OPUS contains the mastery of both realism and surrealism that would make Kon famous in Perfect Blue, as a manga artist becomes drawn into his own work and realizes the deadline he's up against is to stop a vicious serial killer before he can spill more innocent blood--not merely ink!
Source: Dark Horse
Even the best storytellers tend to have a certain type of story they specialize in telling over all others. George Lucas was at his best when making films that relied on fun, emotions, adventure, and didn't take themselves too seriously. Miyazaki has a trademark of strong female leads coupled with environmental and anti-war themes. There's a reason Alfred Hitchcock concentrated on tense thrillers, not gushy romances. Satoshi Kon excelled in telling stories where the lines between fiction and reality got extremely blurry, and this early manga by him is no exception. But does it stand up to his later efforts in film?STORY What if the greatest critic of your story was the character you chose to kill off in the shocking twist ending? When a mangaka finds himself stuck inside his own creation, trying to recover the last page of his graphic novel from a character trying to change the ending, he assumes he's cracked up under deadline pressure. But as events unfold, he begins losing his certainty that this is all in his head. And while the writer is supposed to be the god the story, it turns out not everyone in his story is happy with how he's running their universe. This plot runs on 'rule-of-cool' and a great deal of meta humor. It makes occasional stabs at the nature of God and a handful of other themes, but never really drives them home. The action, thrills, and 'inside a manga' setting are the core of the story. The ending is... well it's a meta-twist, which is perhaps the most fitting way to end a story like this, but be prepared for something non-traditional. The trippy, corkscrewing plot is the highlight of this manga. ART Another strong showing, with its fair share of crazy visuals befitting a mind-screwer like this one. Background quality can vary from scene to scene, although this is actually worked into the story at times, such as when our Main Character ends up running into the background scenery and crowds- or when a certain building must be important because it was drawn in high detail. The character designs are decent, but nothing truly unique or memorable. Page composition is solid, I had little trouble following the sequence of events. CHARACTERS Alas, only a serviceable showing in this department. Given that this is a one volume action-heavy manga there are certain limits that need to be placed on expectations for character depth, but there is enough space that a little more might have been done to characterize and develop the main cast. They largely stick to their archetypes and don't do anything too far out of the ordinary. The main villain has hints of greater potential, with implications that our MC created him not just as a cool character, but to subconsciously indulge negative aspects of his personality. Unfortunately, that subplot is introduced too late for proper exploration. The characters just do their job here. OVERALL Not his best work, but Satoshi Kon delivers a fun ride and a strong showing in 'Opus'. Fans of his later works will definitely be interested. Heck, fans of 'Bakuman' looking for something a bit more mature just might like this too. The average anime/manga fan should definitely consider giving this manga a shot, but it isn't quite good enough for me to give it a 'drop everything' reccommendation.
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