Unlike anime, I don’t review every manga I read. So you probably won’t know that I actually have been reading a series of gloomier, macabre and gorey manga lately. I think I Can’t Stop Cursing You is the only one I’m going to review though.
If you want to know why you need to read on. Did I do that right?
Why I Picked up Blue Period
This time it was completely a combination of the title and cover art. You see, I didn’t read the synopsis and I sort of refused to read it because there were so many things I could imagine.
The straightforward interpretation of that title and cover would be that the character is some type of witch doctor that sells curses. And that could be a fun read, right? But I went on a different route in my head and decided it might be a bitter love story about a couple that once loved each other but now everything the other person does just gets on their nerves.
And although I’m not entirely sure I would enjoy a manga like that, I also thought it was different enough to be worth a try.
It was just an ordinary day at Yami High..until it wasn’t. A ringing cell phone and the splatter of blood marked the beginning of a deadly game. The rules: Contractor Mikiya has thirty days to curse-kill thirty people-or meet a fate worse than death. On the other side, Curse-Breaker Saeyama must identify the killer… without falling prey to one of Mikiya’s curse-kills. Only time will tell who will emerge victorious…
My First Impression
I was very wrong (if you read my synopsis you know why)
Volume 1 Review
I’m not going to do a strengths and weaknesses post like I usually do. I don’t think it would work for this particular title.
A few things to get out of the way first. As I write this, I have only read the first volume of I Can’t Stop Cursing You. However, that first volume is hefty. There are only four chapters but it took me twice as long to read as a volume of manga usually takes me. A lot happens and there’s a lot of dialogue. You’re getting a bang for your buck. Also, the first volume can be seen as a stand-alone story. It has a satisfying ending. If you were to flesh out a few bits here and there, I could see this one volume having enough material for a short season of anime.
The second thing I want to tell you all about right up front is that this manga has a bit of gore. It’s not the worse I have seen but there’s definitely quite a lot of blood being splattered about these pages. So if you don’t like that sort of thing, you should stay away from I Can’t Stop Cursing you. I know some people only read the beginning of reviews so I figured it would be more useful if I got this disclaimer out early.
Ok now for the actual review. To put it very concisely, the first volume of I Can’t Stop Cursing you really reminded me of Death Note. But the better parts of Death Note. I think I Can’t Stop Cursing You is what people wanted Platinum End to be.
Obviously in just one volume the cat and mouse game can’t get quite as intricate and the plans won’t be as detailed but that also means things don’t get all convoluted and bogged down. The characters might suffer a bit more in the comparison but once again, a lot of it is due to the fact that getting only one volume’s worth of development so far will make them shallower by necessity.
I think that Saeyama in the unconventional but brilliant detective role does a pretty good job at adding some humour and tension to the story. He has a lot to live up to but I wouldn’t count him out. For my money, however, the villain of this volume was great in his role. Maybe not great as a character per see but great as a villain and an antagonist.
Since I compared a manga to Death Note, I do have certain obligations now. Questions to answer if you will. The curses all have a set of rules and limitations that makes them similar in practice to a death note but these change from one curse to the next which gives the narrative the freedom to play around with different strategies without having to add things in constantly.
I already gave you the disclaimer but let me say this again, I Can’t Stop Cursing You is much more violent than Death Note. The deaths happen on page and they are visceral. However, it oddly remains a much more lighthearted experience. This isn’t a manga that takes itself too seriously or thinks it’s the smartest thing you’ve ever read. It’s more modest and measured which I liked.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t set up the confrontations well. I particularly enjoyed the last one in volume 1. It was the sort of strategy that you could clearly come up with, but you have to be pretty smart and quite gutsy.
So there you go. I had fun with this volume. Every time I put it down I was really looking forward to picking it up again and finding out what happens next. It won’t be for everyone but it’s certainly the best manga in the genre that I have read in a while.