One Punch Reviews #77: Toilet Genie
The opening sequence of Cari Corene’s Toilet Genie is not unlike having escargot at a classy French restaurant: the atmosphere is pretty, the appetizer is kinda gross, and yet it’s still pretty compelling and makes you hungry for the main dish. Then suddenly, the main dish arrives, and it’s a college philosophy thesis. Slathered in barbecue sauce.
The opening scenes of Toilet Genie are pretty killer. A horrible kid ditches his pug in a filthy bathroom. After splashing around in the urine-filled toilet a bit (ewwwwww), the pug encounters a handsome fellow chained to the toilet. He is Vidu, our titular toilet genie. He spies the pug, whose name is Skittlez, and grants her three wishes: a butt scratch, hugs, and love from her master. Shazam! Skittlez is transformed from a cute little toilet-loving pup into an attractive young woman.
Um, relatively speaking. Ms. Corene has a lovely art style, full of angular shadows and bright textures. Also, the dudes are a billion times more beautiful than the women. I mean, sure, Skittlez is cute, but with her giant pug-like eyes and pale skin she definitely looks a little like Gollum’s long lost sister. Of course, since this is a genie, there’s an ironic twist. In this case, Skittlez gets kicked to the curb after she menstruates. (EWWWWWWW!) She gets rescued, though, by a male nurse who is best described as dreamy.
Around this point, though, the story very swiftly and regretfully into Expositionland. Our male nurse, Anya, is familiar with the genie, and he begins daydreaming about Vidu and a pretty wolf man. (And despite my initial impressions, the long-haired character with thick eyelashes, pouty lips, a slim waist, and what look to be furry boobs is, in fact, a dude.) Suddenly, the pages are filled with huge chunks of text that look like they should be in an appendix somewhere. We learned about the animistic mythology, the three heavens, and the stunning realization that menstrual blood is magic.
No. I didn’t make that up.
To Ms. Corene’s credit, the art is appropriately cosmic. The version of Vidu in this extended flashback looks is serene, playful, and godlike. But, when you think about it, for a very long stretch, nothing is happening. We’re watching Skittlez and Anya sitting down, drinking coffee, and doing nothing. Well, nothing except dreaming about two dude talking to each other. I mean, this is a visual medium. It would’ve been nice if these paragraphs were actually illustrated rather than spelled out. After that initially burst of weirdness, Toilet Genie gets boring.
But then again, we’d miss out on all the dialogue, like this: “In the smallest of arcane acts, like throwing a rock, Purpose is just Purpose. It’s easy. But the most powerful the arcane art, the more Purpose becomes compartmentalized into one of three types of magic….” Practically paints a mindscape for you, doesn’t it?
Final Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).