This post doesn’t actually contain spoilers, but it might be good to go and read Shuumatsu no Laughter (also known as Laughter in the End of the World) before you read this post. Don’t worry, it is only 5 chapters long and that is actually my main problem with this manga.
It ended way too early.
It would be nice to think that this manga ended early because the author did not want to have a long series, but I doubt that’s the case. Like other manga before it, Laughter in the End of the World was probably axed because the audience did not like it.
Interestingly enough, the author of this manga also wrote Kekkaishi. I think most of you have heard of Kekkaishi before, but if you haven’t, just know that it was a popular series (in Japan and the West) that ran for 345 chapters. I guess the author (Tanabe Yellow) couldn’t pull it of twice.
If this manga was axed, then this is another one of those cases where the intended Japanese audience disagreed with the Western audience, after all this manga has a rating of 8.6 on MangaUpdates. Us English speaking folk really like it.
I am going to have to disagree with the Japanese Shonen voters on this one (if they are the ones to blame for the cancellation). I don’t think this manga was superb or worthy of immense praise, but it was good. It was definitely too good to be cancelled so soon.
Sure, the premise of a guy with his sister traveling the world, killing demons is nothing new, but it was well executed and it showed a decent amount of depth.
The immortals and their background was a detailed back story and it was obvious that a lot had happened before the manga started. This sense of mystery about the setting was the mangas key strength. Had this manga gone on for a bit more, the mysteries could have been unraveled and the plot laid bare. Then we could have one final fight or something and we’d be done. This manga need not have been long, but it should have lasted for a lot more than 5 chapters.
In terms of characters, the main character was not super extraordinary, but he was definitely a step up from the standard Shonen lead. He had no desire to only do good and protect innocent people. He was just a relatively strong person traveling the world with his sister because no group of humans would accept them long enough to give them shelter. That’s it.
This was a manga about survival and not some global conquest to save humanity. Sure, in all likelihood eventually it would have degenerated into that kind of conquest (most Shonens end up going there, I am afraid), but that would have been a much better time to cancel this manga than now when it had only just begun to establish the setting.
The manga was also getting into themes of what it means to be a human. It was getting into some interesting ideas about how hate is blind and how it contorts our vision so we see what we want to see. It carried out these themes with a bit more tact than the average Shonen and while that might not seem like much, it is still a praiseworthy thing.
The action scenes were quite average, but I don’t care much for action in manga, so that was no issue.
All in all, the 5 chapters I read were good. They were definitely worth at least a 7.5/10, maybe an 8/10 if I was feeling generous. It is a shame that this manga ended before we got to unravel the interesting world, but oh well. Hopefully the authors next work (scheduled for August 2013) is good enough to be liked by both the Japanese audience and us pirateers.
On the bright side, at least this manga was nowhere near as good as Mx0. That manga’s cancellation was a true Shonen tragedy.