Franken Fran 58-59: All About Themes
Author Katsuhisa Kigitsu is creative enough to fool us for a while (especially if we wish to be fooled) but there’s no doubt about it: the manga is obsessed with a tiny set of themes and he pursues them relentlessly.
I’ve talked about Inspector Kuho and her cloning and how this multiplicity thing is a big issue for Kigitsu. I’ve talked about how ethics, or rather, the futility of all ethical systems, is a big issue for Kigitsu. And I’ve talked about how Veronica’s latent homosexuality is also an issue for Kigitsu. These latest chapters keep working all of these themes.
Chapter 58 tells the story of an alliance between the 4 Sentinels. You’ll remember that these “superheroes” have been genetically enhanced by Fran to do all sorts of feats of strength. Sentinel I was a typical do-gooder hero. Sentinel II ended up killing doctors after having the epiphany that overpopulation would doom the planet. The next Sentinel, called Vengeance, does good deeds on the surface, but is a real rotten guy at heart. He goes so far as to set up massacres in order to rescue the survivors and “save the day”. When the episode starts, Sentinel I and II are allies, and Vengeance is closely working with the rookie (and still relatively decent) Sentinel IV. The pairs fight each other.
Logically speaking, since this mangaka hates simplicity and unity, the only way Kigitsu could ever allow for the 4 Sentinels to become one team is to create more Sentinels to line up against them. This is exactly what happens in this chapter: powerful men in business and politics catch on to Fran’s amazing surgeries and decide to get rid of the Sentinels by enhancing themselves. Now we have the 100 Sentinels Corp!
This Sentinel story is great. Just when you think it can’t get any worse it does. And the best thing about is that as the sins, atrocities and abominations pile up along the Sentinel trail, we keep being reminded of the one person ethically responsible for it all: our heroine, Fran herself. It’s scrumptious. Fran has two sisters: a monster and an assassin. And yet, she, the doctor, has tons and tons more blood on her hands than the other two put together.
Mentioning the sisters is a good segue to Chapter 59. Veronica has a bit of a friendly crush on a classmate (a girl, of course) and Gavrill does her best to make the relationship as painful to her kid sister as possible. In short, Gavrill prevents Veronica from avenging this friend when she dies, knowing that killing is the one thing that Veronica knows and thus the only way she would be able to cope with the pain of her loss. In a lovely twist, we find out that Fran has (unwittingly) helped Veronica out by aiding the dead woman avenge her own demise.
So it’s a very good chapter, but frankly, the many drawings of the three sisters’ facial expressions are a bit more fascinating than the plot line 😀