Genkaku Picasso Vol. 2 by Usamaru Furuya (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 13, 2011 by  

Enjoyable and just a manga that is ultimately fun to read, “Genkaku Picasso” by Usamaru Furuya is a manga series for those who want nothing too dark or too serious.  It’s just right!

© 2008 Usamaru Furuya. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Genkaku Picasso Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Usamaru Furuya (古屋兎丸)


PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga


RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2011


Suddenly the world around Hikari has gotten so much more complicated. Hikari finds that with every new sketch comes a new mystery. With Chiaki’s help, will he be able to solve them before it’s too late?

Enjoyable and just a manga that is ultimately fun to read, “Genkaku Picasso” by Usamaru Furuya is a manga series for those who want nothing too dark or too serious.  It’s just right!

Usamaru Furuya, the mangaka known for various stories such as “Palepoli”, “Short Cuts”, “Garden”, “Kanojo wo Mamoru 51 no Hoho” and “Tokyo Magnitude 8.0” has a new manga series currently available from Viz Media titled “Genkaku Picasso”.

The story revolves around two teenagers: Hikari “Picasso” Hamura is an introverted, creepy aspiring artist and Chiaki Yamamoto, a vibrant, popular teenager who knows a lot about psychology.  Both teens were involved in an accident and while Hikari lived, Chiaki didn’t.  But interesting thing is that after their accident, Chiaki still exists but only in Hikari’s mind.

Also, Hikari has been gifted with a special ability and that is to see the darkness within people and giving him special illustrating powers to draw what he saw and help the individual clear that darkness by entering his sketchbook.

But for someone as introverted like Hikari, he doesn’t want to help anyone…but Chiaki tells him that if he doesn’t help a person each day, his body will rot and like her, he will be dead.

So together, they must help someone each day.

Here is a brief spoiler-less summary of each chapter of “Genkaku Picasso Vol. 2”:

  • Vision 5: Ota’s Girlfriend – Sugiura’s friend Ota has a girlfriend, but when Picasso and Chiaki sense something strange with Ota, they checked to see what is wrong.
  • Vision 6: Kotone and Arengurion Part 1 – Kotone Ogura is an honor student who loves “Arengurion”, so does Manba, who also seems to like Kotone.  But when Manba professes his love for her, something bad happens.
  • Vision 6: Kotone and Arengurion Part 2 – Picasso and Chiaki delve into Kotone’s past and see why she can’t date Manba.
  • Vision 7: Hishida’s Holy War Part 1 – Sugiura’s friend Hishida (a guy that Chiaki liked) is giving off some negative energy, what is wrong with him?
  • Vision 7: Hishida’s Holy War Part 2 – When Picasso and Chiaki delve into the illustration, they see Joan of Arc.  Why is that?
  • Vision 8: Borise World and Moe Part 1 – Moe invites both Sugiura and Akane along with Picasso to Borise World, Picasso’s first visit to the theme park.
  • Vision 8: Borise World and Moe Part 2 – Picasso and Chiaki delve into the illustration to learn about Moe’s fear and hatred.
  • Genkaku Picasso Extra: Hikari Hamura’s Illustrated Tales – A summary of the people that Picasso and Chiaki have helped, but told in his own illustrated tale.
  • Picasso and Chiaki’s Advice Corner – Picasso and Chiaki answer letters from readers.

“Genkaku Picasso” was a blast to read!  While it’s not a deep storyline, one thing that does stand out is Usamaru Furuya’s illustrations.  You can tell that Usamaru tries to find a balance with his creative talent with his art sketches and his manga illustration and manages to find that right balance.

But it’s the storyline that is quite fun as well as Hikari “Picasso” Hamura is seen as a creepy individual but in fact, it’s because he is communicating with Chiaki and when he goes into the illustrations to help people, he is left unconscious and thus, is looked at his classmates as really strange.

The thing is that Picasso is a pretty interesting otaku who loves to draw, intensely to the point that his focus is undeterred. And because he is an introvert, it’s an interesting mismatch when you have Chiaki, who is so unlike him, helping out Picasso and seeing these two at work.

So far, the storylines have focused primarily on classmates and probably that is all that needs to be done for now.  Typically when you read a manga, there is some undercurrent theme, another storyline being presented while the protagonists or a case/problem is being solved with each chapter.  In this case, there isn’t.  It’s a straightforward manga series thus far but it’s actually quite fun to read because Usamaru comes up with quite a few clever storylines.  For “Hishida’s Holy War”, the story revolves around a teen who has a Gender Identity Disorder, which is something you hear quite a bit in Japan as a few talent and popular singers have been showcased of having, but in the U.S., it’s something that is not as publicly discussed.  So, it was quite interesting to see this featured in this latest volume and how it was handled.

Overall, “Genkaku Picasso” is a pretty cool manga series and because there are only three volumes, it’s quite accessible and not too long of a series to follow.  If you are looking for an enjoyable manga series that is not too deep, not too dark but just right, definitely give “Genkaku Picasso” a try!

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