Manga Monday Presents: Parallel Plots
Another Monday another missive for all of you. This time I want to talk to you all about Parallel plots, not to mean parallel reality (that is a different week) but a plot that exists at the same time but not dependant on one another. Sometimes when a manga becomes popular an author/artist comes up with spin-offs or sequels or the like, sometimes he creates an entirely new story just like the first one with a different cast. I want to discus series just like that.
First I want to talk about the series Ou-sama Game. In it 32 students from a class receive a mysterious text message giving them an order from a “King”. They think of it as a silly prank but play along with it since it’s all in harmless fun, but soon the orders aren’t just fun and games and they soon discover that disobeying the King leads to dire consequences. The plot follows Nobuaki as he tries to save his friends and figure out which student is the King issuing orders and massacring the classroom, as well as to figure out his/her mysterious power that allows them to do it.
As you are nearing the end of the story the characters find evidence that this is’t the first time the game has been played, it makes references to a village where a ‘King’ had done much the same. This is where Ou-sama Game comes into play. This is the origin story of the King’s game (Kigen means origin) and takes place 30 years prior. Now while both are in the same universe and have a ‘King’ the plots are not dependent on one another and reading either one first or both at the same time will not detract from the experience, thus parallel plots. Kigen takes place in a remote village named Yonaki Village, the method of message for the King is also different but the orders are still absolute. Now while the ending of Kigen is sorta spoiled in the ending of the original series, it doesn’t detract from either story and the twists leave you in suspense.
The next pair is one of my personal favorites, and has recently been made into a live action series. Kamisama no Iutoori follows Takahata Shun as he goes about his ormal day only to have his class interupted by a Daruma that tells them to play a game with him. After the bloodiest game of red light green light, the story goes to show you that there are a bunch of other fatal games being played all over this school and a bunch of other schools worldwide. It seems some crazy “God” has decided to play a game with teens to decide his replacement. Though the games are innocent enough in name, they are often bloody and violent consequences for messing up or losing.
Now one would wonder, “The God choose kids at school for this, what if they were absent or ditching?”. This is where the series Kamisama no Iutoori comes into play. In it a different God goes around and collects the “trash” that had ditched or missed school in order to play his own set of games. The games are completely different from the first series, and though you can read either one without the other, the two series do link together. You come to find the twist of the series is the second God is raising a person to slay the first God, or whoever manages to replace him. The games themselves are exciting and imagining how you would survive in the same boat is fun as well, the blood and carnage don’t hurt either.
Now while they are all great reads, I wanted to recommend one series in particular this week. Following the parallel plots idea of the week, my POTW is Mahou Shoujo Site. Last week I recommended the series Mahou Shoujo of the End, Site is the Parallel/spin-off to this series. While in End the magical girls have struck and caused havoc and death, in Site you see what might be the origin of the magical sticks and a different breed of magical girls. It follows Asagiri Aya, a girl bullied in every aspect of her life, who stumbles upon an eerie website. She soon receives a magical stick and her life takes a turn, for better or worse. A good read especially if you read both together.