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It was December ’10. I had read Viz’ Monthly Shonen Jump, which included a preview chapter of Genkaku Picasso. Finding it fascinating, I decided to pick up the first volume. Upon reading the first volume I was hooked. The premise of Picasso is simple; loner and genius artist Hikari Hamura, survived a fatal accident, but his best friend Chiaki, however, did not. Soon after the accident, Chiaki appears in front of Hikari to inform him that if he does not wish to rot away, he must use his sketchbook and 2B pencil to look into people’s hearts and save them. It goes without saying that I tried to get the other two volumes as quickly as I saw them at my local Borders.

The series has a rather peculiar art style that gets even weirder when Hikari looks into people’s hearts. The surreal imagery he draws perfectly complement the strange void that is one’s heart. Although the series, spanning three big volumes, may seem like a monster-of-the-week affair, it is much more than that. Through drawing out people’s hearts Hikari is able to save not only others, but himself as well. Meanwhile, the reader gets to sympathize with the variety of struggles each of the characters face, sometimes even finding a story that they can relate to.

It’s surprising that Viz would want to publish an obscure title like this one. Was it an experiment on their part? Whether that’s the case or not, I recommend Genkaku Picasso. The characters are all fresh and the story is engaging and interesting. At three volumes it doesn’t require much of a commitment, so I highly suggest that you atleast read the first few chapters (or even the first volume!).