I will admit I have little understanding of what is actually popular on this site other than Narutaki talking about graphic design and Narutaki talking about sex. This explains the fact that when we retired the Manga of the Month last year we discovered it was apparently extremely popular. It just so happened no one ever mentioned it. Ever. So as Natalie Merchant once said we give em what they want. In 2011 Manga of the Month rises from the ashes like Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix. The Final Denouement is being retired as we try to put out more solo articles on Tuesday through Thursday. Since many of them would have been final denouements in their own right the Final Denouement has become somewhat redundant. Also like a phoenix the tears shed by Manga of the Month have immense healing powers. Hopefully these articles will get everyone to pick up some manga they might have easily overlooked considering how much there is to choose from.
IKKI has always been VIZ’s attempt to try to broaden the manga market by letting people sample some more offbeat seinen series that would otherwise go over looked. With a few exceptions what sells in the U.S. is shonen fighting and shojo romance. So while adults might read manga so far most adult manga has not caught on here. Afterschool Charisma is a quirky manga that has some appeal of the popular genres that sell books in the US while still distinctly being off the beaten track to hopefully broaden some reader’s horizons.
St. Kleio is a most unusual experiential school. All the student are the clones of famous historical figures who have been gathered together in hopes that with proper care they can surpass the accomplishments of their originals. Along side these luminary and sometimes infamous copies is Shiro Kamiya, the only student who is not a clone. When the clone of John F. Kennedy is assassinated Shiro learns that everything at the school is not exactly what it seems. There are crazy cults, Byzantine conspiracies, and deadly experiments lurking in the shadows. Maybe even Shiro himself is part of some greater sinister machinations.
I usually see this manga compared to the old Clone High cartoon on MTV. They are both set at government controlled high schools that have characters who act silly in humorous contrast to their original historical personas. But at the same time despite all the wacky hi-jinks in Afterschool Charisma we see from the first chapter there is a disturbing undercurrent to the events at the school. This manga seems like a bizarre and goofy Hetalia at school but quickly turns into a taut thriller. It is definitely worth a look if you want something different that is able to mix humor and intrigue in equal measure.