by Pink Psycho
Published in the U.S. by Tokyopop
Slugline: A shallow tour of a teenage wasteland.
This is saved from getting a Dishonorable Mention by fairly good artwork.
Kaito has settled comfortably into the role of a whipping boy as a teenager, and apparently can't think of anything to do besides lay around the house provoking his father or lay around his favorite club looking for other people to emotionally abuse him. It's just a matter of time before easy meat like Kaito is picked up on by a more substantial predator like Ren, lured in with a bit of manipulation and stroking, and then it falls apart.
This could have been an ugly look at the real world of abuse, but instead the author wants the reader to feel some kind of sympathy for Ren without putting enough work into describing Ren's motivations. And Kaito's change of heart speaks more to his lack of self than any real change. Thus, the ending rings false after a string of predictable incidents that don't convey much in the way of "romance."
I was never a punk or a goth, but I also feel vaguely insulted on their behalf because this story will, in the eyes of a parent, reinforce the idea that punk/goth kids are lost and vulnerable and can be "saved" by getting them into a more normal wardrobe. Most of the people I knew who wore lots of black or dyed their hair were far more vibrant and stable than the go-with-the-crowd types.
In the End is available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.