Monday Manga Review: Behind the Scenes Vol. 1

behind-the-scenes-vol-1Ranmaru Kurisu comes from a family of hardy, rough-and-tumble fisher folk, and he sticks out at home like a delicate, artistic sore thumb. It’s given him a raging inferiority complex and a permanently pessimistic outlook. Now that he’s in college, he’s hoping to find a sense of belonging. But after a whole life of being left out, does he even know how to fit in?!

It’s two months into Ranmaru’s college career, and if he’s learned one thing, it’s that he’s really uncomfortable around other people. But when he stumbles into a zombie mob attack, he’s forced out of his comfort zone in the most dramatic way possible! Of course, it’s just a movie shoot, but when he wakes up from his ignoble faint, he’s been whisked away behind the scenes with the Art Squad! Could this group of weirdoes be what Ranmaru’s been looking for all his life?!

So far, I’ve really enjoyed my dive into the world of manga, but sooner or later I had to come across a series or volume that just didn’t sit right with me, and Behind the Scenes Vol. 1 written by with art by Bisco Hatori is just that.

Reading the first volume I found a narrative that was packed with ideas and situations throwing in too much and creating a jumble of an experience where I found it difficult to figure out who was saying what at times. Not knowing who was talking was an issue, but the story itself bounces from situation to situation for an experience that is almost ADHD. Sit in a room where hundreds are talking and this is the narrative presented in this first volume.

The story itself is interesting as we learn more about the world Ranmaru has been thrown into. There’s some glimpses of an interesting story involving someone sabotaging the movie production, but that storyline is quickly resolved. And that’s the thing that sticks out to me. This volume clearly feels like short vignettes collected into one package as opposed to an ongoing narrative. Nothing lasts too long as if each chapter break is a shiny object to distract us.

Hatori’s art is at times fantastic and at other times WAY too much packed into a panel or page. I couldn’t tell what’s going on with some pages and like the dialogue, there’s just so much thrown in there and a lot of it isn’t clear as to what’s going on.

The concept of this manga really drew me in and I wanted to see what it was all about. But, after reading this first volume it’s not one I think I’ll be exploring much after this, especially when there’s so much more out there. If you really love the idea of a manga about stage crew, go for it, but a lack of focus hurts the overall story.

Story: Bisco Hatori Art: Bisco Hatori
Story: 4 Art: 5.4 Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass