Gimmick! Volume One is rated “T+” for Older Teens.

Gimmick! Volume One
Written by: Youzaburou Kanari
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 10, 2008

Kohei Nagase is the main character in Gimmick! He’s a makeup and special effects artist who is able to come up with incredible makeup and special effects by using his special instrument, “the Silver Spatula of God.” He helps to disguise his friends from their enemies and to get them through predicaments they may find themselves in. Unfortunately, there are also those who try to take advantage of Kohei’s skills for their own financial gain. Kohei has a muscle-bound sidekick named Kaminazuki, and he’s a stunt man.

During the course of this volume, Kohei helps an aspiring actress escape from her controlling manager and try to reunite her with her boyfriend, help a monster theme park redesign their mannequins and get caught up in an act of revenge by the man who had designed the original mannequins, help an actress with her comeback after she is scarred from a car accident, and Kohei is taken advantage of by thieves posing as studio executives.

I really enjoyed the art style utilized in Gimmick! While there are elements in the character design that can be seen as a “stereotypical manga” look, there are some variations used that help the characters look like they belong in a manga with the tone that Gimmick! has. Facial expressions are a strong point for artist Kuroko Yanuguchi, because the drawings of the facial expressions really add a sense of realism and immediacy to the story as you read the manga. The art, combined with the story, make this a manga volume that’s hard to put down.

Gimmick! has an interesting concept, and I think there could be potential in future volumes of this series. I also appreciate how explanations of what Kohei is doing with the makeup and special effects are included, but the explanations are done in such a way that it doesn’t bog down the story.

However, it should be noted that this manga series is geared more toward adults than to teenagers. This volume contains some nudity and subject matter that is a little more appropriate for older readers. I would personally recommend this manga series to readers who are 17 or 18 years of age and older.