Manga Monday: Fungus and Iron Vol. 1

Series: Fungus and Iron
Author/Artist: Ayaka Katayama
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: February 8, 2022
Received: NetGalley

Before I dive into my review, I just want to point out that I am a sucker for nice covers. I adore the blue hue found on Fungus and Iron Vol. 1, which may have influenced my decision to read this one. Just a teeny tiny bit.

Fungus and Iron Vol. 1 is a bit difficult to describe. It’s sort of a mixture of 1984, classic dystopian elements, and manga tropes. I almost feel like it was trying to do too much at once, but I’ll get to that later in my review.

Dante is a bit of an oddball, to put it kindly. He lives in a world where a mushroom has taken over the planet. It does so by taking over the minds of its hosts – including people. Think cordyceps fungi (the fungus that turns ants into zombies) but for people.

You’d think that would make Dante a hardened guard, fighting to keep himself alive alongside all those he cares about. Well, some of that is true. Mostly, Dante survives on sheer dumb luck.

So, as I hinted at above, Fungus and Iron Vol. 1 feels like it tries too hard to be too many things at once. It’s a dystopian tale with romance, action (alongside gore), manga tropes, and even a 1984 vibe. It’s all too much for a relatively short period of time.

The result is that it just feels…shallow. I don’t feel like I know Dante. I know that he’s a lucky idiot, but being able to say that doesn’t mean that I actually know him, does it? Honestly, I didn’t even like him all that much. I certainly didn’t find myself rooting for him.

There lies one of the problems here. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the story. I think part of it is due to the issues I mentioned above. The other part is probably the pacing. Maybe if we had been given more time to know Dante and his love, I might have been able to care a little bit more.

Ultimately, Fungus and Iron Vol. 1 was a flop for me. However, if you’re looking for a read with lots of action and gore, this might be right up your alley.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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