Actually Reading the Franken Fran Covers

One of the quirkiest things about Franken Fran has gotta be those deceptive tankobon volume covers.  Going by the pictures on each jacket cover, you’d think the series is all about scantily-clad buxom babes running around (it isn’t). The covers deceive you as to the content of the manga.

But there’s a second level of deception.  If you take off the jacket you find the actual book cover is something totally different,  like a fantasy x-ray view of what was portrayed in the jacket…and you discover that the girls posing so nicely are really a monster and its victim, a captive and her captor or some such thing.

But there’s even more going on in the covers.  In every volume the jacket flap next to the cover has a quote from a famous person, usually on medical matters.  It’s this text I want to talk about, since I think a lot of Franken Fran fans don’t know about it.

VOLUME I

The entire Hippocratic Oath is on the jacket.  If you know the sort of doctor that Franken Fran is, the idea of her taking this oath is bound to make you giggle.  Honestly.

VOLUME II

The quote is from Montaigne’s Essays (III 13):

“If they [i.e. doctors] do no other good, they do this at least, that they prepare patients betimes for death, by little and little undermining and cutting off the use of life.” (tr. Charles Cotton)

Is this is a a more accurate description of Fran’s work?  I’m not sure.

VOLUME III

The quote is from Nicolas Chamfort’s Maxims and Thoughts (no. 123):

“Living is a sickness to which sleep provides relief every sixteen hours. It’s a palliative. The remedy is death.” (tr. unknown to me)

Hmmmm….another one to ponder.

VOLUME IV

The quote is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act V Sc. 1):

“Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.”

I’m really tempted to leave this one alone too, but then I’ll be accused of writing a lazy post.  Many of Fran’s patients have infected minds, and they come to Fran so she will execute upon them those unnatural deeds that they think will render them happy, though more often than not what they end up doing breeding unnatural troubles.  All in all a very honest quote to adorn the manga with, though it’s taken totally out of context in terms of Macbeth!

VOLUME V

The quote is from Pascal’s Thoughts (no. 175):

“We know ourselves so little, that many think they are about to die when they are well, and many think they are well when they are near death.” (tr. W.F. Trotter)

I’m not impressed by this quote, Pascal, you can do better.

VOLUME VI

The quote is from Montaigne’s Essays (II 3):

“’Tis a disease particular to man, and not discerned in any other creatures, to hate and despise itself.” (tr. Charles Cotton)

This goes back to what I said about the Volume IV quote.  I guess many of these maxims actually describe the series quite well :D

VOLUME VII

The quote is from Kierkegaard’s Sickness unto Death:

“Despair is the sickness unto death, this agonizing contradiction, this sickness in the self, everlastingly to die, to die and yet not to die, to die the death.”

This seems to be a key book for the Japanese manga/anime community.  Neon Genesis Evangelion has an episode named after the title, and Saeko in High School of the Dead reads the same book (in the manga).  The quote itself points to life, death and that in-between space that Fran likes to put her patients in sometimes.

~ by animekritik on December 31, 2011.

4 Responses to “Actually Reading the Franken Fran Covers”

  1. Brilliant stuff. I’m glad you shared it. :)

  2. TSUD is a rather bizarre book for the Japanese to fixate on, given how utterly it is rooted in Christianity. :/

    I wouldn’t even call it a good book for quoting, given how the text is knotted up in on itself in these spasmodic little overwrought loops of thought.

    (Are you still reading Soul Eater, by the way? I came here wondering if you’d anything to say about “A simple story about killing people”.)

    • That’s Kierkegaard’s style for you. I’ve only read Fear and Trembling, and it is fascinating, but it’s so tough precisely because of that loop quality to it you mentioned.

      I stopped reading Soul Eater when Soul Eater Not! came out. No clue what’s going on!

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