First Impressions (Manga): Livingstone

I don’t remember how I came across this manga — probably stumbled across it while searching for another series of a similar name (isn’t that usually the case, ahaha.) — but the cover looked interesting so saved it for later. Finally decided to try it awhile back.

Manga: Livingstone 「リヴィングストン」

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Vol 1 cover

“If one should suffer a death not ordained by fate, the human body lightens by an average of 21grams, the weight of a man’s soul stone.”

These soul stones are called “Livingstones”. The story follows two Livingstone Collectors, Sakurai and Amano, who go around preventing unnatural deaths and recovering these soul stones.

Livingstone, written by Maekawa Tomohiro with art by Kataoka Jinsei, is a Seinen, supernatural manga that was serialised in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning and is currently complete at 4 volumes, but I’ve only read approximately 2 volumes (9 chapters) because that’s all that’s been scanlated thus far.

WARNING: Slightly disturbing themes. A little blood. Death and hurt. But not gruesome.

Livingstone was an intriguing read overall. I can’t say it was that enjoyable, but thinking about the themes it brings up definitely contributed to my interest level. I’m a sucker for Seinen stories that bring up morality and tough-to-answer issues after all. The first chapter brought up a troubling theme somewhat similar to Euthanasia with the whole “I want to die” thing going on and—Okay! That got my attention.

I admit I had some trouble understanding the Livingstones and getting the idea of the MCs’ jobs at first though OTL

For a series with supposedly heavy themes, Livingstone’s been surprisingly light-hearted. It’s not, like, happy or anything, but um… how do I put it… it’s not actually that sad? I feel like it skimmed over lots of development that—if portrayed well—could’ve introduced a deeper psychological and emotional connection to the series. It’s occasionally comical as well, thanks to Livingstone Collector Sakurai. His snippets of comic relief seem to belie the pain he feels on his job… But that might just be me reading too much into it. I’m getting ahead of myself.

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The manga’s art is generally quite polished with a somewhat gritty feel to it and contrasting tones throughout. I didn’t realise it until researching a bit while typing this post, but mangaka Kataoka Jinsei was also the writer of Deadman Wonderland. I totally get why Livingstone’s art and Deadman Wonderland’s art are relatively similar in terms of style now — Even if the artist was different for Deadman Wonderland, and Kataoka Jinsei-sensei was the writer for it and not the artist, she still worked on both projects after all.
Livingstone is pretty episodic, showing different situations concerning the peoples’ souls and what the main characters need to deal with as they work. From what I’ve read so far, it hasn’t been the kind of series where each chapter motivates you to read the next. The only exception to this I felt, was the first chapter which was pretty much a “reality in your face!” and got me interested.
I guess to sum it up, this manga isn’t something that I find myself wanting to read much. I mean, I’d like to finish it just because it’s a short series and I like the moral issues it brings up plus the art, but it hasn’t given me any sense of attachment based on what I’ve read so far.

It’s just not something I’ll remember much. And even if I don’t finish it, I’m fine with that too.

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