This was definitely a very weird manga, which I started reading because I saw someone talk about it on the forums. There are warnings for the gore in this manga, but I don't particularly mind gore-scenes. What does make my stomach get upset is some of the twisted things that happen in these stories (yes, stories. It's really a collection of short stories, that are mostly unrelated).
So the manga follows Fran Madaraki, a girl that has been altered by professor Madaraki, and who has some impossible medical skills. She can turn you into anything you want (or don't want), raise the dead, switch heads, switch brains, and much more. The entire series depicts her experiments ("for the glory of science"), most of which don't end too well. There are some nice endings too though.
My main issue is that, although there is some consistency in the chapters, and some characters return for a second or even a third chapter, there is no real greater plot. I mainly like episodic manga less because most short stories are, well, too short and thus not elaborate enough. In this case it was quite OK for my tastes though:the pacing of the stories was good, and they were all interesting.
story 8/10 (although varying between 5/10 and 9/10, I'd give it an overall score of 8/10)
The artwork always looked really nice, especially for gorescenes. I also like the characterdesigns for the main cast and the "monsters", but 1 problem is (as Brainblow indicated in his review) that the eyes of lots of characters are the same, and that there aren't all that much different facial expressions. Still, it all looked nice (or creepy, depending on the circumstances).
The characters-section also feels somewhat lacking, as most main characters have almost no background. We know that they're all somehow related to the professor (who never actually appears), but that's all we know about them.
Still, there are lots of loveable characters in the main cast. For the "guest appearances" we have really stupid/annoying characters, weirdos, nice people, idiots,... There is a huge variety of characters, which is nice, but because these are short stories we don't get to know that much about them.
This is a really dark/twisted manga, with a lot of gore and other weird scenes. I wouldn't call it a must-read, but it's a good read.
Definitely something to read while eating ;D
Franken Fran is definetly one of my favorite mangas. It's funny, twisted, and just absolutely delightful if you like black comedy. The story has no definite plot, a plus in my opinion, because lots of mangas get do divulged in their plots, the originality and flavor of it is lost. The humor varies, outrageous at times, subtle at others, but always good. As for gore, if you have a problem standing black-and-white gore that is drawn, then you will not be too crazy about reading this. All-in-all, it's worth reading. I'm so glad I found out about it, and I bet you will be too.
Lets just make this perfectly clear: I am not amongst the faint of heart. I do not get sick upon the sight of animals that are torn open, I do not feel like fainting at the sight of blood, I giggled during a tour at a slaughterhouse, but I went to take a hot shower after reading Franken Fran.
I already have to tell you, the reader, that this manga is extremely taste based. Many people have backed off from this manga due to gore alone and have barely made it past 3 chapters. If you can't handle huge loads of blood and gore then reading through this manga will be like dragging your brain through a meat grinder. But hey, you are ready to do that in order to get a taste of this bloody horror comedy, right?
If you thought that Elfen Lied, Higurashi or Hellsing was too gory for you then don't even bother reading Franken Fran. Katsuhia Kigitsu is obviously someone who doesn't put too big leashes on his creativity during work, as we clearly can see in Franken Fran.
The story generally lacks because of the lack of plot development. You keep asking yourself questions like "when is the professor going to return and give us some plot?" and I was often puzzled over why so many characters were turned into freaks of nature to an unnecessary length. Like, why did Adorea get an Organ extracting tentacle-face when the professor revived her from death? Was the ability to consume and store bodies necessary for her revival? Why does Fran and Veronica have more visible stitches than most of the other freaks and what are those BUBBLES which are almost constantly hanging over Fran's head!? The electrodes you ask? Who cares?
Each chapter usually has its own unique story that usually results in people being turned into freaks of nature. You have three types of endings: Good, bad and weird. There are probably like 3-5 good endings, 5-10 "bad" and the rest are weird endings. Many of the chapters raises questions to subjects like cloning, value of life, plastic surgery, scientific progress, gene mixing, etc.
The art looks good. Characters tend to be well-detailed, especially on the gory parts. But it strikes me that there is no, nix, nada, nej, nein, njet, non difference between characters when it comes to the eyes. You have those shiny, big eyes in every character and not one is unique. The annoying lack of facial expression is also there. You have the passive look and then you have the terrified look. That is pretty much it and it really drags part of the soul out of every character. Sometimes the eyes and certain features of characters, usually in the background, simply disappears and is replaced by white.
When it comes to the characters then there is some lack indeed. We barely get to know anything about any character's background and we are still unknowing of who Fran used to be before the professor operated on(apparently revived) her. There is one extra-chapter that deals with Adorea's past and it was highly enjoyable and it is somewhat frustrating that we don't get to know more about the past of other characters.
In the end it is a very satisfying series despite a few chapters where a utter lack of logic drags the reader experience down. You should not read it if you are faint of heart or can't stand excessive amounts of gore.
And yes, the comparison have already been made: