Friday, 19 April 2013

My Favourite Manga Of All Time: Immortal Rain

SPOILER ALERT: There WILL be massive spoilers. It's not like this manga is new - you can get it from your library or online at Manga Fox. Read it first, or you will regret it.


I want to blot out my life like knocking over a pot of ink onto the page of a book.

It will, quickly or steadily, spread to all of the other pages and leave you with a big, black fucking mess. You can't read the pages - the content, the whole story is gone, although the stained pages leave you with proof that it was there. But is that how I want to go out?


This whole week went to shit. I am not surprised. Today I did more solid work towards my final essay than I have done all week. My healthy eating habits have been on and off. The days feel monotonous.

Yesterday, I went for a walk - I had to go when it had stopped raining, so I ended up going at sunset - and smelling of the air and seeing the setting sun and listening to a couple of my favourite songs (Paramore's 'Stuck On You', along with 'Hello', the opening theme to Ergo Proxy called 'Kiri' - Monoreal, And from Nabari No Ou 'Departure' and 'Aru Ga Mama'.) made me feel overwhelming sad. My whole world felt kind of empty. I kind of wanted to die.

When I got home, it was kind of impossible for me to work. I ended up playing The Sims 2 again until I really didn't want to anymore. I wanted to sleep, but I didn't want to go to bed and lie there waiting for it, thinking about my troubles. I just wanted them to end, quickly.

Whenever I feel like that, I read and reread and reread my favourite manga of all time, Immortal Rain, slash Meteor Methuselah.

- Rain & Machika look so cute and so sad, I wanna fucking cry. -

Why I Love It

So, it's a shōjo. But, unlike many, it's not completely driven by romance, in fact, it's pretty much action and adventure until we get to Volume 3.

First off, it is SO. DAMN. FUNNY. It never fails to cheer me up, especially Rain himself!

Then again, it kind of has to be, because the bits that aren't funny or action-based are incredibly depressing and tragic, like for example, pretty much all of the characters are orphans, and the one set of parents in it have lost a child. But it all forms a wonderfully well-told and illustrated story.

Second, Kaori Ozaki can REALLY DRAW!!!!

If there's one thing that can put me off a manga, it's when the illustrations are really bad. As manga, like comics, are image based, it's really hard for me to get through it if the characters are badly drawn. There is something so subtle about Immortal Rain. I find that it's not flashy or showy or overdone - even for Ayla, who could've easily had many more kawaii features and bigger eyes. I love love love the design of all of the characters. Will talk about my favourite character designs below.


Also, Kaori Ozaki draws action really well. There's this other manga I was reading years ago that I liked called King Of Hell by Ra In-Soo and Kim Jae-Hwan. The story is great, plot moves a little slow, but the action is really messy. It takes away from the satisfaction of seeing Majeh fight the demons because there's so many motion lines that you can't actually see what he's doing. It's really frustrating as him fighting demons and rival fighters is quite a lot of the manga.

But in Immortal Rain, it take you from one step to the next in a series of short pictures. I see the fighting sequence so clearly and quickly in my head that it gets me excited and tense even though I already know who's gonna win.

Also, for a shōjo, it's pretty gruesome! I mean, the Angels look horrific. They were drawn AMAZINGLY, especially Mother May, who is as creepy as FUCK. She's got a damn baby staring out of her stomach! There's a lot of action in there, its fast paced... this is why I love it.

 - 2-page spread from Chapter 7 of the Evans Gang. I LOVE AMY SO MUCH! (holding the spanner.) Why does Eury look like such a cocky idiot? Oh wait - that must be because he is. -


Next, the characters of Imm.Rain are the BEST.

They are so great, that I realised Rain had begun to influence my Architect character from my story 10 Lives Of The Immortal Architect Which By The Way Will Probably Not Be Called That Anymore. In appearance only though, not in personality. In personality, the Architect originally stemmed from Vega as he's depicted in the Street Fighters animated movie (I LOVE ME SOME VEGA) and Yoite from Nabari No Ou (Aww, Yoite... let's not go there, or I really will cry). In fact, the Architect is such a hybrid that he became an original character before I had a chance to decide what made him a special protagonist. I kind of wanted to revert him back to his original brutal nature, but I can't bloody change him b/c he's too unique how he is now.

Anyway.

Sharem began to influence my Danica character from Detonator, but again, in appearance only. Her personality is more like... well... actually, quite a bit like Rain's!

- Rain being a doofus -

I love that at the beginning/end of some volumes, you get a little character bio and some fighting techniques. I LOVE THAT. It's so cool!

