Manga-ka: Kishimoto Masashi
Genre: Action, Drama, Shounen, Romance
Mario is a half-Japanese, half Italian mercenary who prioritizes money above everything else. He gets assigned to work together with Saori, another hitman who hates men and refuses to talk to them.
Published as a one-shot in 2013 with Jump SQ .
It’s pretty much the end of the weekend so it’s coming pretty late, but here’s our recommended one-shot! I’m currently undergoing a Naruto manga marathon, so I decided to choose one of Kishimoto Masashi’s one-shots – Mario. He’s mentioned it before in one of those author rants’ pages in Naruto, where he expressed that Mario was probably one of the best stories that he’d ever come up with. So with no further ado, I jumped into it the moment I saw the one-shot.
I didn’t know what to expect from it at all before reading Mario – didn’t read the summary or anything. If I unattached it from its Jump SQ label and the fact that the manga-ka is one of the most successful shounen manga-ka to date, I would honestly think it’s a seinen one-shot. There’s a more subdued feel to it compared to the usual in-yo-face shounen action.
Mario gives off a very jazzy feel throughout the whole one-shot. From the yakuza/mafia setting, the black suits and black dresses, the character interactions and just everything overall, there is this general feeling of coolness. The kind of story that depicts a romanticized version of the mafia. This whole ‘jazzy’ feel is really what gives of the seinen feel, and in fact is a bit of a weakness for those who are more used to the ba da bing ba da BOOM aspect of shounen manga. There’s no sudden crescendo of action or ground breaking-ly embarrassing romantic confessions – everything seems pretty subdued with a mature over tone.
In other words, it can seem a bit dull.
Not saying that it’s bad or anything, but Mario really seems more like a story that can’t develop in a one-shot since it’s the type that would usually build up on the relationships between the characters; and these relationships can’t be addressed and comprehended in a one-shot. Still, quite an okay read for a jazzy weekend.