God Bless The Mistaken Volume 1: Today’s World



The most dreadful experience for a mangaka is the follow up. The “what comes next” after reaching a peak that many will never see in their career. When it comes to Nio Nakatani, that pressure is doubled, as their hit manga Bloom Into You thrives to this day within the Yuri genre. It’s incredibly hard to escape the grasps of single-minded readers that will see mangaka as on trick ponies, believing either that they should “stick to what they’re good at” or “don’t think they can pull it off”. It’s disheartening to see and hear about, but Nakatani almost effortlessly swats away such murmurs and doubt with this first volume of God Bless The Mistaken.

However incredibly different and unique the manga remains against their prior work, Nakatani’s sensibilities remain ever strong here. Specifically, their work with relating day to day life to the human experience and the challenges that face each character as they attempt to better understand themselves is wonderful. It lives and breaths so much like Bloom Into You in that regard, and I’m very thankful for it. Though, it also has a lot of work that sets it apart.

Take, for example, the character design. At a glance (especially in color), you can tell that these are designs from Nakatani. Just the way that they build their character’s faces is a giveaway. However, a lot of the rest is entirely different- so much so that it’s really quite impossible to say that there’s even the slightest bit of overlap between character designs from Bloom Into You to God Bless The Mistaken. Though I might just be a little more cognizant of this sort of work as I’ve been working away on that Daydream Hour post. Anyways, the character designs remain wonderful, and while retaining Nakatani’s style, are a very noticeable level up in terms of expressiveness and creativity.

Though I’d argue the biggest improvements are the layouts and environment art. Nakatani’s awareness of God Bless The Mistaken, and what they’re trying to do with it, is incredibly high, and that awareness creates a wonderfully vivid picture. If I were to compare it to Bloom Into You, Nakatani was probing the depths of their mind and were left with a somewhat blurry image, but with God Bless The Mistaken, those ideas have come out clear as day. In particular I’m a massive fan of the lighting/shading work in this volume, and love the amount of perspective we get. It’s incredibly hard to narrow it down to a few examples, but hopefully I’ve chosen some that give potential readers a better idea as to how delightful the visuals are for this series. Also on the topic of visuals, I find it very very funny just how much Nakatani is able to pack into the front and back covers without immediately giving things away. Impressively subtle work that’s really quite fun to see.

So, I’ve established that the art is good, but how’s the story? Quite frankly, I think through a single volume it’s better than Bloom Into You‘s. Now, let me explain the story first and then I’ll explain myself.

God Bless The Mistaken is centered around the daily lives of several tenants in a share house, in a world where “bugs” happen. One day you might wake up and greenery could be taking over everything, and then a few days later it’ll all disappear and you’ll be able to walk in the air. More than finding the source of these anomalies, God Bless The Mistaken is about living a normal life, growing up, finding friends and enjoying every moment in the face of obstacles that disrupt daily life.

Now, let me explain why that’s such a well done and executed upon concept. Firstly, as I said earlier, the ideas and story of this volume have appeared so vividly to Nakatani, that you get such a pure and distilled experience when reading. Everything is so clear, and that’s incredibly valuable for a series that encourages you to read between the lines so much. Similarly, Nakatani’s wonderfully married two very opposing ideas. Pairing such an important and all-encompassing idea with such a benign and simple experience takes a lot of talent and ability- which Nio Nakatani proves to have in spades.

The characters are so alive and unique, and each idea is entirely distinct from one another, serving to give our protagonist (Kon) a gentle nudge in the direction to become a better, happier version of himself. It’s incredibly methodic in that sense and really uses the series to appreciate a life that allows you to move at your own pace. In a lot of ways, it reminds me a great deal of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. While not near as loose or subjective as the life of an android in a waning world, God Bless The Mistaken borrows a lot in terms of feel and reading experience. It’s light, perfectly benign yet paradoxically valuable, and it’s more than willing to have fun with itself.

There’s a lot of qualities that God Bless The Mistaken and Nio Nakatani posses as manga and mangaka that others would want. As a follow-up to a hit series, it’s really all you could ask for. Though it may stand a little short in stature compared to Bloom Into You at four volumes versus the latter’s eight, it’s done a lot to prove itself. It’s an entirely different, totally new, and delightfully fresh manga from an author that had a lot riding on the work. Because of that, I think God Bless The Mistaken is the type of manga you can recommend to both regular manga readers and even Bloom Into You superfans.

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