Mardock Scramble – let’s scramble some eggs! bonutzuu’s manga archive

I love when things go on sale. This was 70% off. It’s in eBook format, which means my mom won’t nag me for buying too many manga.

Mardock Scramble is a 7-volume manga adapted from Tow Ubukata’s novel of the same name. On my blog, I reviewed one of Ubukata-sensei’s previous works, Le Chevalier D’Eon, before. He writes great stories, so I had high expectations for Mardock Scramble, and it did deliver.

Mardock Scramble started with Rune Balot (Balot as in that food where you eat a fertilized egg with a developing embryo) getting murdered, then burned inside a locked car. She miraculously survived thanks to Dr. Easter and his partner Œufcoque (pronounced oof-cock). Rune is an important witness that can bring her murderer, Shell Septinos, to his punishment, and so the two convinced her to stand up and fight for justice.

Rune was revived under regulation Mardock Scramble 09, where experimental technologies can be used to save a witness’s life. Rune’s burnt skin was replaced with some kind of super-advanced metal fiber that gave her a lot of cool abilities, like interacting with electronics without touching them, or super human speed and perception. Œufcoque, a shapeshifting AI weapon that usually appears a yellow mouse, became her partner and help her adjust to her new life, and thwart Shell’s attempts to silence her.

I spent four volumes trying to remember where I saw this mangaka’s art style before, and after googling it, I found out Yoshitoki Oima is the same person who wrote Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) and To Your Eternity. No wonder the art is so familiar, especially how she drew the eyes.

The author, Tow Ubukata, gave freedom to Oima-sensei to do whatever she wanted (he even called the manga ‘Oima Scramble’ lol) and he really liked the adaptation (source: interview in one of the volumes). Rune’s design was changed, and I like both her anime design and manga design. She looks sweeter (and more emotional) in the manga, but when she goes insane, she’s so scary lol.

Oima-sensei is a master of drawing emotions, and even in her debut manga, she did an exceptional job, from small body languages and interactions to vivid facial expressions. I can’t praise her enough.

Okay, can we talk about how absolutely adorable Œufcoque is in the manga? He seldom appeared in the anime, and we could only hear his voice, but he popped up in the manga all the time and he’s just an extremely adorable and caring cinnamon roll. He doesn’t ruin the serious mood, he’s part of it. And that’s amazing.

There was this part where Rune said something along the line of ‘I love Œufcoque’, and normally I would probably go ‘wait what, you mean you fell in love with the shapeshifting weapon?’, but for this one I was like ‘yeah, girl, me too.’ Seriously, Œufcoque is friggin’ adorable. When I watched the anime, I was surprised to find out he sounded very mature, considering how he looks in the manga.

One thing I like about their relationship (story-wise) is how it grew from a one-sided relationship to one where they can depend on each other. At first, Rune’s relationship with Œufcoque is similar to one she had with Shell: she was very dependent on him. (You could say the same for her relationship with her older brother.) Everything she did after, she did because she ‘thought’ it was good for Œufcoque. Dr. Easter did express concern for it, and that concern became real when Rune abused Œufcoque’s powers and almost killed him.

The paradise arc that followed was Rune’s strive to find her independence and strike a balance in her relationship with Œufcoque. What I felt was the biggest ‘turning point’ wasn’t their reconciliation, but the scene in the casino arc, where Rune took her gloves (shapeshifted Œufcoque) off and tried to use her own powers to win. I see it as the point that she had her independence, and that she and Œufcoque trust each other’s abilities.

By the way, I love that little reconciliation scene where Œufcoque pretended to drop his pistachios so that he had a reason to sneak under Rune’s door. It was really funny and cute how Rune tried to give them back to him, only to be caught by his little paw. Aww.

Speaking of the casino arc, it was as intense as the battle scenes. If you’re into gambling anime like Kakegurui, I think you’ll enjoy it. Personally, I find the manga’s casino arc more enjoyable, since it tells the story from both the dealers and from Balot’s perspective, and we could really see the psychological battles going on. Also, it was easier to follow, since you read and understand the games at your own pace. One thing I’ll give the anime is that the lighting effects they used for the casino gave the scenes a hell lot of tension and a surreal vibe. I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I liked it.

Compared to the anime (I only watched the third movie, btw), I like the manga’s version of the last Rune vs Boiled fight more. I felt the anime went back and forth, while the manga told the story in one go and it was easier to follow. The manga also offered a more ‘conclusive’ ending to Balot’s whole journey and give us a glimpse into her future.

The manga included a short story about Rune’s childhood friend, a boy that had half his body paralyzed. I wanna spoil it here, but I think it’s better if read without spoilers. It really shows Balot’s growth throughout the series through the lens of an outsider unrelated to the main plot.

All in all, Mardock Scramble was a manga I enjoyed a lot. The story was good, the art was superb, and I really like the characters. Everything in this manga is named after some kind of egg dish. If you’re into action/cyberpunk, give this manga a go.

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