If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You Might End Up Somewhere Else

Axed Before It Found Its Legs

I picked up i tell c when it first appeared in Jump. My first impressions of the manga were pretty positive. It had everything one could ask for in a first chapter for a new WSJ manga. Though I would not have been able to determine where the series would end up, I had an inkling that it would pan out to be a solid one. I’m honestly still surprised how fast this notion of mine was flipped.

I don’t read a ton of ongoing WSJ, so I don’t feel like I’m the best judge when it comes to determining the life expectancy for a manga. Putting this aside, I have to admit that there is something different about picking up a new series from chapter one as a reader. At the moment, I am unable to place my finger on the exact reason, but reading and following along a work throughout its conception/shelf life hits different. I feel like others may be able to relate. It really is a different sensation when you’re able to watch a series evolve throughout time, knowing that you have been there from the beginning.

At the conclusion of chapter one for i tell c, there was a part of me that was stoked. It was by no means a continental-driving, earth-shattering chapter; but it was definitely good. Though I don’t recall giving it too much thought, I genuinely enjoyed it and had no questions about whether or not I would continue to read it week after week. It was enough to get me invested, which is saying something.

The very first chapter opens up with tasty bait—in a similar vein of the more stimulating stories that readers will encounter from time to time. Considering it got axed and left with only 21 chapters, I don’t have any intention to give away one of the coolest parts of the manga. I will only say that the mangaka introduces an enigmatic individual (who later turns out to be the title character/protagonist); this girl exhibits all of the notable characteristics of a stalker. In the aforementioned first chapter, these antics are blatantly put on display—in such a way that puts the reader on edge.

Before touching base on the tragedy of i tell c, I want to talk about Kazusa Inaoka’s art. Considering that I am lacking in both artistic awareness and sufficient language for critiquing it, it may not be much to say. What I do want to say is that the art is absolutely fantastic. Of the eight or so ongoing _WSJ _series that I am following, it is among the strongest and one of which I am most fond of. I really appreciate the way Inaoka’s characters eyes are drawn—most notably Risa Aioi’s eyes. One of my favorite parts about reading the manga was getting to lock my eyes with such an exquisite beauty. /s

With no intention of tooting my horn, I will say that I followed the manga on a weekly basis. There was nothing more that I would have wanted than to see it push the envelope and maintain its identity throughout its time. The thing is, it never became. Though I cannot say that I knew for sure, by the 4th chapter I sincerely felt that this manga was not going to last. When it comes to this subject, I know very little—particularly when it comes to the logistics of the industry and the publishing process. Be that as it may, I have read Bakuman, so I don’t think it would be responsible of me to say that I have no idea how any of it works.

Perhaps this goes without saying, but it is essential for a manga to know its audience. This is key, for all creative works really. Knowing one’s audience allows for the story to maintain congruity and consistency in its tone. I’m not trying to sound pretentious or be ambiguous with my wording; what I mean to say is that i tell c had no idea what it was supposed to be.

I recognize the difficult nature of the process of producing a serialized work. It cannot be easy trying to come up with a new addition to an ongoing plot line week after week after week. Maintaining quality, both in terms of theme and art, does not come easy.

Jokes aside, my gut feeling on i tell c is that the mangaka just didn’t have a clear direction of where they wanted things to go. I probably did not elaborate enough on this point, but I feel that it really isn’t necessary. Anyone who has read the work will know exactly what I am referring to. If not, who do happen to read the series in the future will come to notice this tone discrepancy throughout the manga. If you don’t mind spoilers, here is one of the more notable examples:

No one in their right mind wants a series to do poorly. I have nothing but admiration, respect, and sympathy for the manga artists who pour their hearts and souls into their work for the sake of readers. With that being said, one in such a position must be wary and take responsibility for their position.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing for failure.”

-Benjamin Franklin (I think)

All things considered, the art for i tell c is sharp. Kazusa Inaoka has a knack for this; they have the talent for this and are in the right line of work. I have noticed a few people alluding to how this art was wasted on th series, but I would disagree. The tools that brought this work to life belong to the mangaka. They have the ability to create and are free to do so at their own discretion. Though this series may not be a success in the denotative sense of the word, it is a step in the right direction. I wish the mangaka all the best, and I am looking forward to their work in the future. I will definitely be following them.

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