Review: Fragments, Umineko Doujinshi

aiwa - fragments coverIf there’s one thing I love most about Japanese media, it’s doujin culture. Anime, manga, and visual novels aren’t just products to be consumed. Thanks to doujin culture, each work becomes a conversation between creator and fans, endlessly remixed by an astonishing depth of talent.

That’s why I’m always glad to see doujin culture spreading outside Japan. Today, I’m reviewing one such instance: the English-language Umineko doujinshi “Fragments,” from the Spanish doujin circle Cyclic Redundancy.

(The rest of the review contains spoilers for Umineko Episode 7)

Yes, they’re Spanish, but the book is in English. Viva globalization? Either way, “Fragments” is the work of Aiwa, one of the circle’s founding members. The most striking part of this doujinshi is her polished, impeccably cute art. Take some time to browse her Pixiv gallery, too. She’s got some great Umineko art back in there. Back from browsing? OK, on to the doujinshi.

The book is comprised of three short vignettes in comic form. In the first, a young Yasu and Shannon have an adorable day off. In the second, we see Battler and Beatrice’s fight from the witch’s perspective, as she deals with some painful memories. And finally, we see a young Eva dealing with sexism from her family, and planting the seeds that would grow into EVA Beatrice. The stories all have a bittersweet quality, complimented by the cute art style. Even Yasu’s story has a darker side, when you think of what’s actually happening in it. If there’s any negative to the book, it’s the sometimes stilted English dialogue. As a non-native speaker, though, I can cut her some slack.

The doujinshi can still be bought from DoujinPress, a print on demand service. If you’re into collecting doujinshi, I recommend it. It’s a solid book, and doubly so for being in English.



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