HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | A Grim, Dark Childhood Escalates "Takopi’s Original Sin"

MANGA REVIEW | A Grim, Dark Childhood Escalates "Takopi’s Original Sin"

MANGA REVIEW | A Grim, Dark Childhood Escalates "Takopi’s Original Sin"

WARNING: The following manga contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts or feelings, you are not alone, and there is free, 24/7 help. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers specific resources and confidential support for those in crisis or emotional distress. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org at any time for free, 24/7 help when you or anyone you know needs help.

Anyone could wish for an item can help erase all of life’s greatest problems. Imagine having something like a magic wand that can solve anything with a mere wave of it. But what if it’s an issue that’s caused by something far deeper than any quick fix can heal up? Takopi’s Original Sin, a short series from newcomer Taizan5, showcases a tale of an out-of-this-world being coming face-to-face with a far-too-real troublesome situation.

The octopus-like alien is one day found by fourth-grader Shizuka. After feeding it some bread, the young girl dubs the creature Takopi. In return for helping it, Takopi swears to make Shizuka happy. But Shizuka’s got a lot of problems on her plate, ranging from school bullying and a neglectful mother to a father that’s seemingly out of the picture. The only thing that’s able to put a smile on Shizuka’s face is her dog Chappy.

However, Shizuka comes home one day, face beaten and with Chappy’s dog collar in her hand. Takopi, not understanding the situation, offers Shizuka a Reconciliation Ribbon, which helps people become friends. Shizuka takes the ribbon, and uses it to hang herself. Unsure of what happened, Takopi goes back in time to save Shizuka and keep her from losing Chappy and her life. That’s when things turn for the worst, as Shizuka’s biggest problem — classmate and bully Marina — brings a whole new set of trouble.

To call the story of Takopi’s Original Sin complicated is an understatement. On top of bullying, the series showcases the hardships of dealing with broken families. Marina’s dad is having a tryst with Shizuka’s mom, a key reason behind the former bullying the latter. The fact that Shizuka has no control over the situation makes the whole thing worse for her, as other classmates bully her via scribbling awful things on her desk. And then, the big twist happens.

The narrative goes from an anti-bully story to a full-blown crime coverup. What happens between Shizuka, Marina, and fellow classmate Naoki adds several layers to the problems that these three students are going through. Takopi attempts to find some sorts of solutions for these complex issues, but all it does is add fuel to the fire. Marina’s parents reach a breaking point in their relationship, Naoki deals with being in his older brother’s shadow, and Shizuka keeps losing more of her sanity as time goes by.

It all leads to the reveal of why Takopi is there in the first place. Their origin tale, and how they’re connected to Shizuka and Marina, is a very unique twist to the whole situation. With that being said, it doesn’t take away from the sting of everything this manga threw at its readers. There’s very little feel-good elements to be found in Takopi’s Original Sin; it’s 400+ pages of heartache, depression, and soul-crushing.

And yet, I couldn’t put it down for a second. Not since I first read Shuzo Oshimi’s Blood on the Tracks have I read a manga that pulled me into such an uncomfortable world. Every moment in this series will make you feel trapped by the sadness and disaster these characters experience. But the worse it gets, the more you’ll want to see what happens next. The fact that the visuals look kinda cute — especially Takopi’s design — only adds to the disturbing aspects that happen in Taizan5’s story.

Takopi’s Original Sin is not a manga for everyone. Its narrative is not for the faint of heart, and what happens to a key character won’t be easy to stomach. However, those who can handle these aspects will be treated to a tale about grave consequences and troubled childhoods. Although there isn’t a moral to wrap it up, Takopi’s Original Sin shows that life can’t always be one where one learns from one’s mistakes. In worst-case scenarios, trouble begets more trouble until, well, you’ll see for yourself if you read this manga.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

Share your 2 cents

Share With:
Rate This Article

The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)