by Whitney Grace
As a college freshman studying clinical psychology, Kasuma Futaba needs a place to call home. His father uses his connections to get Kasuma a room at a mansion owned by a sick girl named. Emiru is the same age as Kazuma and is beautiful, but instead of the usual comedic manga gimmicks Kazuma is thrown into Emiru’s tragic life. Emiru suffers from a terminal illness of the spirit that leaves her weak and unable to live a regular life. She connects with Kazuma and he slowly falls in love with her, deciding his love is the best way to cure her. Something dark haunts Emiru, though and it prevents her from healing.
Sickness Unto Death has an interesting idea about a girl with a wounded spirit and a guy who can potentially help her. It is based on Soren Kierkegaard’s philosophy book of the same name and the manga reinterprets Kierkegaard’s concepts as a fiction story. The entire first volume is told as a flashback by an adult Kasuma about his love for Emiru and readers are only given the bare minimum about why this method is used. The manga quickly gets caught up in a damsel in distress situation with cheesecake and panty shots for the male readers. The dialogue is painfully trite and could have been copied and pasted from any similar manga. Emiru may be suffering from an ill spirit, but her character is also an empty shell, as she receives no development. Whatever caused her illness may have some sort of supernatural connection that could flesh out the rest of the comic, but we hear little about it until the end.
The art does not scream out as anything original. The characters have very limited facial expressions and their bodies have a soft layer of baby fat that could swing as a nice change from the sharp angles in most of today’s manga, if they were not so overwhelmed with bad dialogue and Emiru was forced to show her birthday suit.
Sickness Unto Death opens on what is suspected as Emiru’s grave, so it buries itself from the start.