Spoilers Below Stop me if youve heard this one before Seinen manga superpowersasacurse reluctant protagonist in the Shinji model fanservice and thoughtless often quite uncomfortable undertones out the wazoo. Yeah Gleipnir is one of those. Manga like this those of the oftridiculed titsngore genre tend to be the target of derision for a reason theres really not much to these beyond taking some combination of stale shonen tropes adding more bare breasts and the occasional character death or fakeouts thereof to sharpen the edges season with some whackedout character designs and call it a day. Do I sound negative? Its not entirely fair Gleipnir is not notably bad for its genre and in fact Id go farther it isnt bad at all its just not particularly good either and it certainly has its share of problems. Our protagonists they each pull about half of the narrative weight are Shuichi a darkhaired coward with the ability to turn into a fursuit with super strengthreallyand Claire a halfwhite sortof femme fatale who spends a majority of the mangas runtime in various states of undress. The two meet when Shuichi saves an unconscious Claire from a burning building and immediately has to restrain himself from sexually assaulting her unconscious body. There is of course the oh hes not really in full control of his actions angle but even if we buy that its hard for this to not immediately sour ones opinion of Shuichi. Claire later blackmails him into helping her find her missing sister using this fact these are not the best of people. But heres the thing if the manga were merely extremely dark and its characters amoral there would not really be a problem. This is how Murcielago a much better action seinen with a very dark tone manages to tiptoe around having to give its characters real motivations or moral codesif everyone is a horrid douchebag all the time you dont ever expect anything else and the story is free to focus on other things. Gleipnirs problem is that it cannot decide if it wants to do that or if it wants to be a dark shonenesque story with actual emotional stakes so the result is that it ends up yoyoing between the two often at inopportune moments. Shuichi and Claire discover that Claire can actually enter Shuichi while he is in his superstrong fursuit mode and the two essentially combine in this way to tackle the first threat they encounteranother superpowered human. This would be a great setup and in fact the fight itself actually is very compelling. Shuichi retreats and mentally curls up into a ball while Claire takes over the actual function of fighting when she shoots their attacker hes distraught and shes gleefulthere is an actual conflict here. Then Claire decides to joke that she soiled herself while inside Shuichi. This is the flow of the manga genuinely interesting actionoriented or emotional scene followed by a stupid crass thing that seems to have been xeroxed from some other property. Its jarring and more damningly its predictable. When a lesbian is introduced to the cast later on she is of course predatory and tries to rape Claire. When a cute cat girl is introduced there of course is a bit where were shown her dying horribly by being crushed she recovers but this is not the point. Imagine a dark shonen manga that was at the end of every important development or interesting scene handed off for a few pages to a 14 year old child and you have adequately summed up the problems with Gleipnir. Whats most frustrating is that the mangas actual premise is interesting Superpower stories are nothing new of coursecertainly not to seinenbut their origin here by way of alien coins which need to be collected for the benefit of a mysterious extraterrestrial benefactor who makes use of what is best described as a magic vending machine to create these powers is intriguing enough. Combine that with snappy dialogue a cast that expands comfortably instead of ballooning right away and a small web of connected central mysteries and you have something that really could have been something special. That Gleipnir fumbles the ball so often and in ways that are so predictable is irritating. To put it straight because of this it is rather hard to recommend Gleipnir to anyone except those numb enough to these flaws common to the genre Gleipnir is by no means the only manga to have them and certainly it is not the worst to not care which is deeply deeply annoying because with a few tweaks it could be so much better. Finally there is a technical problem to mentionone that is outside the mangas fault but still annoying nonetheless. Currently the easiest way to read Gleipnir in the west is via manga aggregator sites. Unfortunately the skilled Psylocke Scans seem to have dropped the series and currently chapters are being machine translated apparently from the Spanish translation into English by a person or group calling themselves Kirishima Fansubs. These take the mangas dialogue and its writing in general and render it completely unreadable turning what was already a hard recommend into something that anyone but a very narrow set of people who enjoy this kind of story and are fluent in Japanese should avoid.
30 /100
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