God's Child

One day, while I was in class a few years ago, I was a little bored. So I asked around for some suggestions of manga to read online to pass the time. What resulted was an eleven chapter manga that I speed read in about twenty minutes and was some of the weirdest and goriest things I had ever seen in manga (this coming from someone who doesn't read a whole lot of manga)! As the weird horror fanatic that I am, I fell in love with it right away. Cut to now, and I think I am overdue for a reread! Perfect timing for Halloween too!

*WARNING* This review contains graphic sexual and gory images and discussions that may not be suitable for audiences or people with poor stomachs. If this isn't your cup of tea, don't read this review or the subsequent manga. Just don't.

The story tells the life of a child born of his mother's excrement and raised as one with no emotion and no interest in being a part of society. However, this twisted child gains pleasure and ecstasy from the victims he kills and his role of being a messiah-like figure to younger boys as he slowly reaches adult hood, becoming the leader of a kind of cult where they all gain pleasure from killing and each other.

I know the summary for this manga doesn't have much to go on, and that's mostly because it's only eleven chapters long. The story captures the pieces of this boy's life in little moments and memories that are what either display his being or help influence his mentality in the future. In the early chapters, they even place five or six events into one chapter just to fit plenty of backstory in. Normally this could be a bad idea considering you're cramming a lot into a small chapter. However, with the focus on the absolutely disturbing, and often times rather disgusting, these small vignettes of this boy's life just make much more sense and doesn't take too much time to delve deeper for the sake of the end result as well as the tolerance of the reader as there is a lot of gory and sexual content, including homosexuality. For those wondering, no this manga does not portray homosexuals in a positive light, but that's more because of the whole eventual cult thing. It's one of those things that doesn't do anything to paint homosexuality as bad, but relies more on the context of the story as a whole in order to give us this end result. And what an end result it is, because while the boy appears to be well off leading his group of young murderous boys, it's only one fatal flaw that ends everything in an instant. Some people may refer to this as a kind of tragic flaw that you typically see in tragic heroes in both fiction and theatre, however we all know that this boy is no hero. In fact, you can't be too sure as to if he is a villain either. Sure his acts are very heinous, but there are times where you may question which side he is on depending on your point of view and your own morals. Here's an example: while in elementary school, the boy witnesses a female classmate being bullied on a daily basis. Out of complete interest in the situation, seeing the girl as a different kind of prey than the classmates do, he offers to help the girl stop the bullying. How does he do this? By murdering several classmates. To society, his actions make him a villain. Everyone knows that killing is completely wrong and you should be punished for it. But let's see this from a different perspective, that of the bully victim. The boy's actions helped her, stopping her torment. To an extent, the boy is a hero to her. While his motives are purely for his own twisted curiosity, the result of his intended actions can be two fold and can blur the line between who is good and who isn't. Although, admittedly, in this example, the girl doesn't have so much of a happy ending either.

What also really helps God's Child become even more disturbing is the art style that's used. It's fairly unknown as to when this manga was published. According to Anilist, it's January 1st, 1970, however that's probably more because they are unaware of the actual publication date. Considering the other works the brother/sister team of Kyoudai Nishioka had published, and when they were, I'd gauge this manga to be from the mid to late 2000s. The art style is not unique to God's Child, alone, as this is the preferred style of the brother/sister team. The character designs remind me, to an extent, of the art work of Pablo Picasso with disfigured portraits and, sometimes, disturbing images. Kyoudai Nishioka does not hold anything back, either, as there is more than just gory elements but uncensored ones as we do get naked characters varying from raped and strangled women (yes that's a thing, and I'm sorry if this surprised anyone) to our leading character's little "friend" hanging out from birth to elementary school. Nothing is kept hidden away and everything is left in the open regardless of who or what the cost may be. With the content of the story the way it is, it's clear that having an art style to match this will help it stand out even more and add a bit more emphasis to the phrase, "this manga is not for everyone."
See what I mean?
Story and art style aside, what is this manga trying to do? It's a little hard to say since this is a very short manga. What's the most clear is that we get a look into the mind of a rather twisted individual. If you really want to compare the boy in God's Child to someone else we may know from anime and manga, then Monster's Johan Liebert comes to mind. Granted the methods both characters use are different and some of their personality traits are as well, but at the core both characters are rather detached from society and just want to see the world crumble into nothing. Johan has the charisma to get other people to follow him and do what he asks of them, and, similarly, so does the boy; having the world see them as a messiah of sorts. They both appear to follow the rules of society as they are depicted to be, giving them both the ability to deceive their peers into thinking they are proper members of society. That's where the similarities end. The boy displays his sexuality much more openly and it becomes a part of his desire to keep from being bored and making everything much more pleasurable to him. Johan has more of an interest in the human mind and psyche in order to manipulate rather than for his own personal needs. While this is the more obvious difference between the two characters, there's a slightly more subtle yet important one that plays a part in God's Child. Emotion. While I did say that both the boy and Johan are very detached from society, the boy, who claims to have no emotion, still retains one form of emotion by the end of the story; and one that Johan does not possess. The boy has fear. From the time he is growing in his mother's womb, up until the very last moments of the story, we see those twinges of fear the boy carries with him. Johan doesn't have fear and will just go into a situation head first with little regard for his own safety! Meanwhile, towards the end, the boy feels he is losing control and his fear returns to him, ending with, of course, his tragic end. It's that one piece, so subtly placed into this story that made all the difference in the end while still putting this sadistic individual on display in order to show a dark side that you don't often get to see portrayed in media.

If you managed to make it to this point in the review, I commend you because this isn't an easy one to get through. The first time I read God's Child, it took me everything in my power to keep from squirming while in class. This is a very disturbing piece that gives a small look into a Charlie Manson type of character, all the while, creating something that makes you extremely uncomfortable thanks to the rather unique art style helping it out. The horror fanatic in me thinks this is a wonderful short read into the mind of a disturbed individual, while every other part of me is going, "what in the flying f**k did I just read?!" It may seem all over the place at times, however the end result gives us a story of a sadistic individual who sees the world in a very different way, and just wants to let it fall to ruin. This one is really easy to read through so long as you have the stomach for it. Otherwise, you may not like what you see.

Uhh.... Have fun with that!


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