Sunday, 01 March 2009 06:05

Franken Fran (Manga, 2007)

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Who know stitches could be cute?

Paging Dr. Fran to medical ward 666... Paging Dr. Fran to medical ward 666... Your vic-, err, test subj-, err, patients are screaming. I mean, waiting. Got something that ails you? Feeling a little stiff? Don't worry, Fran's got just the solution for you... She'll have you patched up in no time flat, even if it means giving you the stitches right off her own back. Of course, such high quality medical care isn't free. It could cost you an arm and a leg – or maybe your just your sanity. If you're lucky.

Fields USA Info Japanese Info Image
Title Franken Fran That's not an expression of joy on her face.
Alternative フランケン・ふらん
Dates 2007
Company Akita Shoten
Author KIGITSU Katsuhisa
Artist KIGITSU Katsuhisa
Genre Horror, Sci-Fi


Normally, I'd say that Franken Fran falls into the category of series like Pet Shop of Horrors, Outer Zone, and the like – stories about people getting what they deserve in the end, to be simple. The trouble with that is that in those series, when the story is about a character that is genuinely deserving of a happy ending, they typically get one. See, Count D, Mizari? They're really trying to teach people a lesson. Sure, the consequences are fatal (unless, of course, death would be a reward compared to your current state) if you screw it up, but on the other hand if you turn out to have something salvageable buried under the muck, they give you a second chance.

Fran, on the other hand, subscribes to a simple belief. Life MUST go on... at all costs. See, Fran has something of a simplistic view on the world. As long as life is preserved – regardless of the final form thereof – she's succeeded in her mission to further the research of her father and preserve life at all costs. She's physically incapable of letting things die if she can do anything about it. And, hey, lets be fair... she's a damned good doctor. Scary good. Capable of attaching four extra arms and operating with all six of them on multiple patients at once good. Unless it's been dead and gone for a period measured in years, there's a good chance that she'll be able to bring it back around in some form or another. The only real question is whether or not the 'lucky' survivor is going to want to have anything to do with that new form.

How complete is this devotion to seeing life survive? Well, just as an example, in one story a girl, who was in the process of ignoring a kinda chunky young man that was trying to ask her out on a date, is creamed by a vehicle that Fran is driving. She promptly gets out and scoops up the remains, and brings the young man with as well. She does manage to save her, though the damage is so severe that she ends up having to graft her head to the body of a freaking huge, and damned ugly caterpillar. Now, before this, the girl had been rather beautiful. The boy dutifully, and even happily stays right by her side as she recovers – by eventually forming a cocoon and emerging with a perfect body, restored against all odds. Of course, naturally by now she's quite in love with the young man who stayed by her side through it all and was her only human contact for months. Fran remarks later that she hopes their relationship turns out well – then suddenly muses that she forgot to warn him that some insect species consume their mates after sex. Cut to a love hotel – and the girl literally eating him out. Well, life did survive...

Folks, the series is full of these really fucking TWISTED results, and the creepy thing is that Fran honestly believes that she's doing these people a favor. It's not that she's doing this maliciously – far from it, she's actually a really sweet, polite, good little girl when it comes down to it... but her world view is just completely and totally fucked up! She has absolutely no grasp of the world outside of the deep-woodland mansion where she lives. She can only think of things in terms of her world, and folks, HER world is the really fucking scary sandbox even the big kids were afraid to play in. Yet, despite that, Fran somehow manages to actually come off as strangely innocent. A really, REALLY twisted, morbid innocent, but still innocent. And damn if she doesn't make stitches look cute.

Art wise, I have to hand out some props to the series artist, Kigitsu Katsuhisa. Although the drawing style is a little sketchier than my usual tastes, Katsuhisa does a damned nice job on the general squickiness of the many... many... MANY operations and fields of gore that show up. Fran's character design is also freaky cute too – even sexy at times, though that's one hell of a red herring for the series in general. There's some nudity to be found throughout the pages, but unless you're into that sort of thing, trust me, you're not going to be turned on by it for very long...


There's just something wrong about this series, a really unpleasant observation that it makes about just how nasty and pathetic we are as a species. Fran wouldn't be nearly as effective a character as she is if we showed any real signs of being able to be human to each other. That's what's really scary about the series – while Fran is the very LAST medical professional that I'd want within a hundred miles of me if I were dead or rapidly approaching it, she's actually more humane in some ways than we are to ourselves. I won't lie to you, folks... Franken Fran is most definitely an acquired taste. It hasn't really got a wide range of appeal – those that like horror, and those that like severe overdoses of instant karma with a side serving of collateral damage are going to be the main fans of this series. Them, and the people like me that are just that freaking twisted.

Additional Info

  • Writing: Groovy (+5)
  • Pacing: Groovy (+5)
  • Artwork: Groovy (+5)
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