By: Usumaru Furuya
Illustrator: Usumaru Furuya
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
An interesting manga with amazing artwork, Genkaku Picasso, Vol. 1 by Usumaru Furuya will defy whatever expectations you might have for it. This can be both good and bad. While having an interesting premise, certain aspects fall a bit short in execution. It is currently available to read in full on the Shonen Jump website for a two dollar a month subscription.
Hikari Hamura is a high schooler referred to as Picasso by his classmates both because of his hobby and a play on words which doesn’t come across well in English. Most afternoons he spends by the riverside with his only real friend, Chiaki. One day the unfathomable happens, and a horrible accident kills both. However, Hikari is given a second chance thanks to Chiaki’s wish. He will be able to continue living, but in exchange he must do good deeds in order to keep his body from rotting away.
While certain aspects of this premise might have been seen before, the consequences of not doing good deeds is a steep one. Picasso’s body begins literally rotting away, and quickly. However, Picasso isn’t very sociable, would rather he didn’t have to bother doing good deeds, and isn’t very good at singling out problems or solving them.
Though this certainly funny, it does begin to stagnate. Each issue is solved by chance, luck, or another person. This might add to the comedic element, but it doesn’t give readers much incentive to like or feel compassion for the protagonist. There was a certain unsatisfying feeling to some of the endings, largely because nothing felt resolved. Instead, there were simply
Some situations which arose throughout the course of the manga were much more mature than initially expected. Readers be warned when reading out in public.
The nature of the manga allows Furuya to play with the art in many ways. Character designs are varied and memorable. But where the art truly shines is through Picasso’s work. Traditional manga style gives way to greater detail and varied style. Some of Picasso’s art is utterly beautiful. Some is surreal and terrifying. All is wonderful.
Genkaku Picasso, Vol. 1 by Usumaru Furuya is the beginning of a three volume manga series with an interesting premise.