Minako's Notes: If Takaguchi Satosumi weren't so amazingly prolific, I think I'd collect all of her works. She literally has dozens of manga under her belt, using her unusual soft style to produce wild comedies, sweet romances, and dark dramas. This is the darkest work that I've read from Takaguchi-sensei. Akira is a very sympathetic, but disturbed character. At the heart of things, I think that he has a very desperate need to fit in. Unfortunately, his desperation often leads to disaster as he'll do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to gain acceptance.
The artwork by Takaguchi-sensei is beautifully done, as always, and her softness strangely fits this harsh tale, giving it an almost dream-like quality. The artwork is extremely important in this series, as the violence, sexuality, and tragedy are often implied as off-screen actions. The story itself is hard to follow, both figuratively and literally. Furigana is only used for names, nowhere else. So if you don't have a good grasp of written Japanese, you'd probably want to think twice about reading this one.
Despite my love for Takaguchi-sensei's artwork, this wasn't one of my favorite manga when I first read it. It was hard to read, it was confusing, it was dark. However, my opinion changed when I read the last few pages. The ending of Kreuz is absolutely spectacular. It comes out of nowhere to kick you in the gut and leave you reeling. Even just thinking about it makes me ache. I'm honestly still not crazy about the manga, but in my opinion, it's honestly all worth it just to read those last few pages. Simply amazing.
Warnings and Suggestions: This is a very dark story, including homosexuality, gangs, fighting, smoking, drinking, kidnapping, rape, and abuse. All involve underaged characters. On the other hand, it's not visually graphic at all. Most sexuality and violence is implied, not actually seen.