Nanika Mochigattemasu ka

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka is a manga written and drawn by Mohiro Kitoh, the very mind behind Bokurano and Narutaru. Can this keep up? Let’s find out!

Hibino Mitsuru is a middleschool student who has always known that there was something wrong about him. Maybe, when other people can move naturally, he can hear the cranks of his own body as if he wasn’t human. As the new extremist transfer student, Issha Kouzou, makes his way into his life, he, too, is quick to point out that Mitsuru is special. As Issha’s nature is bound to make enemies, a group of teenagers finds themselves on top of the school roof the very same day – yet as Issha is about to be attacked by a thug classmate with a knife, something odd happens: one of the bystander girls drops dead. Shortly thereafter, Issha approaches Mitsuru, telling him that he no doubt has super powers and they went awfully wrong with the rooftop incident. They find out that Mitsuru can replace any kind of nearby matter with some other matter in close proximity and come to reason that Mitsuru accidentally replaced a part of the girl’s brain with the school roof’s concrete. As Mitsuru is plagued by guilt, Issha comes to him with a proposal – to right wrong. Not just his own but society’s at large: the world is rotten and needs severe cleansing and only Mitsuru can do this. Together, the two of them then plan to kill all people on the phone while driving and weed out all kinds of human scum and failure, as one thing is for certain: Society must be protected from itself.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Characters

Bokurano is a very good anime and also a very good manga – although I have read only half of it so far. It’s also incredibly fucked up. Apparently that applies even moreso to Narutaru but I only got halfway through that before dropping it out of boredom. But hey, here we are with another grim Kitoh work and it’s short enough to give it a brief glance, eh? So let’s see what Nanika Mochigattemasu ka brought to the table.

Simply put, Nanika Mochigattemasu ka is Vigilantism: The Manga. Executed through teenagers. Maybe there’s something wrong with me but I totally get a kick out of stories like these. It’s probably the same as playing The Sims and building death traps for your characters. I’m also a fan of the kind of premise that introduces supernatural elements and how they affect society at large like Kado before it turned into a trainwreck or Inuyashiki. Bonus points for making sure the people who do bad stuff receive some sort of punishment. What if we could just go wild and go on a rampage against every single dipshit out there being a public nuisance? Give me a GTA game where I can knife fucks who toss out cigarette buds on the street or something. Call me a sociopath but fiction like this feels cathartic as fuck. So heck yeah, I’m with you all the way then, Kitoh.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Car Accidents

There is just one issue here: It just turns out that, you know, Kitoh wasn’t with himself all the way.

At some point, Nanika Mochigattemasu ka just turns into… something. The tonal whiplashes don’t help. There is just too much comedic nonsense going on that I can’t take seriously. I even can’t help but suspect that it’s intentional when both Issha and Mitsuru act like complete dorks. At one point, they try to leave behind a message ingrained into a wall in regard to their latest killings because people don’t see societal punishment for driving while on the phone through their killings but suspect there’s some vengeful spirit doing its evil. Then Mitsuru completely misspells the message. It ends up being something about poop instead. Boy, these two and their mass killing/world saving plans sure have some wacky hijinks going on! Is this a comedy? A tragedy? A tragicomedy?

Occasionally, it feels like Kitoh is in it too, going all “haha, such dorks on their self-righteous adventure, amirite guys *winks*”. Or maybe he is keeping his straightest of faces. I seriously can’t tell. Although that phase does kind of stop when Nanika Mochigattemasu ka shifts gears once again for some reason, causing it to completely spiral out of control. But first things first.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Poop

The starting bit is easily the best part. Reminds you of Bokurano for sure. Is it okay to kill others in order to improve upon the world? Issha sure likes to think so. Mitsuru disagrees. But Issha is smart and persuasive and let’s be honest, people risking other people’s life to have the convenience of phoning while driving are asshats anyway. They could hurt your loved ones after all. So, with a rather interesting back and forth, it all comes down to Mitsuru doing the deed and killing someone. And then his mental health degrades as he slowly but surely becomes aware of what he’s done. Man, this is the stuff. I like it.

Of course, sooner or later, Mitsuru regains his composure and the two of them continue on their journey to pluck the bad roots from society. Issha is the brains, Mitsuru the woefully uneven execution machine. The super powers don’t come too short either: Nanika Mochigattemasu ka is actually quite methodical about these two’s exploits: Mitsuru has the vague and hard to control superpower and Issha gives directions. They experiment, try to deduct the range, limits and possibilities of his power, think of how to use them best, et cetera. Mitsuru can replace objects through cubal spaces but how far can he go, how many in a row can he do, what’s his rate of precision? Wouldn’t wanna kill someone else by accident again after all, would we? I’m all for trying to dig deeper with super powers and going into the details with some clever ideas here and there. It’s what I like about Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku. So let’s do science on magic!