Many of the characters change throughout, and it's all believable. The Doctor and Dora Folk immediately stand out as characters that are not central, and yet the story couldn't continue without them as Dora Folk is the one who makes Rain take out his cross, and the doctor saves Machika from the crumbling Angel Sanctuary. They do more, but just in brief, yeah. They're boss.

But there is something even more important why I love Immortal Rain: IT ENDS.



Manga volumes are known to span on for ever and ever. I think the Naruto volumes spans in into the seventies? Beyond? It seems Kaori Ozaki wrote this with an end in sight, that is why it's so perfect. The story was set in stone, complete, perfect, packing a punch, and ending on a high.

I am SO GUTTED because I only have eight volumes sitting on my shelf, but there are eleven. I read the end to the series online; I had no choice, Tokyopop didn't print the last three in English - maybe due to lacking popularity. I think they have been printed in French, however. How could it be more popular in France and not in the UK or US?! That sucks!

It really does suck, because I jumped on the bandwagon years after it had been first printed, so I'm guessing the original hype about it had come and gone. I don't care. I'm just going to learn Japanese and buy the Japanese version to read...

Characters And Kiki

Rain - This guy.... my God. No description could do him justice. It surprises me to remember that he came from an unusual background, I think he grew up at the church-place from orphans? It's so sad that Rain and Machika don't have much family and always seem really lonely...

Soo, Methuselah, aka. Rain Jewlitt. Adorable, loveable, and has such... moral righteousness, I guess. Because of that, I think he'd be brave even without being immortal and invincible. Yuca sealed him into a terrible fate. But because he knows that he is, he takes even extra opportunities to help and save people, and it's not really clear whether he can feel the pain and is hiding it, or not. His body gets mangled in quite a lot of different ways... um, quite a lot of times. Poor guy.

LOVE LOVE LOVE him with short hair at the end!

There... IS one thing that gets me. Not exactly a flaw, but it stokes my fires of curiosity. It's evident that, for Yuca, being immortal robs him of all feeling and makes him apathetic, cruel and brutal, but only in the sense that he no longer has any regard for human life. Rain has been alive for SIX HUNDRED YEARS - how the hell can he still be willing to save people when he's witnessed all the terrible, horrible things they do out of greed?

I mean, it just makes him an even more amazing character, but still, it's interesting. It's hard to think that he can, but that was the test Yuca sent him in the first place by making him immortal. Even Yuca couldn't believe that he was still willing to save humanity when he came back. Damn. This guy.

Machika - she's such a wonderful character. I love that she has the inner conflict of carrying on her Grandfather's legacy and being a strong fighter, and on the other hand just being a teenage girl trying to stumble her way through life. Ugh, I can't. She's too cool.

Sharem - my favourite female character from any manga ever full stop. Short blonde hair, cold eyes, very slender and very tall (for a woman, compared to the male characters). From this manga, she battles with Rain and Machika, but still I think she would come out top. Where do I begin? She's powerful, beautiful, influential, manipulative, a mother figure to her several dozen adoptive children who are willing to fight and do anything for her, she's one scary, mad-strong fighter, and she has a backstory that makes me choke up. You don't fuck with Sharem! Oh no you don't. If she was a Game Of Thrones character, she'd be Cersei. Pardon me - Queen Cersei.



- Yuca and Sharem -

Yuca / Ys - such a brilliant character. Effortlessly terrifying. The scene where he is born (not as a baby but as a young boy) is fucking creepy. Seeing him as a young adult in Rain's flashback was really interesting as well. To be honest, Freya must be weird to love someone so emotionless. How can she prefer him to Rain?! Rain's adorable! But anyway, perfect character as a baddie - hes not evil through and through, his experiences have made him the way he is, which makes it even sadder.

Besides that, there's one thing I don't quite get - and that is at the very end, (SUPER SUPER SPOILER! I DID WARN YOU!) when he is finally released and no longer immortal. I REALLY DON'T GET THAT! How exactly did that happen? I'm going to need to read it over and over until I get it.


Ayla (above, if the pic is still showing) - She. Is. Gorgeous. Kaori Ozaki did say somewhere that she was the most glamorous character, but her outfits are amazing throughout the series. Mind you, she only has a few, but each one is stunning in it's own right. It's kinda funny to see her running around in heels in the middle of all of this action. Her backstory about the King she was in love with (Yakoh, I think) was so tragic. That was REALLY tragic, and right at the beginning of the story too, like, Volume 1. Man, everytime I think of it I get sad.

There's this spread at the end of Volume 5 that I really adore. I just look at it and slap my hands to my cheeks saying 'omigod! Shesocute!'



