Story: Usamaru Furuya
Art: Usamaru Furuya
Translation/Adaptation: John Werry
What They Say
Having cheated death, Hikaru Hamura must save himself by using his artistic abilities to help others.
Once a loner, Hikari “Picasso” Hamura has helped so many people that he finds himself surrounded by friends! Picasso’s going to need them as he faces his most difficult ‘portrait’ yet. It’s easy to deal with other people’s problems. But it’s another story when you have to face your own…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I was impressed with the art and concept set forth in the first volume of Genkaku Picasso but felt that some of the stories just existed and didn’t really have my whole attention in the way the first chapter did. The second volume was significantly better as the stories improved and carried more weight to them both emotionally and metaphorically. Well, the last volume is what everything has built toward and I couldn’t have been more satisfied.
The volume starts off with two 2-part stories, one in which Picasso helps a hikikomori whose family pressures have figuratively killed him inside and the other is another story about Sugiura when he is dealing with the upset of heartbreak. Throughout these two stories Picasso and Chiaki play much more pivotal roles in solving the mysteries and mending the hearts, my biggest complaint with the second half of volume 1. Yet, still, through these journeys Picasso himself never grows, he never changes and continues to be a pretty despicable character in all rights, my other complaint. But that is only four chapters of this volume. The entire second half, four chapters, constitutes a single, final story: Picasso’s.
At the conclusion of the previous chapter dealing with Sugiura, Sugiura confronts Picasso about the drawing of his heart. How did Picasso know about the events depicted in the drawing? Of course, awkward little Picasso slips and says something peculiar that he shouldn’t have. In consequence, Picasso tells Sugiura about everything. About Chiaki, his rotting flesh, his ability to see and dive into people’s hearts, everything. Sugiura feels betrayed by this confession, understandably so, and tells Picasso to stay away from him, that they are no longer friends. The next day Picasso sees a gigantic dark aura, an aura that consumes everything around him and Chiaki isn’t there to help him this time. It turns out that Picasso has entered his own heart. The time has finally come for him to confront his own demons, to heal his own heart.
I wish I could tell you that this conclusion was from left field, totally unpredictable but…I can’t. This is the way this story had to end and because of Furuya’s careful pacing and execution it doesn’t feel like a cop-out. It doesn’t for a second feel cheap and contrived, it feels real. While I can’t really identify with the supernatural circumstances of the series I could personally identify with the contents of Picasso’s heart. It’s hard, it’s tough, but it is a fact of life. Something we all have to deal with at some point in time and the message delivered by Furuya is the true message. I keep things vague because I want people to experience it for themselves. I want to tell everything about the end, how subtle changes in Furuya’s artwork, tone, and character depictions show how things have changed; how everything wraps up; but I won’t outside of what I have just said.
This is a series done right. It started off a little rocky for me but had more than enough excellent points that kept me reading. I couldn’t have been more satisfied. At three volumes, Genkaku Picasso seems to be just the right length. As a one shot this series would’ve been too rushed to fully form the relationships it does. As a longer series, typical of Jump titles, it would’ve just started to drag on and probably would’ve lost my interest and attention. Usamaru Furuya has proven to me again that he is a master mangaka, someone people should be watching and clamoring for his work. While not as mature as his other works, Genkaku Picasso is still a series that can evoke the proper thoughts and emotions from the reader. Don’t sample this series with a chapter or two, go full boar with all three volumes and absorb some real art being made. Besides, for how thick these volumes are (especially volume 3) at the price their being sold at…yeah, no brainer for me!
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011