WARNING If you are squeamish do not like gore or are particularly not a fan of horror then immediately this manga is absolutely not for you. Also I do not mean the spooky scary jumpscare sort of horror. I mean the horrific side of horror. As in your life is in the hands of a reanimated surgeon who is determined to save your life at all costs the costs usually ending up being your humanity or perhaps your past self as a whole. That is of course after a horrifically painful and most likely bloody surgery or series of surgeries. This review will not come anywhere near close to showcasing the entirety of all of the messed up shit in this series but it will likely contain a sample of it. This is the only warning. 440https://i.ur.com/ejFTagn.png Introduction Franken Fran is a series by Katsuhisa Kigitsuhttps://anilist.co/staff/101647/KatsuhisaKigitsu and is without a doubt one of the most singlehandedly fucked up things Ive ever read. Scratch that. It is one of the most DELIGHTFULLY fucked up things I have ever read. I am absolutely not exaggerating when I state the following: this series has everything. Body horror violence an amusement park that does not share any likeness to any existing locations super heroes tragedy cockroach societies zombies a Flying Spaghetti monster a Kaijuu monster lots of gore lots of death lots of surgery either with absurd or horrible long lasting results. And more that I didnt even mention. Absurdity horror gore and tragedy all wrapped together with a bow stuck on top. 440https://i.ur.com/yXVw6Bs.jpg To start out with the series is a semiepisodic it has both recurring characters as well as stories that continue to progress throughout the manga horror manga centered around this reanimated young girl who has taken on the mantle of her father or rather creator Dr. Madaraki. Her name is as you may have already guessed it Fran. The entire series is more or less around the encounters and operations Fran does for people and the almost constant horrific aftermath that are brought about by them. There are also chapters about past experiments that her creator did or around Frans sisters whom are also creations of Dr. Madaraki. But it shouldnt be a surprise what the first section of this review is going to be. 440https://orig00.deviantart.net/8903/f/2014/026/d/d/3788371711648943232byshioshiorzd73skh1.jpg Fran Madaraki From the very start of the manga I absolutely loved Fran as a character. 440https://i.ur.com/7un3H49.jpg Her design her often spoken catchphrase LETS BEGIN THE OPERATION the way she often elongates words in the official translation anyways the way shes often sometimes shown wobbling when moving she IS a reanimated corpse after all and not one of the ones intended to be used in combat situations how she just adds multiple additional arms to herself when it comes to her performing her surgeries her dubious morality her determination to save lives at ALL cost and even if her patients actually WISH to die either because of the pain or because of the changes Fran has to make to them to save their lives her willingness to basically perform surgeries completely changing or altering people almost willy nilly her intelligence and on the rare occasion when shes genuinely menacing or the countermeasures she takes against her much more violent and almost indestructible elder sister. If youre going to do an episodic series around one specific character I think Fran honestly classifies as an example of how to do it PERFECTLY. And in terms of horror I love the idea of a monster that isnt monstrous whatsoever but instead both directly and indirectly CREATES monsters. And that is Fran to a tee as she becomes genuinely saddened or hurt whenever anybody makes the implication that she is evil or what she does is wrong. 440https://i.ur.com/mwziYLJ.jpg Because she genuinely and entirely believes her surgeries do only good for her clients. Though in actuality it almost always results in horrific and nightmarish results often for even the patients themselves. If a character has come to Fran willingly seeking a surgery theyve already fucked up and have basically wandered off down a stray path leading into darkness. Fran is not some axe murderer or monster lurking in that darkness but if you end up getting a surgery by her... best case scenario youre alive but your life is ruined or your very humanity is permanently altered. Before reading Franken Fran I probably would have considered the idea of just combining basically Victor Frankenstein and Frankensteins Monster into one character as a silly idea or something that wouldnt work out too well. But it works perfectly. Especially if you consider as I said before the entire manga is more or less about Frans experiments and creations and the sometimes prolonged effect they have. But Fran HERSELF is an experiment or a creation of Dr. Madaraki who is in fact assumingly human and the only thing he programmed into Fran as sort of a guideline is that she cannot kill. Rather she tries to undo death itself every single time someone either dies in front of her or she is paid to specially bring back someone. Then Fran herself decides to basically take Dr. Madarakis place when clients start coming to the lab during his absence with the sole guideline being that death is not permitted... 