Alright! New Fran! Kigitsu Katsuhisa‘s Franken Fran is my favorite currently-running manga, and even though I said I don’t plan on blogging anything release-by-release, I’ll gladly post on Fran every month just for fun—forgive me if I don’t have much to say about it.
How would the placement of two minds in one body effect their personalities? In multiple personality disorder cases, it’s often said that the subject develops personalities to protect themself, each of which may serve as a shield against one of life’s torments.
When characters are put together by otherworldly circumstances in Franken Fran, they usually develop some form of camaraderie, dating back to the second chapter when a beautiful girl fell in love with the boy who stayed by her side after she was turned into a caterpillar, even though she’d turned him down before. The case is usually that traumatic circumstances leave them vulnerable, and they’re likely to cling to whomever will stay by them, even if they have to be together in a twisted way.
In this chapter, it’s not so much that trauma brings the characters together, even though it’s what triggers their placement into one body. Kuze Akari wanted to implant his brain in his niece’s body so that he could inherit her fortune, so ending up inside of her falls in with his plans, but discovering how worthless all of the money is changes him. After spending a while in Shion’s shoes, he takes her side, and ends up being the closest person in her life.
At first glance, Akari’s change could be considered sympathy for Shion’s plight, but I don’t think it’s something so standoffish. Merely seeing the way that Shion was treated wouldn’t have made Akari sympathetic for her—it’s only because he became Shion that he took her side. The two of them became the same person, so looking out for one-another became natural.
Another interesting aspect of this chapter is how the plot is spurned along by random accidents. Akari asked Fran for a brain transplant and Shion’s mother asked for a mindless clone, and those things ultimately decided how the situation played out in Fran’s hands, but it was the car wreck and suicide bombing that activated the need for Fran at each stage of the story. Random chance is what put Shion and her uncle together, and random chance is what let him set her free. I like the way this played out, because while we still got the usual Franken Fran irony, Akari’s decision at the end was a purely personal and emotional one not based on his prior actions.
The ending was sad and, I felt, truncated. I would’ve liked to see Shion ask that her uncle be connected to her new body and the two of them live on together—it seems like a likely continuation of the situation, but perhaps the page limit was already met. I’ll just imagine that it really did end that way.