During my quest to find older more intelligent shojo (girl’s) manga I headed back into the depths of time and was pleasantly surprised to find some rather interesting stories, authors and even became aware of the struggles that shojo manga had in the 60s and 70s. One of my favorite manga- ka from this time would Moto Hagio, who recently was the first female manga ka to win the Medal of honor (Japan) with Purple Ribbon in honor of academic or artistic achievement. I started going through her work and came across A cruel god reigns.
The story is about a boy called Jeremy who is sexually abused by his step father and how he overcomes and deals with this abuse. Not only that but the abuse drives Jeremy to kill his step father and accidentally his own mother and later in the manga revels that his mother actually knew about his abuse but did nothing to stop it. I can’t imagine many people would want to immediately read this but it is honestly one of the best manga I have ever read, the way it’s written, the way the characters act to their situations and each other is freakishly realistic and you can tell that the author has done a lot of research into this particular subject. After reading interviews with the manga-ka she become heavily interested the subject of mothers that allow their children to be abused after reading many psychology books. While reading these books she found many of these cases and had a very hard time understanding why these women would allow their children to go through such things. A cruel god reigns is basically how Moto Hagio tried getting her head around this subject.
Ian (left) and Jeremy (right), two of the main characters of A cruel god reigns
So far I can say that this story portrays such a delicate subject in such a direct way that some people may be slightly disturbed by the content shown. I mentioned before that the story is realistic and compared to a lot of manga out there but here, the steps taken to advance the story and emotions that Jeremy feels are very real and you could imagine all this happening in his situation. The only time where the story slips is when Ian becomes a bigger part in the story, where Jeremy can be even more understood and more likable, Ian seems to constantly be uncertain about where he stands with Jeremy and spends a lot of the time in the story overly thinking about things yet making mistakes. Even though this can be seen as being realistic it appears to me it just seems to be overly dramatic, it may have more to do with that fact that I find Ian humorous than anything.
I’m not entirely sure how this manga will end. I kind of want it to be like the ending of Kaze to ki no uta and have Jeremy not be able to overcome his issues and die because of it, but then it would be nice to see someone overcome such an ordeal and live a happy life. Either way I’ll be looking forward to the end eagerly ^^
Where to read all the series so far: http://www.gao-subs.com/manga/z/zankoku_na_kami_ga_shihaisuru/
Carfish, the tumblr account of the people currently translating the series: http://carfisher.tumblr.com/