440https://i.ur.com/xddj3lm.jpg While it could probably be easy to assume the morality of Fran is in fact evil and several of the recurring human characters who know her are rightfully terrified or worried the moment they see her she is chaotic neutral. She wishes to save the lives of who she can at all costs and wont hesitate to jump into surgery as soon as someone happens to die right before her even outside of the lab but there are numerous occasions apart from when her surgeries backfire for her patients after they leave the lab where she does things counter to this. She is fully willing to basically operate and enhance the bodies of even her own enemies and at one point has essentially given super strength and other abilities to dozens and dozens of people wishing to be heroes or to combat the heroes Fran has created in the past. Hell there are two chapters off the top of my head that ends with Fran calmly wondering to herself if she has threatened the very existence of mankind as a whole. Oh and if some other researcher or scientist try to steal her research or her projects to use themselves and end up leading to less than optimal results as most times what theyve stolen tend to be incomplete or not yet perfected she more or less simply shrugs it off or let the people who stole from her end up having to deal with the consequences. 440https://i.ur.com/4vtJYnw.png Additionally we are also shown that while Fran will try to save the lives of even people who have tried to attack her or the lab in situations where she is unable to or simply cant prevent the deaths of others she has no problems in having her walking organ bag friend Adorea consume the corpses of those that died to harvest their organs to help save others. And while its very rare since of the three Madaraki sisters Fran is the one who is outright incapable of killing she is capable of being very threatening just like her sisters. Also one last note on Fran herself but I think Fran performing impromptu surgery on her own neck after it was cut is probably one of the most horrifically badass things Ive ever seen a character do in a manga and genuinely actually really I dont view myself as being very squeamish but the level of detail he put into her cut neck was just jesus. Well obviously never see this animated like never at all in this universe but like picturing the actual motion of her sitting up with her head tilting back only BARELY hanging on is just... 440https://i.ur.com/AoNf8SB.png She is also cut in half on another occasion and yes she performs another impromptu surgery on herself but that time resulting in two separate Frans. Like its worth noting that its established that reanimated people in this manga absolutely are still capable of feeling pain. I cannot possibly imagine the pain you would feel if you had your neck cut to that extent if you were still also alive okay shes not alive but you know what I mean. Certainly for ordinary individuals itd probably be too much for them to still be capable of mustering the concentration needed to perform surgery let alone on their own cut neck. ...Thinking about it while Fran herself adamantly sticks to her no killing rule and even tries to get her sisters to not kill when at all possible the actual amount of deaths Fran have caused directly or indirectly by her surgeries is probably staggering. In the grand finale of the recurring super hero arc Fran does state that all of the enhancement surgeries shes done following the start of the super hero shenanigans have resulted in the lab obtaining massive amounts of funding but... with each additional person she enhances to be one of these super heroes the amount of chaos and damage just increases rapidly. 