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Powers

So far, so good. Mitsuru balances his school life and his mass killings quite well by this point. But things need to happen on a bigger scale and people need to understand the message so Issha has to come up with some new plans. Next, we’re gonna kill comedians. They act like morons and imply that by acting stupid, you can become successful. They spread stupidity like a wildfire. They are a societal poison if you will. Bad role models on TV must be absolutely punished. Can’t fault Nanika Mochigattemasu ka for being unambitious I guess.

This is where things spread out a bit – new characters get introduced, the police is on their trail, etc.. It’s slowly coming together while expanding on the concept. But then all focus is lost and everything actually just starts to fall apart. The comedian killing? Doesn’t actually ever happen. What does happen is that Issha’s oddball sister gets introduced through some weird pseudo-date at the zoo with Mitsuru who totally believes it’s just Issha crossdressing. He does make sure to grab her ass, thinking it’s Issha, before getting kicked the everliving shit out of. Like, what? And that is just a sign of what’s yet to come.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Issha Comedy

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka then starts to derail completely. While it does do some interesting things in adding a few new characters (of which policeman Sakurayama is the best one), the entire second half of the manga is largely focused not on what these murder teens are doing but what they intend to do and therefore simply could be doing. Plans are made. So are moral arguments. But it never goes anywhere. It’s not just the comedian killing that doesn’t happen. They then argue to kill those tossing their trash by the wayside. And by “argue”, I mean it’s Issha monologuing endlessly on how that is just and fair and a good plan, only occasionally taking a critical question and debunking it. There are entire chapters spent in rooms of Issha just explaining his morale and reasoning while other characters just sit around and stare at him as he does 90 % of the conversation. He’s not even talking to other characters but at them. And of course killing the trash-tossing people never happens either. Yo, you can’t systematically save the world if you’re too stuck on philosophy, you know? Is Issha going to open up a YouTube channel with videos titled “Issha Kouzou DESTROYS common belief systems and morality”? Because that’s largely what this amounts to.

Turns out they just don’t save the world or do things in general period. These kids know better but they don’t ever act on their plans as other subplots come along and divert their attention. I’m not even sure if more than three people die in the second half. Issha’s philosophical rambling has just pretty much completely taken a hold of the plot. Not a good showing there, Nanika Mochigattemasu ka.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Monologue

So let’s talk about that. Issha brings up many ideas that are per se interesting but just kinda tossed in without much of a consequence. He goes to argue the juidical system is wrong and that people weak of the mind should not fear lesser punishment than those that kill with a clear mind. His argument is based around the notion that this implies there are two categories of people – the “crazy” ones and the sane ones. Yet people aren’t divided that easily into categories but have thousands of attributes weighed on scales. So maybe you’re just 55 % normal for condition A but 35 % crazy under circumstance H then? That kinda stuff. This current system also gives people the perception that they aren’t crazy so clearly they can’t do wrong… leading to less self-reflection and more crime. He then suggests to revolutionize judging crime in general by introducing a point system – each human being gets 100 points. You do something wrong, you lose points based on the severity of your wrong-doing. You lose all your points, you receive the death penalty – which, as Issha points out, is right and just but not applied correctly. When asked what to do with people who lose points due to mistakes and not intentionial misdeeds and then die, he says if someone’s that careless, that’s just the kind of person they are to begin with. That was also one of the few moments someone else tried to raise a counterpoint there. Mostly, it’s just Issha talking the talk. And you get this kind of stuff for several chapters.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Niko

Per se, it’s fascinating. Nanika Mochigattemasu ka takes vigilantilism to its logical extreme for a greater good. The ends justify the means. Kiritsugu would be proud of him. For what it’s worth, I can at least always see where Issha is coming from. All of what he has to say is logically laid out. I agree with some of his points even. I’m not sure where Kitoh got all these thoughts from. Maybe he read some philosophical books somewhere? Did he come up with this himself? Or maybe these are just some teenage edgelord fantasies you’d find in an Internet manifesto? Is Kitoh the teen edgelord? Issha very much does feel like some generic edgy teenager for sure. He’s a lot like that emo kid you know who says the world is fucked and bad and then goes on to list the several wars for oil while we all sit in our comfort zones not giving a shit because Netflix and chill take priority. And, well, while it’s cringeworthy, that kid wouldn’t be so wrong in that assessment, right? Which brings me to a crossroad: I mean, yeah, these are typical dumbfuck teenager points but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them based on that criterion alone or that they’re wrong. So I’m kinda torn here.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Mitsuru

