Last week Kate Dacey wrote a very interesting Manga Hall of Shame post (a post that was picked up by the New Yorker, so a round of applause to Kate!). It inspired me to write one of my own. (The wife says, “In the *hopes* of getting picked up by the New Yorker.” lol)
Kate’s list dealt with English language manga only and I decided to do the same for myself. I’m a little challenged by my own brain’s self-preservation tactic of wiping away memories of emotionally scarringly bad reading material. So here’s the ground rules I chose for this list.
1) No hentai.
Hentai is almost always awful. Either laughably bad or repulsively bad. Yes, there’s a couple of decent titles, but it’s not hard to find really awful hentai. The trick is to find *not* awful hentai.
2) Translated titles only.
I read *so* much manga that it would be an enormous list if I included Japanese-language titles.
3) Titles with Yuri.
Because I can’t remember most of the really truly awful stuff I’ve read, I’m relying on my reviews here to serve as my external memory.
Therefore, without further ado, I am going to steal Kate’s schtick and present my Yuri Manga Hall of Shame.
I don’t have the vaguest clue what possessed Tokyopop to publish this. Books cost money and I can think of dozens of writers and artists off the top of my head who are more talented than these. The story was a lame parody, if it was meant to be parody, it was an ill-conceived mess if it wasn’t meant to be parody.
Senseless, cliched, tedious, with tortured sentences, really average art and a plot that belittled women with every panel. Tokyopop should have paid us to read it.
It’s almost not fair to make fun of this book. The story is turgid, the characters unlikable, the genre is guro and horror and the art is detailed without being good.
This series has so many cliches that words like “bad” don’t even apply. It’s hard to get really upset about the predatory lesbian demon teacher seducing a student when *everyone* in the book is so thoroughly unlikeable that in doing so, she becomes the only character with a personality at all. My father’s summation of “It stinks” is not only brutally accurate, it again calls into question *why* (WHY!?!) any company would spend money on this piece of excrement. If it was because it was bundled with a good title, I really feel for Tokyopop. If it’s just that someone there thought it would sell, then that reorg they went through could not have come fast enough.
Unfocused narrative, unfollowable art, loads of “funny” sexual harrassment and an obsession with women’s underwear that borders on the pathological. The story is about a pile of really awful people with a lot of power doing really awful things to ordinary humans with no power. That’s nasty, but not really objectionable. What’s objectionable is that the “romance” is a great example of Stochkholm syndrome. Instead of loathing Lappan for all the pain and suffering he causes, Alice rewards this kind of unacceptable behavior with her affection.
It really worries me that people buy and enjoy this kind of thing. If this is “entertainment,” I fear for humanity.
Let’s set aside the loli catgirl twincest thing for a second. Seriously.
This is a story about a girl who obsessed about her cat and, when the cat dies, it comes back to life as a clone of the girl it was always hiding from and is now obsessed with wanting to be loved, both physically and emotionally, by her.
I’m sorry but, that simply does not make *any* sense. None whatsoever.
In fact, I don’t know how any reader can make it make sense in their head – unless that reader simply really likes loli catgirl twincest and is retro-justifying this by pretending it’s a cute and sweet story about love.
Kate’s Hall of Shame had a common thread. The stories were really just thinly veiled vehicles of hatred of women, with accompanying violence and sexual violence. My list also has a unifying theme – the stories make no sense.
Alice combines truly atrocious art and one of the very worst stories I’ve ever read. It meanders between past and present, reality and fantasy and all of the plot complications are ignored for service. The ending is ridiculous, ham-handed and inexplicable, but is acceptable because it stops everyone from talking any more.
The only thing that could have made the end good is if everyone in the book died.
And, finally, in the number one spot – the *worst* translated manga with even a smidgen of Yuri that I have read is….
I liked the anime. I loved My Otome the anime. But oh my goodness, what an utter piece of crap the manga was. Again, a terrible story, poorly executed. The hardly-even thinly veiled hatred of women was galling; the men in this series were weak, spineless, grasping and repulsive.
The art was crowded and hard to follow, but that was all right because we really didn’t want to know the details anyway. I feel bad for the translator, because it’s not their fault that the dialogue was senseless.
The original was not good, translation into English did not add any positive qualities to what I consider the absolute worst translated manga I have ever read.
And now, I open the floor to you, my dear readers. What is your candidate for the worst translated manga you’ve ever read? Share your nominations!