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In the never-ending search for something on the same level as Death Note, it occurred to me that I have been overlooking manga. Knowing even less about it than anime, the recommendation system here was once again of great help. Or so I thought. Since everyone who has read this is aware it is firmly entrenched in the not-on-the-same-level-as-DN camp.
It starts well enough. And it's short, so not many lame things happen. And the ending is not as bad. That's it. Even when factoring in the shortness (ie, lack of time for character development), Kuonji is just piss-weak. Not to mention he should have been a she, judging by appearance. Everyone else is uninteresting. If there was more time, then perhaps Hiyama's helpers might have been developed in an interesting direction (or any direction at all).
Same goes for Hiyama, really. Raise your hand if you divined his true purpose. He wants to remove "weakness", but at the same time, control people. Because they need him. And this contradiction (or rather, his overconfidence in the strength of his hypnosis) brings about his downfall. At the same time, he helped Sonoyama achieve "true strength", and presumably did the same to everyone else, minus the carve-this-symbol-into-your-flesh (mark of the beast much?) routine. And he rather pointlessly kills some people, with more on the way. Mostly politicians, but unfortunately not only them. And there's the plan to destroy all the "old" buildings. At the same time, the people who refuse the brave new world are merely expelled from the country. It just feels pointless. Unfinished. Half-baked.
Not to mention his rivalry with Kuonji is very lame, and not just because Kuonji is hopeless. You see, unlike L, Kuonji would have been pretty easy to whack - hypnotize a policeman, tell him to shoot the fucker. Casualties: 1. No need to kill schoolmates or random people (Kuonji's patients, the guy who jumps off the roof).
The ending is ambiguous, but I'm not sure to what extent does it matter. As a side-effect, some of the characters decide to become stronger or even try to change the world a little bit. But this is a side-effect of Hiyama's failure, not success. I'm not sure how should the panel showing him from behind be interpreted - he is alive or his legacy (spirit? whatever) looms over the people? I'd prefer to believe he's alive and hatching a more intelligent plot somewhere.
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