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|| Charisma ||

4 volumes
BL, dark-urban
Publisher: BeXBoy Comics
ISBN: 483521160X, 4835211618, 4835211626, 4835211634
Mangaka: ISHIHARA Satoru

Other manga on this site by Satoru Ishihara: 38 Dousen, Afuresou na Pool, Shounen wa Asu o Kurosu, Tokyo Boogie-Woogie, Watashi no Kakurega e Douzo, Yarouze!

It is a multi-perspective story following several different characters. There are points in the third and fourth volumes that make me believe that Ishihara may have originally intended for it to be a longer series, but I can't be certain. [Note: A sequel series is being published right now. Yay for my brilliance!] The central character is Archer Rogue (and some of these katakana names are approximations, sorry). This series tries to show the gritty realism of New York City, with its racial problems and poverty problems, and street-gang violence-- the whole bit. Of course it's not too realistic. Anyway, without giving too much away, Archer's entire family is a bit off-kilter. His father Ed is bi-polar due to physical abuse from his father as a child. As a result, he beats Archer at times ("for his own good"), or swings to a scared, child-like persona and is incapable of even feeding himself. Archer's childhood was understandably difficult, and he's a rather closed-off, violent person as a result. His older half-brother Murphy is mentally retarded.

The story follows Archer (street name: El Gato) as he works with Deano to infiltrate the drug cartel that has a long-standing grudge against his gang. Along the way he meets Ken, not knowing that he is also infiltrating the cartel (for the police). It contains lots of conflict between groups, inside of groups, and with seeming random strangers. The ending had a psychological depth to it that sent shivers up my spine. This story is not for the weak of heart. Don't be expecting wild sexual romps either; Ishihara's trademark seems to be UST.

The stories in the first volume are in published order, rather than chronological: the first manga begins with Archer being released from prison for shooting his father. Then it goes back to a young 15-year-old Archer and how it all started.

What I Thought:
The art style is different from her usual style; deliberately so. It allows for more racial distinctions than the typical manga style (i.e.- Korean, Chinese, Italian, Caucasian). Also, her style was still developing and changing over the four or five years that she wrote this series.

I might venture to say that it is now my favorite of Ishihara's works. This is because Charisma is a series that is supported by the trauma of its characters more than anything else. It's not a manga to try to picture-read your way through. [Note: Highly ironic (and patronizing) that I wrote this four years or so ago, as I couldn't really read Japanese all that well back then. You'll notice a lot of corrections to information on these pages as I re-read this series and translate it.]


Vol. 1 >> Charisma | El Gato | Author's notes & extras
Vol. 2 >> Charisma 2 pt. 1 | pt. 2 | pt. 3 | pt. 4 | pt. 5
Vol. 3 >> Charisma 3 pt. 1 | pt. 2 | pt. 3 | pt. 4 | pt. 5
Vol. 4 >> Charisma 4 pt. 1 | pt. 2 | pt. 3 | pt. 4 | pt. 5 | The Eternal 2 Minutes and 30 Seconds

A sequel was published in BeXBoy Magazine, called Heavy-Duty, but the tankoubon release has been postponed for over a year now. I wibble along with the Japanese fans. Where is it?

The BeXBoy Magazine realease information, for anyone who might want it:
2001 / 4~6, 10
2002 / 4~5