Afterschool Charisma 3 by Kumiko Suekane

I wish I found Afterschool Charisma more interesting. Even with this third volume, when the plot FINALLY gets moving, the characters are still soone-dimensional and rather insipid. Our clones of famous leaders don’t really exhibit any brilliant skills and the whole point of them is rather baffling. Suekane tries to introduce all kinds of twisty plot turns but honestly, it all comes off as rather silly.

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Plot: Shiro has met an older version of himself – does that mean he is a clone as well? He’s almost afraid to find out the answer and instead spends his time with a young Pandora. But an upcoming school festival celebrating the history of the clones threatens all of the school’s students – someone appears to be intent on killing them and Shiro doesn’t even know why. But he’s about to understand just how dispensable the clones are when one is ruthlessly and callously nearly murdered in front of him. What is the secret to the school and can they survive long enough to find their true destiny outside of their progenitors?

Although the idea is intriguing, I am having so much trouble with the execution. I wish there was a real sense of danger or, at the very least, a sense of pathos. But when all the clones are so gullible and easily fooled, it really makes me feel that Dolly the sheep probably had more brains.

In this volume, Shiro’s innocence and naivete are forever shattered as he recognizes the precarious situation of the clones. At the same time, we’ve given to wonder if the people hunting the clones or the people raising the clones are the crueler or most dangerous. Again, it sounds interesting but somehow ends up being really shallow.

Since this is a special Viz sig collection, the presentation is quite nice with inside flaps that can be used as bookmarks. It’s a shame the story never really feels deserving of the special treatment.

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