The bad thing is that Kitoh doesn’t provide clarity here either. Neither through other characters nor the plot does Nanika Mochigattemasu ka ever give you any sort of guidance or contradiction on Issha.┬áThe occasional counterpoint is brought up but that’s just enough reason for Issha to monologue back to present his views as the unflawed ones. Other characters don’t really offer any other perspectives either. So are we supposed to assume that Issha is the one in the absolute right? It’s like a political discussion where only one side does the talking. Worse even, none of any of this stuff ever comes to matter. It’s just somewhat interesting train of thoughts spat out into a vacuum as characterization and plot go to die. Are we supposed to agree with these people? Or shake our heads at them? Is Issha just a Chuuni Gone Too Far? Or is he maybe the author’s mouthpiece? Does Kitoh actually believe any or all of this? Issha’s weird gamer comic relief NEET sister who never does anything regularly points out he is a colossal moron beyond belief. So maybe Kitoh thinks so too and isn’t with Issha in spirit at all? But then again, she also argues he’s a good kid no doubt so… what? What is Kitoh trying to say with this manga? What’s the core message?

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Mitsuru Park

You’ve probably also noticed by now that I haven’t mentioned Mitsuru in a while. He turns into such a non-factor throughout this whole endeavor. Heck, he more often than not disagrees with Issha even but that just results in being lectured by him as Mitsuru does his -___- face. The characters here aren’t likable and they’re not supposed to be likable but I can’t bring that up as an argument for Nanika Mochigattemasu ka either because they’re not anything else. There is some last minute character subplot for two out of our three protagonists but none of it actually concerns Mitsuru. There’s a romance subplot for him but that thing is just complete and utter garbage and inconsequential BS.

I’m not ashamed to say Death Note is one of my favorite anime for a plethora of reasons but one thing I disagree with is the assertion that it has philosophical notions. People always bring up Light’s motives as a dealbreaker and thinkpiece that splits the fanbase but even Tsugumi Ohba, when asked whether any sociocritical components were his intention said that no, he just wanted to create an interesting story. Good guy. Death Note is mind games, not moral ethics and whatnot. But this totally is. Yet nothing comes out of it. It’s a wildly flailing, unfocused mess that constantly stumbles over its own feet like hardly anything else I’ve ever seen.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Sakurayama

Essentially, this is a manga with a good concept gone terribly wrong. The tragic part is that it’s not even a typical case of ‘good premise – shit execution’. Thought was put into this. Good elements are there. They’re just mashed together incoherently with mostly bad ones as actual story writing makes way for endless lectures. I absolutely loved Babylon but so much of this is like its eleventh episode except only one person does the talking. It’s not even that this can’t be done right – Argento Soma had a very interesting debate episode. But it was well-executed and came at the right time and place and didn’t derail the entire show.

It’s also pretty obvious Nanika Mochigattemasu ka got axed. Nothing ever gets resolved, you don’t get to know where these powers come from, what purpose they have, most characters just kinda fade out of the story without having any contributions to the plot, everyone stops doing things because the manga stops. The final antagonist declares that they have little relation to the currently ongoing subplot. They certainly don’t have a connection to the main plot either since that got abandoned about two volumes ago entirely anyway. In a quick wrap-up chapter, Issha explains the entire backgrounds of other characters and what motivations they had and how everything turned out.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Ending

And then it just ends. Imagine if Death Note ended one fourth into its Yotsuba Group arc with Light having the realization he’d much rather go to school. The end. That’s it. That’s more or less what Nanika Mochigattemasu ka boils down to. Man, I’ve gotten into quite a few cancelled manga throughout my Japanese studying sessions over the years but this was easily among the worst. It makes the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga rush job look like a graceful exit. It’s obviously not Kitoh’s fault he had to end things like this unless we say he’s to blame for not writing a more interesting story in the day and age of turbo capitalism manga magazine policies. But it really does render everything about this manga that was so hellbent on making great points utterly pointless. And that’s absolutely fatal.

Nanika Mochigattemasu ka Trio

Anyway, don’t read Nanika Mochigattemasu ka. It’s a total waste of time. Watch Bokurano. And then read it. Or watch Ranpo Kitan for the entire vigilantism angle done right. Just spare yourself the trouble of dealing with this. I did so you no longer have to.

Man, what a shitshow this was.

Final Verdict: Very Bad.

1 thought on “Nanika Mochigattemasu ka

  1. Pingback: Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace | Beyond The Mountain Lies A World Of Frills

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