Have you ever read a synopsis for a story and thought to yourself, “Yes! This is the story for me!” I have. It was with a manga called “Mel Kano.” After reading it, I’ve come to a single conclusion:
It’s not the story for me.
Now, something to note immediately is that the synopsis of this story is like a leaf floating upon an ocean. It tells so little about the actual story that it may as well be a lie. A boy and a girl meet in real life for the first time after six months of speaking online, which eventually evolved into a relationship. They weren’t like the other was expecting, so they just kinda fall apart from there. Sweet.
That’s chapter one. Here’s chapters two through thirty-four (or five, if you read the bonus chapter): a secret organization called F-Eye, which runs with some internet… site… thing… called F.I.L. Gate, recruits young people straight out of high school to take on tasks and troubles that go on on the internet, because why not? Essentially, cyber police. Does the synopsis tell you of something this odd?
Right off the bat, are we supposed to take this seriously? A couple kids and, like, three other people (I’m not joking) run a system of cyber police that helps keep the internet in check. The internet. Y’know, like, billions of people? Who browse it every millisecond of every hour of every day? And everything they take on is stupid shit anyway. Oh, no! Someone is making money off of scams! Ahhh! My online boyfriend whom I’ve never met suddenly isn’t returning my calls! Can you track him down for me?! Someone’s selling drugs and stuff! Let’s catch the bad guys!
This is a common theme of Mel Kano: bad guys are bad. Good guys are good. Good guys defeat bad guys by punching them in the face and spouting inspirational shit. I’m so enthralled by this linear storytelling. Please give me more. I love it.
As this manga continues upon its derailment from reality, another thing becomes very apparent: it has no idea how to “troll.” Y’know those anti-cyber bullying ads that show “trolls” saying stupid shit like “die u bitch lol?” This is about five times worse than those ads. Not only do these trolls use perfect grammar (aside from the use of acronyms), but they don’t even swear. The most threatening message in this entire manga was “I’m going to kill you.” Wow. Very intimidating, random person on the internet. I totally don’t say the same thing to my siblings almost everyday. Hell, some of the responses that were considered “troll-ish” were just people disagreeing with the original poster’s post.
There was an instance where one of the characters were asking people online what she should do because her online husband wasn’t logging onto some roleplaying dating site or something. She got a few responses that she stated were “all troll responses.” One of the responses said “Please come back to reality.” Is this supposed to be a troll response? The guy was stating a genuine answer and wasn’t even a dick about it. It’s like someone asking online if they could become a movie star with zero acting talent, and someone responding with “No, you need to have acting talent.” It’s shit like this that makes me cringe whenever I see people trying to demonize the internet. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re being a troll. Just because someone goes “lol” all the time doesn’t mean it’s an accurate representation of the internet. Mel Kano never made much sense to begin with, but their impression of the internet and the bulk of its users is hysterical.
They even touched upon the fucking console wars.
The cast of Mel Kano is somewhat funny. There’s the main guy, main girl, back-up main girl, and everyone else. Main guy is violent and honest with no one, especially himself. He can only be frank over the internet. I find this hilarious. Main girl is violent-ish and a tad more honest with people, including herself. Not enough to have an actual relationship with the main guy, but that would be too “boring” to read, y’know? To fix this, let’s just say that they’ve already known each other for half a year so that we can skip to the romantic tension part of the friendship. Sweet! Back-up main girl is the main girl’s replacement for about half the story, but is tossed aside because the main guy is still in love with the main girl. But to make the decision harder, they decide to make the back-up main girl Jesus Christ. She has no fucking flaws. At all. She’s gorgeous, has a gentle personality, and proves to be overwhelmingly loyal to the boy she loves. Did I mention that her character shows up out of fucking nowhere? Seriously! Main guy just suddenly gets a message from her going “HEY I WANNA MEET UP” and then they do and she falls in love with him on first sight. YEAH, OKAY.
Every other characters serves their role like good little puppets.
There’s nothing special about the art. The only noteworthy thing about it is that it tries to re-create RPG websites, and does a decent job. Otherwise, pretty standard.
This has happened to me a couple times in the past, but I hate when it happens. The way a synopsis is able to trick me into thinking a story will progress one way, but ends up progressing in the opposite direction. When I began this story, I was expecting a sweet story of online love with bumps along the way. What I got was a bunch of kids fending off “trolls” and other criminals with a secret organization, with overused “DOES SHE LIKE ME? DOES SHE NOT? LET’S NOT TALK TO HER AND FIND OUT!” tropes that manga is way too fond of. Unrealistic. Uninspired. Unrelatable (Surprisingly). Unfunny. Unappealing. Understands nothing.
WHO THE FUCK HIRES KIDS TO ESSENTIALLY BE POLICE OFFICERS WITH NO PRIOR TRAINING?!
Personal Score: D+
Critical Score: D