I’m going to confess something…the reviews where I OVERWHELMINGLY enjoy a series are the hardest for me to write, because in my excitement to shout my joy to the world the words that come from my brain to the laptop are scattered and uncoordinated. I’d almost go as far as to say that the reviews where my writing was the worst are the series I loved the most. So…I’ll just say this before I move on and feebly attempt to communicate reasons why this series is worthwhile…I HIGHLY recommend Genkaku Picasso, it’s by far the most unique Shonen Jump series I’ve ever encountered. It’s a well planned story in only 3 volumes total. Go for it!

Plot Summary
Hikari Hamura is a high school student that is completely obsessed with his art, and acts condescending towards his classmates. He was nicknamed Picasso because of his artistic skills by his only friend Chiaka. One day when the two were hanging out after school they were involved in a horrific accident that only Picasso (miraculously) survived. After Picasso recovers he finds that Chiaka has returned from the afterlife to help him hold onto his life. Apparantly in exchange for keeping Picasso alive he must help others with his artistic skills. Picasso has been given the ability to see into the hearts of those that are troubled, he draws an image that represents their pain and uses it to get to the root of their problems.

There is no denying the skill of the art in this series, I think the various art styles used are all wonderful. The characters themselves are drawn with great details. Although Picasso himself might not be the most handsome face to stare at in each panel, he’s skillfully drawn just like the rest. Where this series really shines is in the drawings Picasso creates, each image that represents someone’s heart is appropriately unsettling, but beautiful. These pictures give me a similar feeling to when I look at a Salvador Dali paintings. Each drawing  that depict a character’s disturbed heart gave me an ominous and worried feeling. The worries that plague each character are often painfully understandable and relatable. Although don’t get me wrong, I know between the plot summary and everything I stated afterward makes this sounds like a very bleak series, BUT it actually works in a lot of humor really well. It’s a nice blend of both sadness and comedy.

What can I say except that this is truly a memorable series that I’m so glad I tried out. For one the hero is one of the most unique I’ve ever experienced. His attitude and appearance are probably the most unlikeable of any Shonen Jump hero I’ve ever encountered. Yet despite that the reader can’t help but want to see what he’ll do next, and before I knew it he wormed his way into my heart. A lot of Picasso’s character was the mangaka channeling his own high school self, I can’t help but admire him for so perfectly understanding how he may have come off to others and representing himself with such believability. Reading this series reminded me of a few students in high school that were similarly  self obsessed and isolated from the rest of the class. And like some of the students in this series, I was inclined towards maintaining that distance. Below is a partial quote from the message that the mangaka wrote at the end of the final volume.

“I was a high school student like Picasso. I was a little eccentric, but I had high ideals. I wanted to get along well with girl, but when I met them face-to-face, I acted cold toward them. I was always in the art room drawing, I wanted to attract someone’s interest. I thought that if I got good at drawing I might be able to establish a connection with the world.” ~Usamaru Furuya

Genkaku Picasso is made up of 3 (thick) volumes that give you the stories of many characters that all tie into a satisfying ending. I admit that volume 3 touched me a lot and I had to blow my nose a few times. I never expected this series to wrap up so well. This is the most affordable and entertaining series I’ve experienced this year. Highly Recommended