440https://i.ur.com/eD08aLa.png Its honestly hard for me to think of anywhere near as an effective neutral morality character as Fran. Like she does some good yes and its certainly admirable to a point of how determined she is unwilling to let others die before her. But... eventually at a point death may be preferable. Even then she doesnt at all hesitate to perform surgeries for a price that will outright enable people to kill MASS amounts of others and then send them off into the world beyond her lab. She has without a doubt earned her place as one of my favorite characters of all time. 440https://i.ur.com/hxqE3JH.png Gore and Body Horror ...I personally dont believe just plastering on massive amounts of gore no matter how detailed or extensive results in good or effective horror. Really it tends to usually be the opposite. The more you add the harder it seems to take seriously. Mind you if done absolutely right and with just the right amount it can work. But there has to be something more to it than JUST a huge amount of gore. Additionally more often than not it ends up straying off into the over the top and silly territory. Slasher movies movies like SAW or in other words the torture porn genre Paranormal Activity/Another... I have a certain place in my heart for these sorts. Sometimes you just want to turn on a movie and watch a living doll murder people or that guy with the knife fingers fuck some people up through their dreams. 440https://i.ur.com/avhETVW.jpg But Franken Fran is... first of all the series is loaded to the very brim with gore but it is perhaps the most imaginatively used gore Ive ever seen so far. The fact that Fran having her neck cut and her reattaching her own neck was in the last section and not this section which is ENTIRELY dedicated to gore should probably say something. As while that panel is probably going to be one of the panels I will always remember when thinking of this series there is just so much more. Rightfully so considering the entire series is of course based around surgery. A lot of the surgery scenes in fact actually sort of got to me. As while a lot of them dont even involve blood seeing like a persons head open and their brain exposed... and... oh... oh god. Like in the very FIRST chapter Fran just straight up rips a guys brain out he of course willingly came to her seeking a surgery and the eyes were still attached and dangling. 440https://i.ur.com/x8ddm96.jpg I somewhat honestly believe to actually be capable of doing really lastingly good horror you have to possess at least somewhat of a fucked up mind. Like both Junji Ito and Stephen King seem like nice enough people in person and Im sure Katsuhisa Kigitsu is as well obviously BUT... 440https://i.ur.com/dDnQmQo.png You cant just get me to believe that you have an entirely normal mind if you spend an extended period of time drawing almost any of the shit that happens in this series. No I dont believe you at all. Youre sane and functioning and capable of fitting in society but deep down theres something fucked up and thats where these ideas come up from. And as a person who really loves sections of the horror genre mostly books and manga Its wonderful. 440https://i.ur.com/GSKhjcI.png As for all the body horror... to be honest I cant say Ive done a huge amount of body horror stuff apart from the stuff that emerges in Junji Itos manga but its pretty great and elegantly done in this series. I personally like the stuff thats more towards the gore category lets be honest here both are usually intersecting in this series but it seemed like he was never running out of ideas. Admittedly probably my favorite example of the body horror in Franken Fran is probably the supporting character Adorea that appears from time to time. Like okay heres the cover of the second omnibus volume. https://i.ur.com/54Rys3o.jpg Fan service right? But then you of course actually open the book and then after the interior page of this cover there is a black and white version of this image and it is what the character actually looks like. On one hand its genuinely kind of a deception. But on the other hand from even the fan service version of the image alone... you should probably be wondering why or what the purpose for those zippers are. Because it then turns out that this character who is introduced in this omnibus volume I believe is in fact basically a living and walking organ bag whose actual face uncovered is in fact an eldritch nightmare of tentacles that will consume corpses to obtain and store organs from these corpses for future use in Frans surgeries or research. 440https://i.ur.com/V8dIEKp.jpg Like the idea of just being able to zip open your skin which is just filled to the brim with extra organs and be able to easily remove them is just... like that is a horror character/monster in itself but shes just this genuinely nice and warmhearted supporting member of the Madraki laboratory. Granted she does have a few chapters dedicated to her alone but usually shes just with Fran or Veronica. Oh and additionally its worthy to note that the gore is especially effective in Franken Fran since literally nobody is safe from it. Even children get brutally killed in genuinely horrific ways. When children get pulled into horror stuff sometimes it feels like its solely because of the fact obviously unless youre actually messed up seeing horrible shit happen to children will get a guaranteed strong emotional or guttural reaction from you. I think because