MANGA REVIEW | "Blood on the Tracks" - Volume Five
I should’ve expected this from Shuzo Oshimi. After all, most of the women in The Flowers of Evil had their issues. So why did I think that after Seiichi’s Mommy was thwarted by him and Fukiishi, that things would turn around for him? No, Blood on the Tracks can’t give any readers hope for normalcy or rays of sunshine; it can only piss on the dreams of those hoping things will get better for Seiichi! And like some sort of masochist, I’m relishing this poor bastard's pain!
Volume Five of Blood on the Tracks starts off right when the last volume ended, with Seiichi and Fukiishi hiding in the fields away from Mommy’s eyes. She’s gone, but Seiichi has no idea what to do next. Fukiishi gives her crush an idea: stay overnight at her place, away from her father’s prying eyes and Mommy’s suffocating attitude. What follows is a night of awakening, as Seiichi experiences his first true love and explodes with...erm...something sticky.
At first, it seems like Seiichi is given a moment to breathe as he’s in Fukiishi’s room. The two of them share a bed, as they hold hands, embrace, and kiss. What follows is a bout of confusion, as Seiichi pops while flashbacks with Mommy play in his head. Even as he’s in a realm of happiness, it appears that the evil that has hovered over Seiichi almost his entire life will not go away much easily.
The situation becomes more difficult when Mommy appears at Fukiishi’s doorstep, desperately looking for her son. She’s in anguish, as she blames herself for what’s occurred. And yet, even as she cries her heart out, Seiichi senses that these are nothing more than crocodile tears. Even going so far as to break open a fingernail doesn’t sway him from emerging from his hiding spot.
Which then leads to what happens next with Fukiishi. It quickly becomes apparent that she has her own issues to deal with. While she hasn’t reached the levels of insanity that Mommy has, Seiichi clearly sees that she’s capable of such awfulness. The reason: the look in her eyes, which Oshimi can capture in a manga panel while saying so much without a single line of dialogue.
I’ve come to the realization that Blood on the Tracks will be played out like Telltale’s The Walking Dead games. No matter what route Seiichi takes — be it going with Mommy or running away with Fukiishi — there’s bound to be some suffering. And yet, how Oshimi frames it all makes it increasingly difficult to walk away from it all. By the end of its fifth volume, Blood on the Tracks will no doubt have you trapped into reading through the entire series to see how things will end.
Promotional consideration provided by Tomo Tran of Kodansha Manga