Artist: Mitsuru Hattori
Genres: Suspense, Psychological, Mystery
Status: Completed (3 volumes)
Picked this up today on a whim at the bookstore when I saw Nisioisin's name on it, and it blew me away. The premise is as follows: the protagonist, a college-age aspiring author, witnesses a tragic accident one day, and in particular, witnesses a young girl involved in the accident reacting in a way that shakes him. As he's trying to process this, a small series of events ends with the same girl sneaking into his house and abducting him at knifepoint, bringing him to her house and locking him in a closet. This leaves him wondering not only how to escape, but what his bizarre captor's motives are.
I bought this for the name, and I got what I paid for. This is unmistakably a Nisioisin story, with his typical introverted, self-monologuing type of protagonist, a co-lead that seems almost alien but ultimately makes perfect sense, and a meaty (if short) plot supported by a strong thematic core made very explicit. If you like Nisio's work, you'll like Imperfect Girl, and if you haven't seen or read any of his other stuff, I'd call this an almost ideal jumping-off point. It's equal parts suspenseful, comical and poignant, and short enough to be read in an hour or two.
The art didn't amaze me, but it does its job perfectly well. It's textured in a way that support's the story's tone, looks nice, and is easy to follow. What did impress me was the paneling, which does a great job of emphasizing the ploddingly erratic pace of the story, and Hattori's excellent attention to the story's few important symbols (I got tangible shivers on the page that shows what all the coelacanths are about.)
I came away from this manga deeply impressed, and even inspired a little. The climax hit me really hard, and I think the theme culminates in a way that's bound to speak to most people in the modern world, particularly those in or around their 20s.
In short, I was impressed enough to dredge up a manga recommendation thread to talk about it. Imperfect Girl comes highly recommended.