For my very first review here on Nerd-Base, I wanted to start off with something light and short for the readers out there. Today I will be giving my review of one of my favorite short mangas, Helen ESP.
Written and drawn by Katsuhisa Kigitsu (who also wrote and drew Fraken Fran, another series I’ll be writing a review on) and published in Shounen Champion from 2008 and ending in 2010, this series only ran a total of two volumes. Which, if you’re looking for something short to pass the time, is perfect. This is a break from Katsuhisa’s normal works which are much more darker and graphic, but keeps to the same “I must do what I can to help no matter the consequences” mentality.
Our main character is Helen Takahara La Guido, a young girl who unfortunately lost her sight, hearing and ability to speak in a horrific car accident that also took the lives of her parents 5 years prior to the start of the first chapter. Helen now lives with her uncle and her guide dog, Victor. We get to see how someone who has such a range of disabilities functions is a day-to-day life, which I found quite interesting. From how she is able to watch a movie, to speaking to her uncle using a machine that produces brail on her fingers so she can ‘hear’ him talking to her. The major difference is how Helen talks to her dog….through telepathy. This should be our first clue that Helen is no ordinary girl.
Her real powers ‘awaken’ in the first chapter, and while the series never fully gives us a breakdown on what all they are, we can gather that she is the Jean Gray of this series. And with these powers, Helen is driven to help others that she comes into contact with, while keeping a youthful innocence and optimism about her. This endears you to her character, making you want to cheer her on and always hope that she can overcome the obstacles ahead of her.
The downside of the series is the stories don’t always ‘flow’ very well. Some can make you feel a bit confused and the continuity can leave you wondering where in the series something was mentioned. But being so short, it is very easy to overlook and doesn’t affect the series as a whole.
These are true tug at the soul stories that make you happy in the end. Even I’ll admit I got a bit of dust in the old eye at the end of a couple of chapters. And since I don’t want to give away spoilers, the end chapter of volume 2 will leave you smiling from ear to ear. Trust me on this.
In all, this is a great series if you want great story telling, some beautiful art, and just need a feel-good pick me up from time to time.
The series can be purchased online ($4.20 on Amazon) or downloaded via any manga reading app available on iTunes or Google Play.