of how horrifically wow Ive used this word a LOT in this review and Im probably going to continue doing so far Franken Fran takes it I think it actually works... ...but Jesus Christ Katsuhisa Kigitsu. You have demons living within your brain and this is how theyre trying to get out. 440https://i.ur.com/v5DLUHH.png I am not including it in this review but oh yes there is a panel following that one... and it is... exactly what you may expect. I dont think Ive ever described a work of fiction as grisly but if Franken Fran doesnt deserve it then nothing does. The Insanity of Limitless Variety https://i.ur.com/jsiK1NV.jpg ...As far as episodic things go I have never been this fully engaged throughout a series. Even stuff like Mushishihttps://anilist.co/anime/457/Mushishi there were a handful of mushi that I didnt really find interesting or like the episodes for but since its episodic it tends to be one and done. In other words if you didnt like this chapter/episode maybe youll like the next one as its a different although similar thing. If you dont like the country Kinohttps://anilist.co/manga/30399/KinonoTabiTheBeautifulWorlds in this chapter then thats fine since shell be in a completely different country next chapter. Franken Fran kept me fully engaged the whole way through even in the chapters that did not revolve around Fran. And even with the more straight to the point chapters Fran performs surgery things go horribly wrong there was just a ridiculous variety to them that they never once lost me. Then you have the handful of recurring stories that pop up every once in a while and most of those are just completely fucking INSANE. 440https://i.ur.com/Qiy4Po7.jpg 440https://i.ur.com/j1ddFAo.jpg Then in the more mundane chapters or rather the chapters that SHOULD be more mundane the established craziness of the entire series is still there. AKA okay lets have Frans older sister go to school and act as a teacher and the chapter will be how she interacts with her students on a day to day basis. Putting aside the fact that we see Gavrill literally survive a direct nuclear assault in a chapter prior to this she is just... 440https://i.ur.com/ivDZ7H6.jpg ...My only regret is that he did not introduce Gavrill sooner than he did so we could have gotten more of her. Id still say Fran is my favorite but Gavrill is also glorious but for entirely different reasons. Veronica cockroach girlhttps://i.ur.com/jE3W9X8.png is also good despite probably being my least favorite of the three. Maybe Surgerys a Bad Idea... 440https://i.ur.com/V9LhpcJ.png To be honest Im having some trouble reviewing this series. Usually in a review Id tackle entire chunks of a series that I particularly liked/hated and like one specific chapter/episode could be a whole section on its own. But like the absolute in my opinion best moments in Franken Fran that really got me I would almost classify all of them as... you just need to see it yourself. Like if you are resistant enough to gore to have made it this far into this review therefore probably indicating you at least have a slight interest in horror manga you should just try it out for yourself. Because almost the entirety of the images from the manga Ive included thus far are more or less teasers. 440https://i.ur.com/A54wpuE.png The chapter this is from came very close to crushing my soul. Despite what I just said I do need to state that... the amusement park is completely fucked and is one of my absolute favorite parts of this manga. Like the moment in one of the earlier chapters that Fran transplanted the brain of someone who killed themselves into the body of a giant mascot mouse body that is physically capable of tearing people apart my hands were glued to the book. After all I went into Franken Fran already aware that there would be recurring stuff. And sure enough we do see the amusement park that mouse mascot body is intended for. And it is without a doubt the happiest place in the world and legally distinct from any existing locations or corporations. https://i.ur.com/0DJbanN.png Conclusion This is one of my favorite series of all time. Absolutely in my top ten and as far as horror manga goes only Junji Ito is capable of even competing. I want to say maybe theres some even crazier or more enjoyable horror manga lurking around out there but honestly I cant picture one topping how I feel towards Franken Fran. I felt almost every single possible emotion throughout reading the whole 61 chapters and found myself either repulsed or incapable of believing what I was witnessing before my very eyes. 10 out of 10. I dont know what this says about me as a person but I can see myself rereading this series multiple times in the future. 440https://static.miraheze.org/allthetropeswiki/4/4d/Npi5188.png
100 /100
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