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Afterschool Charisma Vol. #03 Manga Review

4 min read

Shiro finds himself conflicted about his identity and life, while the rest of the campus is caught in a conflict for their lives because of their identity.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kumiko Suekane
Translation/Adaptation: Camellia Nieh

What They Say
Napoleon Bonaparte
Leader of France during the first French Empire. Became known as a hero for his victories as a general and went on to seize absolute control of the state in a coup d’état. As emperor, Napoleon’s rule spanned almost all of Europe, but opposition to his rule grew widespread after his army suffered a bitter defeat by the cruel Russian winter, leading to his eventual seizure and exile. Even then, Napoleon managed to return to power for a time, only to be exiled once again. He died on Saint Helena Island.

Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Afterschool Charisma is continuing at a quicker pace than I expected. The hinted at attack on the school by the shadow organization takes place in this volume, but not before a few shocking events that proceed it.

Even though things take a serious turn by the end of thing volume, there are still moments of humor as the students prepare for their presentations. Shiro is cut off from the camaraderie due to machinations by director Rockswell and Shiro’s father. Confronted by a man who looks like an older version of himself, Shiro’s left thinking that he himself is a clone. That alone wouldn’t have been completely terrible, but since it’s clear that the officials see clones as mere commodities this is a dire prospect. He’s left questioning his past with his scientist father, who’s goals and motivations are still unclear to readers as well.

Rockswell is revealed to be a complete sociopathic asshole. I’d like to know what his view on identical twins is, since he seems to believe anyone with the same genetic profile is interchangeable. The way he presents his skewed view is sickening and appropriately shocking. I’m not sure why he’s even in charge of the school, since his ‘easily replaceable’ stance doesn’t even make good business sense! The expendable view of clones casts it’s shadow over the entire volume to an incredulous degree.

One of the best parts of this volume is Rasputin’s presentation, and the reactions to what he says before he’s interrupted. On one hand it was brilliant social experiment, on the other it was conniving and a horrible thing to do to people.

The art and presentation remain solid in this volume. The action scenes towards the end are carried out in an appropriately chaotic manner without becoming confusing to the reader. Backgrounds remain sparse though, and the distinction between what occurs outside and inside during the confrontation is hazy. To anyone wondering why the clones of these famous figures look so attractive, the author has the answer for you in the short extra comic that finishes off this volume.

For those that can’t wait to see the next volume in print, Viz’s Sigikki website is still posting chapters of the story, for free, online.

In Summary:
The conflict that has been building for the first two volumes of Afterschool Charisma reaches a climax in this volume. The story still give off a cartoony, melodramatic feel that it can’t shake even after piling on the realistic violence and moral conundrums. The identity of the shadow organization isn’t nearly as shocking as the more personal confrontations that take place. Shiro is at a total loss to deal with any of the the events, locked away from his friends and confronting his own questions of identity. While most of the motivations behind all of the events are still a mystery, the reactions to them make for compelling reading. Now it’s just a matter of who is going to survive the attack and if there is any hope for the students to break free from this strange and vicious cycle.

Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: A –
Text/Translation Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Viz Media
Released Date:June 21st, 2011
MSRP: $12.99

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