Eury - this guy is the best fucking badass EVER. Okay? Ever! He is a super flirt and his antics are hilarious. He's also really cocky and standoffish. His flirtations with Sharem got me grinning cause she must be in her early 30's or something and Eury's got to be like 18? Hahaha! That's kind of why I like his character, he's never afraid to try. He gets himself into so many scrapes. I like how he ends up in Rain and Machika's lil group, when he was at first a baddie. I should really say 'antagonist' but whadafuk. Who cares.

Dora Folk - This man is really really original. I don't really know how because he's your typical I Want To Be Powerful And Rule The World bad guy but it stems from Yuca/Ys's messing about with angel experiments and he's very clever about how to get what he wants. Maybe that's no excuse, idano. I can't say much more because trying would just be a disgrace to this character.

- from Kaori Ozaki's Website. Like the last 2 pics on the post, I love it because you get to see most of the characters together in this happy little scene (Dora Folk, WTF?) but sad as well because you know this would and can never... never happen... -

The Doctor - I love this man! He's sooo science-obsessed, yet so calm and cool and suave. Also he gives Rain and Machika really good advice and his glasses make him look cute.

Freya - This is gonna be very very bias as I am pro-Raichika and anti-Raiya, plus she is kind of annoying, BUT, I didn't really like Freya. I think she's one of those characters that's meant to be ambiguous as of course we as the reader are rooting for Machika. But it's sad because you feel Rain's pain, as obviously he loved her, and Yuca killed her in cold blood. And Freya wasn't mean or a bad character, just boring and flat compared to Machika.

Jileena - I like her spunk. The fact that she tried so hard to get Sharem's love and approval brings on my weepy face. It makes me laugh how she's always out to get Machika. It's a perfect match! I love seeing them face off in a fight.

Kiki - I want me a Kiki so bad. It's an abandoned angel experiment that Machika takes care of, it's cute little cat/fox thing with three eyes and when it grows up, it TALKS! That really shocked me when I picked up Volume 5 and saw it TALKING! But it was a great addition to the story.

To Wrap It Up

Here's the thing... just a little thing really. Well... at the start of the series when Chi develops her crush on R, she's fourteen. Fine. But... like I said, here's the thing... Rain is 624... although he behaves like a ten year old... and he's been immortal for 600 years so that in principle makes him TWENTY-FOUR!

It's a bit weird! I have no problem with 10 year age gaps, any age gaps for that matter - my own Mum and Dad are 10 years apart in age but they met when my Mum was 20, not when she was 14! Anyway... so yeah, that had me wide-eyed. To be honest, I think saying he's been immortal for 600 years may not be strictly true. It may be slightly more or less. He could be in his late-teens, early-twenties. I suppose 24 is early. LOL! But other than that, I Don't Give A Fuck, RAICHIKA ALL THE WAY.



Next step?

Well, again, it's been years since I.R. came out. I discovered it so long ago and keep going back to it time and time again. But I have heard that there's this mini serial of Rain and Machika's grandfather Zol (who looks REALLY young to be her grandfather by the way) and their adventures together, which must be supercool so I should really hunt that down.


 - Both images from Kaori Ozaki's website, if they're still showing -


Wow. What a super long post.

I feel miles better after writing that. Of course, I should have been writing my essay, but this made me happier and therefore was worth it.



Star.
________________________________________

5 comments:

  1. First kiss Rain & Machika - which chapter? :)

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  2. I also love this manga a lot!!! I started reading it yesterday and I can't stop. I'm completely in love with Rain, such a great character. Definitely made its way up to my top 5 favorite manga list. I really enjoyed reading what you wrote. Thank you for taking time to do that!! My nickname is chi so I got confused when you referred to machika as that haha.
    Well, thanks!! ����
    ~Chi

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    Replies
    1. GREAT! I love finding new fans. I agree, IR is so amazing. It's only annoying that the last three volumes weren't printed in English e_e What are your other favourite four mangas?
      Chi is such a great name. =D Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I just recently read immortal rain and I have to say that I completely and utterly fell in love with this series it has earned first place on my manga list it is beautifully made and the story oooooh the story and characters are so perfect and complement each other so well theirs just something about it that gets me every time all in all I freak in LOVE LOVE LOVE immortal rain and rain is the most adorable and lovable character EVER!!! (Ok enough fangirling)

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    3. I know. Everything is perfect about this manga - except the fact that the end isn't printed in ENGLISH! >=( Still, I bought volume 8, 9 and 10 in French and It still made me weepy even though I could barely understand it lmao.

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