Franken Fran, Vols. 5-6

By Katsuhisa Kigitsu. Released in Japan by Akita Shoten, serialized in the magazine Champion Red. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Jocelyne Allen, Adapted by Shanti Whitesides.

One of the strengths of Franken Fran is how it can be both an anthology of one-off horror concepts and also have an increasingly diverse continuity to call on when it needs to. Sometimes this means that one chapter bleeds into the next, as with the actor who has Fran give him pheromones so he can have more personal magnetism, followed by his co-star getting surgery so that she looks like a shoujo manga cover. Sometimes it’s building on previous volumes, as with the increasingly bizarre and over the top stories of the superhero Sentinel and his many knockoff imitators. And sometimes it uses the regular cast of Franken Fran, as when Fran tries to stop the horror that is her sister Gavril by unleashing a never ending army of Kuho clones, which Fran apparently decides to do for no reason other than to show us how hilariously awful Kuho’s life is.


I mentioned Gavril, and there’s no question she’s one of the best things about this volume, as well as possibly the most popular character in North American fandom. Fran saves lives as a doctor but has morals and ethics that make no sense to us whatsoever; Veronica has a moral and ethical sense, but is a killing machine. Combine the two in the worst way and you get Gavril, who loves slaughtering for its own sake, and has a deep desire to kill off Fran. I was wondering how Seven Seas would translate her initial chapter, and readers who may have read the source via other means may rest assured that in this official volume Gavril’s potty mouth is present and correct. With a heap of four and five-letter swears, appalling violent carnage, and walking around with her top unzipped, Gavril is a walking M rating. (Franken Fran is still rated OT by Seven Seaas, in case you wondered.)

Franken Fran’s bread and butter is still its horror and humor, though, and both combine well here provided that you don’t try to sympathize with anyone involved. Several times in this book Fran is overwhelmed with emotion at what she considers to be a touching, tragic story (even when it isn’t), and manages to make it even worse. She is helped out a great deal by her clients, many of whom are horrible examples of humanity. Franken Fran shows us the seedy underbelly of human desires, and the greed, lust, and desire for power within so many people. If your amusement park is filled with mascots that will immediately kill once they stop hearing music… well, that fits in perfectly with the amusement park aesthetic! This volume doesn’t have as many moments when I laughed out loud, but it has many, many moments when I put my hand to my mouth and went “Oh my god.” It’s that kind of series. If you don’t mind horror (and be warned, the cockroaches make a return here) and love twisted humor, Franken Fran remains a must reda.

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  1. I love how messed up Franken Fran is, I really wish I could share it with one of my friends, but it’s just so not her sort of thing. But my comic shop hasn’t gotten in vol 3/4 or 5/6 yet! Now I’m behind! (Behind this series and like, three dozen others), but I’ll get them soon enough.

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