Franken Fran, Vols. 7-8

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.

More of everything. More outrageous humor, more appalling horror, more of the few sympathetic members of the cast having their lives destroyed in the worst way possible, more of the deeply horrible darkness that is humanity, and so many goddamn Sentinels that you’ll never want to watch sentai shows again. All of this is in the final omnibus of Franken Fran, where the author clearly knows things are wrapping up, and has therefore decided to make this Franken Fran’s Greatest hits. Which is fine, as that’s exactly what we read Franken Fran for. It’s over the top, it goes to far, it’s offensive but hilarious. And in the end you aren’t even sure if Fran is alive or dead.

Of course, sometimes things are moving a bit too fast. The author has a lot of stories to tell, and a limited number of pages in which to do so (he said in one afterword that he was forced to make one into a two-parter). The first story in the volume ends SO abruptly that I actually had to check to verify that we weren’t missing pages (and also gives us a bad end to another likable woman whose only crime is hanging around Fran too much, though like most of this ensemble cast she shows up right as rain again later). The art also seems a little messier than usual, as if it’s simply being drawn to too tight of a deadline. And sometimes the stories don’t really land – I admit that I’m sort of sick of the Sentinels, and didn’t need to see this much of their antics again.

The one story in here that stands out above all others – indeed, I suspect it to be the main reason fans clamored for this to be licensed in the first place – has Gavril hired to come to Fran and Veronica’s school and be a substitute teacher. We’ve seen teachers before who don’t act the part and dispense “real life” advice rather than platitudes, but Gavril takes this beyond eleven, telling guys the proper way to threaten rape on their fellow classmates, giving girls advice on how to get ahead in this world, and basically being the worst Great Teacher ever. Naturally, the kids all love her, mostly as, given that they’re in Franken Fran, the entire school is sort of deeply twisted to begin with. Other excellent chapters involve horror (Fran’s octopus specimen gets stolen, with amazingly dreadful results), humor (the continuing awfulness of every moment of Kuho’s life as a policewoman), or simply tragedy (the other best story in this volume, in which Veronica’s new friend at school takes agency against the adults who are gang-raping her in a particularly vengeful way).

The volume caps off with a dream sequence, after Fran is trapped on an ocean liner that sinks to the bottom of the sea. She dreams of the entire cast coming out to thank her for everything she’s done to them – sorry, I mean for them – over the years. Okita is in a human body, Kuho (and her clones) are happy, hell, even Veronica is briefly happy (so you can tell it’s a dream). And, like the first story in the volume, the ending is sort of ambiguous. Did Fran actually wake up and get rescued? Or is she just dreaming she’s back at the operating table? Franken Fran was a grand horror/comedy mess, and while I think it may have offended more people than it impressed, I always admired its moxie. I’ll miss it.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind