This manga focuses on the ways that humans can be petty and spiteful and cruel, and how parents can be neglectful and abusive to their children. The story mainly follows Shizuka, Marina, and Azuma--who all three have stressful situations at home which lead to varying degrees of unhappiness and rippling problems. One recurring theme is the idea of people living in denial.
Takopi is, like, the epitome of blissful ignorance. And that ignorance is the source of most of the humor within the series, since Takopi doesn't really know what's going on and will sometimes misinterpret some pretty dark shit in idealistic ways. In a way, this manga is also a critique of surface-level distractions or attempts to pacify people that don't actually help fix the root problems. The ultimate moral of the story is that "talking brings happiness," though I'm not sure why the author felt the need to include an ultimate moral of any kind.
The sacrifice which Takopi made in the final chapter didn't hit me all that hard and largely just felt like the author was trying to make things more melodramatic and intense for the ending. Plus it didn't make much sense that the people would then have, like, residual memories of Takopi or something--which is honestly what the entire ending hinges on.
HUGE SPOILERS FOR TAKOPI'S ORIGINAL SIN [ONLY READ IF YOU READ IT ALREADY OR JUST DON'T CARE]
Takopi's Original Sin is a VERY depressing manga. But it's also a deeply touching one.
Takopi's Original Sin's biggest strength is its story in my opinion. It has an amazing premise that could catch the eye of anyone looking anyone browsing, great plot twists, and a very concise story. Aside from the brilliant premise, how the story goes is also brilliant. A lot of shocking things happen in this story that going in, I never could have guessed. Like Takopi killing Marina, how twisted Shizuka became near the end of the story and how sympathetic Marina became, and even the namesake itself Takopi's Original Sin being a refrence to Takopi's original sin being trying to killing Shizuka for Marina. My jaw dropped when I realized what the title meant. The manga has a lot of moments like that and it also uses its distrubing and shocking events to further illustrate what a fucked up situation each of these characters are trapped in. Twisted forces outside their control. The last story related thing I'm going to talk about is the ending. I can see the ending not being very conclusive for some, but for me it was really touching. The sentiment of how lonely all these characters are and how even though Takopi can't do much to twist the forces outside their control, he can make it so that they're not so lonely anymore. I found that sweet. Also older Shizuka and Marina actually becoming friends was really wholesome and was just the bittersweet ending the series needed to tie it all together.
The art for Takopi's Original Sin is very rough which really suits the kind of story being told here. It also allows for some really great expressions. When the characters cry (like the covers for instance), you really feel that shit. The art has a sort of dark tone to it as well which also really suits the series. It also looks really unique compared to other manga. I also really like the more simplistic style for Takopi which makes him stand out from the human characters. Anyway the art really propels this manga with how much it suits the story and I wouldn't have the art any other way.
The characters in Takopi's Original Sin are also really complex.
At first Shizuka just seems like a sad kid who needs help but is overall a good person. But then later on in the story there's a more sinister side to her as she tries to pin Marina's murder on Azuma, wanted to "check inside people's bellies" for her dog (I don't know what checking inside people's bellies means, but it CANNOT be good), started hurting Takopi and even in another timeline stole Azuma from Marina. And of course, this got my monke brain confused. Is she good or bad? But in the words of Azuma, "everyone has their good and bad points." Which is something that I think beautifully encapsulates the characters in this manga. They're all human. And Shizuka is a great character, who even though she's mostly just sad girl is also weirdly kinda psychopathic. Her reaction to Takopi killing Marina says it all. But I love it.
Takopi is a great lens to view the series because as he's naive and doesn't know much about the world, seeing him change and develop to become less naive and more emotionally smart was great. He's also really supportive and kind. I wish I had a Takopi in my life.
Marina is a huge bitch. She bullies Shizuka mercilessly and I thought, she has absolutely no chance for redemption. And when they showed why she does the things she does (of course this doesn't excuse her actions) I was not willing to sympathize with or forgive her. But then the series slowly made me sympathize with her. Especially high school Marina. You really get to see just how alone she truly is and how messed up her situation is. So when the series gave her a happy ending I was glad. Also when Takopi killed her I was like "DAMN I HATE HER BUT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO GO THAT FAR."
Azuma is a surprisingly relatable character. His need to be recognized by his mother and being overshadowed by his older brother was played to the utmost extreme. Just enough to make me really feel for him. And his brother is amazing too. You expect him to be one note and just be a jerk but no he's just a good guy. And that was refreshing. And Azuma's speech about people having good and bad points and him having fun and being friends with Shizuka and Takopi was phenomenal.
Those are really all the characters I wanted to talk about. This manga has really strong characters who are multi dimensional and human above all else.
Overall, Takopi's Original Sin is an absolutely brillaint manga with an amazing story, great art that suits the series extremely well, and multi-dimensional characters who you can empathize and feel for. It also has amazing emotional moments even making me cry (the ending). This was an amazing short manga to read and it truly is something special.