The Departure of Takanori Nishikawa – The Manga Version

Those familiar with my earlier posts, know this manga is from a set of manga related to popular musicians from the later 90’s and early 2000’s. This time, is covering the unique history of T.M.R.-e, best known as T.M. Revolution, and currently going by his real name Nishikawa Takanori.

This story is both of the most expansive, but simplistic in details. T.M.R.-e is split in a mere two chapters, “Luis~Mary”, and then “T.M. Revolution”. The first chapter covers Takanori’s early life from high school, through his dropping out, joining the Visual Kei group “Luis~Mary” and their eventual disbandment. The second chapter covers T.M’s struggle to rejoin the music industry as a soloist, and his rise to fame once again. Again, it covers up only until 1999, so only a small snippet of his 20+ year career.

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Nishikawa Takanori from cira 1999.

I found the story-telling solid, but a bit odd. Only two chapters is really easy to read, but just too cut and dry. There’s Luis~Mary era Nishikawa Takanori, and T.M. Revolution, which at the time makes sense. Given the breadth and shifts in his work, just didn’t age well. The information was solid, since I never dug too far into Nishikawa Takanori’s history. I knew a bit about his “Luis~Mary” days, and then bits and pieces of his solo career. Kinda funny that I saw him last year live for the first time actually.

The biggest problem was that… this manga is harsh. I really hate writing that, but the writer Noguchi-Sensei, just has a super clunky and unflattering designs. Nearly every characters has the same eyes and body type with only their hair to distinguish them from one another. I hated that the pupils were black, looking almost menacing if not cocky and insincere looking. Angry or happy, the pupils were not helping to convey true emotions.

Both the pale haired character on the left example, and the dark haired character on the right are suppose to be Nishikawa… which shows a lot inconsistencies in style as well. 

What really stuck out, and just contributed to how unattractive this manga looked was the lack of backgrounds. I’ve seen simplistic manga before, but the overwhelming lack of detail is startling. There would be a door in the panel, or a railing but nothing to show the rest of the room of the background of where it was.

Noguchi-Sensei took a lot of short-cuts. Many of the panels took what look to live concert photos, distorted them a little and then made them black and white. I usually give that sort of thing a pass since concert scenes can be time consuming to draw. What killed me was when no distortion was used, and the panels look like they were simply traced over from generic reference photos.

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Additionally, there’s huge amounts of white space which are poorly attempted to be covered with close-ups of facial expressions or other details. When panel backgrounds aren’t white, they are inappropriately filled in with grey-scale, or generic textures in the background.

The panel layout is repetitive, so that makes it easier to read. The art is simple, but incredibly stiff. Given that Takanori Nishkawa is an incredibly dynamic performer, who literally runs up and down during his lives, and has such an attractive personality; this manga didn’t do him any justice.

Retrospectively it was a quick read, but not particularly enjoyable. Nishikawa Takanori deserves more, so check out some of his most recent material here instead.

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