see, and become a Christian? The answer is a big ‘a-DUH’, but at least her personality doesn’t reverse completely. In fact, the moral of the last book is “just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you have to wear drab, floor-length dresses and rinse your blue hair* back to being Mouse-Brown #5.”
The artwork take a HUGE leap forward in the later books and actually becomes somewhat stylish, with real backgrounds, unlike the lazy gradients I try to get away with these days. Yeah, there’s still some questionable stuff, like the reappearance of the Strawfeminist Boogeyteacher to rant about ‘oppressed womyn!’ (has any actual feminist ever used that spelling, or is it one of those things like ‘vertically challenged’ that were satire from the get-go?) and the ninth book’s “Hey teenagers! Throw away your condoms!” moral, but somehow I just can’t help but find it charming. Possibly because it’s up against competition like Psalty The Singing Songbook. I guess basically all you have to do to win my approval is show up after I’ve seen something horrible and be kind of cute and not that bad, which leads me to believe I should be on the Nobel Peace Prize committee. Ba-zing!
So, the conclusion. The last four books go really fast, because half of each is actually a “movie” made by the main characters, in a variety of genres. They’re a sort of half-assed Star Trek spoof (sounds familiar…), a disaster movie about a collapsing mall, a Biblical epic (the only one of the four with any overt religious content at all, oddly), and … an actually genuinely creepy variation on Frankenstein that ends on a chilling, ambiguous note and is better than a lot of real horror comics. (It then spoils the effect with a goofy cartoon spider in sunglasses. Seriously. AND THAT’S THE VERY END OF THE WHOLE ENTIRE SERIES.)
I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated that certain plot points were dangled in front of we, the audience, and then never addressed. One character takes time out of a completely unrelated plotline to berate himself in inner monologue for being a fat loser that no girl will ever like. It never comes up again.
Then there’s the far more interesting case of Lori, the ‘athletic’ girl. In a couple instances we get absolutely out-of-the-blue glimpses into her thoughts that are never followed up on. During a discussion of how God sometimes doesn’t do everything you ask, she thinks “like taking away those feelings.” Later on, she tells the protagonist that she can talk with her parents about anything, and innerly shouts “Liar!”. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I’m pretty sure she’s supposed to be gay. What with the sports and all. Plus, she seems to have this weird more-than-friends vibe going on with the main character. Nothing ever happens with this either, and given where it would almost certainly go I guess I should be happy that it decided to stay cute and largely inoffensive. Maybe they wanted to do more, but these are for teenagers after all, and I get the idea they knew which side their bread was buttered on, generational-attitude-shift-wise.
*Apparently, she was dyeing it all along. Given that it’s supposed to be manga, I always figured she was a natural blue.