[RE-REVIEW] After School Charisma – Volumes 1 & 2


asc1  asc2

Title: Afterschool Charisma
Volume(s): 1, 2
Creator(s): Kumiko Suekane
Genre: I don’t know!
Rating: Older Teen
Publisher: VIZ Media (Viz Signature Imprint)
Where to Buy:
Volume 1 – VIZ Listings
Volume 2 – VIZ Listings

Once I had my boys’ love manga explosion of interest, it was hard for me to even look at anything else with interest. If it wasn’t about two beautiful boys falling in love, I just didn’t really care. My purchasing of regular old shoujo and shounen series went down drastically, probably picking up one for every 10 BL books.

Of course, that’s not to say that there wasn’t some non-BL manga that caught my interest. Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, Bunny Drops, and Afterschool Charisma are among those series that managed to catch my interest.

Summary

Shiro Kamiya is the only non-clone attending St. Kleio Academy, most likely due to his father working there. The school is full of clones of famous people, including Elizabeth I, Napoleon, and Hitler. Shiro is accepted by some of the student body, but not by others. There’s a group of assassins set out to kill all the clones and no one seems to know why.

Original Thoughts

The concept of a school of clones of famous people seemed interesting enough to pick up and read the book. The clone versions of each historical figure seemed interesting. After completing volume 1, I couldn’t wait to read volume 2! The storyline was just interesting and I wanted to know what the heck was going on with the assassins. Of course, by the time I bought volume 2, I was already onto another series.

New Thoughts

I was slightly hesitant about reading this series again. I was afraid it was going to be one of those manga where I read it once and thought it was absolutely fantastic, but then I read it again and wonder why I thought it was so great the first time. I was wondering if it was a waste to buy the second volume.

I’m very pleased I was wrong.

I’m not pleased that the book has struck me somewhere and I now want to read all the books available in the series and I don’t own them, nor do I currently have enough room on my top shelf for them, which means I’ll need to reorganize my bookshelf again if I buy them. Whoopie.

The concept of a school of clones still is interesting to me and, quite frankly, Kumiko Suekane does a rather great job with it. Okay, sure, I can’t see how some of these clones are like their originals (was Florence Nightingale really that feminine?), but at the same time, the clones aren’t the originals and haven’t developed like the originals. They’re probably meant to be the same only in physical form, not anywhere else.

My heart broke for the Marie Curie clone in the beginning of the story, in the few flashbacks provided throughout the chapters. I just knew something good wasn’t going to happen to her, going off her path of being greater than the original. I’m currently guessing she was killed, but I’m still hoping that the Marie Curie we were introduced to in the beginning of the story is still alive somewhere.

I really like the main reoccuring characters a lot – Napoleon, Ikkyu, Freud, Hitler, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, and Florence. Crazy man Mozart seems to be appearing quite a bit too. Ah, poor Mozart. I’m pretty sure he’s acting up because he can’t produce music right away.

Volume 2 almost didn’t feel as strong as the first volume, but did introduce an interesting character- Rockswell, the headmaster of the school. Who is a crazy ignorant moron. I kept cringing when he’s like “oh, they’re just clones” and “we’re different from them” and “I don’t understand them, they’re strange” because it’s such a reflection of the way humans think about everything. If humans perceive something as “different” from them, they will point that out, emphasis it (as well as them not caring), and claim to not understand…when they could sympathize if they just took a step back and realized that they’re not different. There’s too much of a “ME V.S. THEM” mentality.

Honestly, no wonder everybody in the book wanted Rockswell to be shot. I wanted him to be too.

The guy looks like he belongs to the mafia or something. Well, like a host in Japan. Not the headmaster of a prestige school of clones.

The main character, Shiro Kamiya, is a bit on the more boring side. Currently, I don’t really care much for him as I do the other characters, but I do think he works well as a link between the reader and them.

The artwork of the manga is actually really nicely done. The tone usage works well with Suekane’s style, which includes “pupilless eyes”. The mood of the scenes are generally well reflected, though occasionally the eye style does make it a bit confusing to tell if the character is going crazy or not.

I’m currently wishing I had volumes 3 to 7 right now. The ending of the second volume left off with a pretty intense cliff hanger and it’s currently distracting me. It’s not enough to make me daydream, but it sure as heck is enough to make anything else I read feel pale in comparison. I tried starting Alcohol, Shirt, & Kiss and it was hard to even form a good opinion on the bit that I already read…

So yeah, I have to definitely recommend this series. I hope I can get more volumes in the future!

Next up, Alcohol, Shirt, & Kiss. Yeeeep, more boys’ love. Expect those to be posted for the while. Most of my “large manga” collection of it.