Lychee Light Club

Ours Must Be More Beautiful

Lychee Light Club

By Usamaru Furuya

Graphic Novel
Paperback, 328 pages, 6 x 8 inches
U.S.$16.95 / CAN$21.00

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For the sooty industrial town’s lads there’s only one point of light: the Light Club, a secret brotherhood they’ve organized in an abandoned factory. They’re on the verge of booting up their crowning achievement, a “thinking machine” fueled by lychee fruits. At the same time, the middle schoolers’ cooties-fearing solidarity is devolving into a downright National Socialist muck of murderous paranoia, perverse aestheticism, and (not always) suppressed homosexuality. Cult favorite Usamaru Furuya’s most flawlessly realized work to date, here is Lord of the Flies for our new century—a text, however, that will never be assigned in schools.

After graduating from Tama University of the Arts, Tokyo native Usamaru Furuya turned his attention to the world of comics. Since his debut in 1994, he has gone on to draw sixteen titles. First translated into English in the nineties before the onset of the manga boom, he won an expectant cult following in the United States that is being rewarded only today with a new spate of localizations.

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2011 Toronto Comics Art Festival Guest of Honor

Lychee Light Club is unflinchingly graphic, and as such it requires a certain taste of its audience. Those who can stomach its depravity will be amply rewarded. Furuya’s grimly elegant style […] is a perverse kind of beauty, as visually bold and exploratory as its subject matter. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never look at lychee the same way again.”
Otaku USA

“Furuya at his most deranged—a masterpiece of gore and debauchery that will have your brain screaming in horror even as you read on in rapture. The plotline is simple enough—the Light Club’s descent into madness shows how absolute power corrupts absolutely—but the complex themes and details make it unforgettable… It’s shocking, disturbing, revolting—and an instant pick for one of the year’s best. Grade: A-”
Anime News Network

“It’s a gripping read—quite literally—as when it arrived I began absent-mindedly reading the first few pages and ended up sitting down in my kitchen and reading the whole book in one sitting… If you’re looking for something violent, sexual, revolting and thought-provoking, then Lychee Light Club is a solid pick. It’s definitely one of the better manga I’ve read so far this year. Score: 9/10”

“The short of the matter is that Vertical, Inc. has done it again and released a manga that is a must read… Is Lychee Light Club over the top? Yes, a thousand times yes. But it never becomes exploitative or ridiculous, it maintains a feeling of realism and I found it very easy to suspend disbelief at the most over-the-top scenes… Lychee Light Club really is the first great manga of 2011. Grade: A+/A”
The Fandom Post

“The manga is in a way a tragic love story and a horror novel at the same time that will leave the reader a bit shocked and enthralled… The translations all read well and their placement is great, avoiding getting in the way of the images… A great read. Grade: 4.5/5”

“With its attention to the chaotic state of mind of those entering adolescence and frequent nods to classic works of literature, it could be either a real mess or a work of near genius. With the beautifully realised art as flawlessly executed as the story that unfolds, I’m going to have to sit in the camp that believes this to be a modern classic… It is a tragic masterpiece of horror. Rating: 5/5”
Kimi-chan Experience(U.K.)

“Don’t be expecting this to be a lighthearted story about a club and their passion for fruit; this is a dark and great manga! Ages 18+ indeed…but it’s still one great damn manga that I recommend to just about anyone that needs a taste of something different. If you liked Battle Royale, Berserk, MPD Psycho…you are going to love Lychee as much as I did. Grade: A”
About Heroes

“Gore so lovingly depicted that it almost transcends and becomes art… Make no mistake about it, this is a book filled with sadism, horrific violence and sexual situations, and depraved behavior. But it has a human heart in its Frankenstein-esque robot, and what I’ll take from it is not the scenes of people being cut open and smashed into bits… More manga as thought-provoking as this, please.”
A Case Suitable for Treatment

“He’s an artist who will draw every last line if the scene calls for it, especially when it involves some of the most face-ripping, chest-bursting, and head-splodingest action this side of a Garth Ennis comic… Furuya does a very good job of detailing the personalities of the boys and depicting the growth of the robot they create… It’s not out just to shock you, but to make you think as well and that’s what makes it worthwhile.”
Comic Picks By The Glick

“The real good stuff lies in the art, for the most part. It’s just very pretty to look at. Yes, even intestines and eyeballs can be pretty to look at. But seriously, the art is really dark, but it’s very clear and Furuya just makes the images surrounding this twisted little clubhouse look really cool… Overall, Lychee Light Club is a violent, bloody, sick good time, and it’s all done in a knowing, fun way.”

“Decadent sexuality, or just plain decadence, suffuses every frame and worms its way into every detail: the angle of an eye, the way a forelock flips up, the positioning of the fingers on a hand… The taboo-smashing act here serves a purpose, even if that purpose is just to showcase Furuya’s splendid skill as a visualizer. Fortunately he has a lot more in him than just that.”
Genji Press

“This book pretty much made me a fan for life, twisted and sick though that may seem… It’s the ending sequence that I will never forget, though. It is extraordinary. Visceral, gory, abrasive, and exquisite. It is disgusting, there’s a bit of a twist I didn’t see coming, and it’s even a little noble. Does love enter into this story? Not really, but there’s a little sweetness at the very end anyway.”
Slightly Biased Manga

“How’s this for a pitch? Imagine He-Man Women Haters Club fell out of a time capsule as 13 year olds, fellated each other and built a girl-abducting robot… Lychee Light Club is an example of why, if asked if I prefer anime or manga, I’ll answer in favor of manga… While it’s best not to view manga production through a too rose-colored lens, it does offer opportunities for creators like Furuya to hone the skill of authoring works of as well-constructed distortion as Lychee Light Club.”
Ain't It Cool News

“The (homo)eroticism manages not to be alluring, and the spilled blood and guts do not seem quite human. This is intentional… The ultimate message seems to be that simply being human does not necessarily guarantee one’s humanity. Yet, on the other hand, the cruelest things we do emanate from our most human of desires and frailties. It’s a good lesson, and it makes Lychee Light Club far more than just another eroguro sequential art spectacle. Highly recommended.”
Graphic Novel Reporter

“We are left to decipher these characters through gesture or sidelong glance. We become entranced by their beauty and their full, dark lips, the androgyny of their design perhaps a deliberate ploy to make us as confused about our sexual desires as they are… And so you are left to intuit more than digest, and your intuition turns to sympathy, because when seeing from without, there is so much less to alienate us.”
The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog

Lychee Light Club is sick as hell… I’m unsure if the political story is supposed to be allegorical or if the point of this comic is really about perversion and love, but it’s pretty great either way… For those who are manga curious but don’t know what’s good or have been burned in the past, I recommend [Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Domu], anything by Suehiro Maruo, and this book.”