Nagisa Yamada is a bored teenager who finds everyday life extremely unappealing - thus she plans on joining a Military School as soon as possible. A strange new student named Umino Mokuzu (who claims to be a mermaid) transfers into Nagisa's school and, much to our heroine's bewilderment, soon begins to follow her around incessantly. Initially, an annoyed and discomfited Nagisa strives to avoid any encounters with Mokuzu. But she soon begins to comprehend the pain and sadness concealed beneath this strange girl's cheerful and carefree demeanour...
Lollypop or a Bullet. The manga that poetically ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and then gracefully spit on it. I went into this certain manga blindly and after finishing this short gem I am left in a puddle of melancholy. Lollypop or a Bullet tells the story of an eccentric exchange student named Mokuzu wanting to become our main character Yamada's friend. Mokuzu is known for being strange, constantly spouting lies about her being a mermaid or rambling on about nonsensical things. Yamada at first is taken aback by her strange and idealistic behavior, Yamada being a firm realist. Or one that believes in real bullets not ones made of sugar. But she soon finds herself attracted to Mokuzu's whimsical nature, even after all the odd unexplainable occurences that happen from and around her. As you can tell in the tags this particular manga is a tragedy. One tragedy that is a heart wrenchingly beautiful allegory for the harsh reality of life and the confection covered paradise of escapism. The sweet lies in a form of a candy bullet, usesless, innocent, and as so harmless. Only real bullets can pierce flesh. And that's what essentially encaspulates this manga. The crossfire of candy and silver bullets. Since this is quite a short manga, only being thirteen chapters long, I didn't expect much of it's characters or plot. To restate what I said earlier I went in blind with no high hopes. My expectations were blew away. I enjoyed reading this manga so much, the whole thirty minutes it took me to finish it. Every chapter was crafted with a sense of mystique and uncanny-ness from the contrast of the cryptic dialgoue and the cute children. There was always a underlying sense of doom that compelled me to turn each page. I can truly say this manga captivated me, for better or for worse because of how sad it is. The two main characters Mokuzu and Yamada are crafted with complexity despite the length of this manga. After skimming over it to write this review I picked up so many things I missed- or should I say warning signs I missed when reading it the first time around. I realized the subtle tell tale hints that were made to build up the characters. When they felt fustrated, sad, angry, or hopeless I could practically feel it oozing out of the page. This is with the help of the wonderfully gorgeous and hyper delicate looking art. The characters have big eyes, small features, lanky appendages, pure faces, and most of all, an aura of despair. Despite the very beautiful and surface level design there exists a formulated tone to these innocent looking drawings. One that can be bended at will during certain scenes. The still panels with no dialogue plastered on them were the most heavy hitting ones. You could quite honestly feel what that panel was trying to convey to you. I haven't cried over a manga in a little bit so for this manga to make me ugly cry was an achievement. I found myself stuck. I love this manga but hate it for it's gut wrenching subject matter. Though this is what makes this short manga what it is. Lollypop or a Bullet excels at drawing you in from this subject matter and keeping you in. The pacing was perfect and the buildups were even better. As the mysteries around infamous Mokuzu unravel the more shocking and heartbreaking it is. I'm not going to spoil it for you even though it's mildly predictable because of the synopsis and tags, but once you realize why she did some of the things she did it blows your mind. The themes intertwine seamlessly with events and tone making me even more sad. But even through my sadness I have to appreciate the creativity and genius behind the metaphorical candy bullet and real bullet. I extremely recommend this manga. It's tragically beautiful.
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