Like many of the Filipinos, I am surprised our national hero’s story would be told in a format no one expected, Manga. This news got the eye of many of us, even the media who never bothered with these kinds of announcements. But since we are dealing with #pinoypride here, it did cement the manga.club and the neophyte author-writer combo of a nation that takes content into virals. I never heard of manga.club and its service until this came, and it does offer a service that gives authors a venue to earn money and be recognised outside of having a publisher publish their work.
But I’m not going to talk about the people behind all this. We’ll be talking about the manga and what I think about it. Since we are dealing with the first chapter here, there isn’t much concrete to go there besides that aesthetics and the narrative for now. But I’ll try with my thousands of hours of reading manga think about its direction and if this will hit with its target audience, us Filipinos.
Let me start with the art-style. Not exactly a casual reader of shounen Jump would expect. No big expressive eyes, nor flair associated with the genre. It’s not drawn in a Shoujo manner either. So no bubbly eyes or beautiful hair here. It is leaning toward realism associated with seinen. If I were to compare, it is somewhere in the style of I Am A Hero, that Seinen series about a Manga author surviving the Japanese Zombie Apocalypse, but not as detailed as the latter. But it doesn’t mean this series lacks any of it either. It just the panels are mostly close shots and little to now vast scenes to tell. The Spanish house looks decent, but it’s not exactly a benchmark to hold. I can also see that the manga is digitally drawn. I find that common in manwhas but not so much in Mangas. I do know they use them these days, but they don’t recycle their artwork, or at least make look obvious. Here we can already tell that it reused some of its assets like those civil guards line up. It is a cloned from one another. Nothing to gloat about, something I notice right away. The clouds are probably photos filter to blend in the panel etc.
That is fine, and it speeds things up in making the series. It is a weekly thing after all, and given the audience are one of the most impatient nations on the planet, they would like to be entertained continuously. There’s a reason why Probinsiyano and those silly soaps air five times a week.
As for the narrative, I like the way they start things up. They start that the end and work their way from there. The cold open of him being executed in Luneta, which we all know (to us Filipinos) would happen is not exactly a spoiler. But it does provide a point to start the story. Why are there and how do we get there. Then from that, it should work its way into the history of our hero’s struggles and triumphs. I am not sure if we are going to go back and forth witht he events. From the beginning and then deal with the aftermath. It was the time where the Katipunans are in full-swing and if the authors will be bothered to cover at least the few bits of the Philippine Revolition. We’ll just have to wait and see.