Horror MMF License Request: Franken Fran
There are plenty of great horror series others are writing about, but I can never get enough. So I will spend my first entry in a probably vain request describing why an American licensor should bring over Franken Fran in English.
So why should we see a release of Franken Fran?
Because it’s basically a horror-comedy version of BlackJack. The end.
Alright, so maybe you’re not familiar with Osamu Tezuka’s classic outlaw doctor series, which is a shame. Vertical has put out all of the last volume out so far, and it should be finished up next year. There’s really no excuse not to read it. BlackJack is a iconic Japanese superhero, sort of a Batman figure who rights wrongs through medicine. But Tezuka’s works always tend toward the moralistic, the humanistic, and the sometimes melodramatic.
But what if you want something more nihilistic, misanthropic, and darkly humorous? Fran is what the doctor ordered!
Assistant to an unseen master, Fran is kind of a deranged Pinoko. Devoted, noble, and with the best of intentions, her attempts to right wrongs and cure disease through Franken-science tends to go kind of awry in ironic, twisted, Twilight Zone-esque ways. Sometimes villains get their comeuppance. Other times innocents get caught up in her enthusiasm, but it’s all part of the twisted fun. Fran’s assistant Okita always tries to talk her out of her more hair-brained schemes, but she rarely listens. Perhaps it’s because he’s a talking dog.
Still, horror manga has had a mixed reception in the US, and Franken Fran lacks vampires. The best selling horror manga currently is probably High School of the Dead, a raunchy mix of ultraviolence and fanservice. While Franken Fran can be gory, it lacks fanservice. However, that’s where the covers come in!
While female fanservice doesn’t seem to quite have the pull in the manga world as yaoi and male-fanservice do, it might pull in fans of otaku series like Raingun, Haruhi, Spice and Wolf, and Highschool of the Dead. If it’s too much of a turn-off, the covers can easily be replaced, and you’re still left with a clever, darkly humorous horror series.
Franken Fran is by Katsuhisa Kigitsu, and its 7 volumes (so far) have been published by Akita Shoten.
Now, onto currently-licensed manga…