Title: Satougashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai
Alternate Titles: 砂糖菓子の弾丸は撃ちぬけない, 糖果子弹, 糖果子彈, กระสุนลูกกวาดในโลกสีเทา, A Lollipop or a Bullet
Author & Artist: Sakuraba Kazuki & Sugimoto Igura
Genre: Drama, Mature, Psychological, Shounen, Tragedy
Volumes: 02 (Complete)
Nagisa Yamada is a bored teenager who finds everyday life extremely unappealing – thus she plans on joining a Military School as soon as possible.
A strange new student named Umino Mokuzu (who claims to be a mermaid) transfers into Nagisa’s school and, much to our heroine’s bewilderment, soon begins to follow her incessantly.
Initially, an annoyed and discomfited Nagisa strives to avoid any encounters with Mokuzu. But she soon begins to comprehend the pain and sadness concealed beneath this strange girl’s cheerful and carefree demeanor…All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga. This manga & review should be read by readers who are 18 & older.
Despite the cutesy art and the fact the main characters are in middle school, this manga is a lot deeper than at first glance. It might even be too real at certain points. However, it’s the art that draws me in and it’s the story that kept me there.
Nagisa has a stay-at-home brother, whom she admires, while her mother is constantly working. Apparently, her father passed way ten years prior to the story while he was fishing. Since then, they’ve lived in poverty. The insurance for the father had long since dried up and Nagisa was starting to feel the effects of puberty.
However, when the beautiful young girl moves into town, she seriously shakes things up with how quirky she is. Naturally, this annoys Nagisa because the girl wants to be her friend. Throughout the story, Nagisa talks about bullets and “candy bullets”. The thing about is that, her brother refers “candy bullets” as words meant to incite a reaction. Usually, these words can be said over and over but they don’t really mean anything. Mokuzu never had enough of these “candy bullets”. She called herself a mermaid and would always easily explained away the bruises on her as well as any other physical issues she had.
There’s a boy that liked Mokuzu but Mokuzu clearly never had any interest in him in the first place. But because of the evils that Mokuzu lived with, she didn’t know how to respond to affection other than the violence she was subjected to by her own father. And because of her violet behavior, he’s no longer the boy that Nagisa loved – he’s different to where he has deviant desires, possibly.
Nagisa’s pain is clear throughout the manga: poverty, her once honor roll brother is stay-at-home and eating up the funds while her mother is at work all the time; puberty, the feelings she had for her classmate; apathy, being stuck in a rural town while trying her best to live day to day until she can join the military force; and loneliness, she pushed away people because she can’t relate to them or do the same things they can do.
In order to cope with the added responsibilities, she sees her brother as a “noble”, someone who needs to be taken care of and she’s more than happy to do it. Her mother never complained in front of her but her mother ignores the gossip about her family, especially her son.
Mokuzu, on the other hand, had a case of Stockholm Syndrome. Her parents are divorced (whether it’s official or not) and she lived with her eccentric father; but no matter what he does to her, she loves him. And it’s complicated, to love an abusive parent.
It’s a little hard to review something objectively with a manga like this, especially with the content. Gradually, as the plot goes along, another layer of Mokuzu’s home life is carefully torn, even with it’s short volume count. There’s a lot of details that could easily be missed but towards the end, after the discovery of Mokuzu’s body, it falls apart. The teacher, who showed up only a few chapters before, suddenly talks about how he tried so hard to be a super man and care about the kids but it never really showed that.
Instead, the closest thing he’s done that is lecture Nagisa about going to the military school, instead of straight to high school, because of her brother. Certainly, there could have been instances where the teacher could have tried to talk to Mokuzu (and she’d brush him off).
Earlier in the manga, it’s shown that Nagisa is solely responsible for the school rabbits, but they were found slaughtered one day – one of which whose head was in Mokuzu’s bag. If the teacher really did care, as he said, he would helped the students suspect her a little less and have it a bit more believable. There were times where it felt that they could have something better to add on to instead of what they actually put.
There’s also the matter of the young boy, especially since he’s the one who discovered the rabbits’ bodies. He’s shown prone to violence – some people argue that Mokuzu manipulated him into doing those things but, is it innate? Is it environmental? This is probably one the more controversial scenes in the manga simply because he reacted the way he did. Some people say that she manipulated him to garner more attention from Nagisa but, personally, I don’t think that’s it at all. She never showed interest in him. She knew that Nagisa showed interest in him but didn’t mind – as long as Nagisa is her friend, who cared? Still, I personally don’t think this manga is a romance, or even have inclinations of romance, at all.
With a longer volume count, they could concentrate more on what had happened to Nagisa and her family. It’s said that her brother cut his hair and joined the military but maybe it’s best that it was open ended like that.
This manga, though, does get gory but it does censor enough. You see enough to get the gist of what’s going on but it’s not so censored that you can’t see anything (though why would you want to?). This manga isn’t for everyone and it’s not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of triggery content in this manga though it’s handled well and with enough respect to show how dire the situation is.
So, dear readers, answer me this riddle’s: A woman’s husband recently passed away. She meets a man at the funeral who made an impression on her. In fact, they both had favorable impressions of each other. However, the next night, her young son was murdered. She confessed, she did it. But why? Can you tell me why?