Monday, September 26, 2011

Bio-Art: Fraken Fran.

(Disclaimer: The images used in this entry belong to the mangaka and/or scanlators. It just strikes me as silly to talk about a series without visual aids.)

Science fact is catching up faster and faster with science fiction. It won't be long before we can all live out our dreams of having senses greater than those of the average human, being able to have kids without an awkward nine-month pregnancy, and indulging any furry fantasies we may have. Biotechnology is getting close to making even the most outlandish science fiction seem downright plausible.


Enter Fran, the creation of Dr. Madaraki, one of the finest biologists of the era. After he suddenly went missing, Fran took over the good doctor's work: Using science to grant people's fondest wishes, often in the form of cosmetic surgery. It's no fault of hers that what they wished for is not exactly what they thought it would be!

Franken Fran is a more or less episodic manga series by Katsuhisa Kigitsu.  It centers around the  strange surgeries that Fran gives her patients and clients. These range from relatively simple procedures, such as weight loss surgery, to raising the dead, chimera splicing, and making flesh-and-blood mascots for an amusement park. One story even involves a girl getting surgery to make her look like a manga character (META POWERS AWAY!). Fran's the doctor that can do anything, no matter how bizarre the request.

But how plausible are these procedures, really? Although all of these strange events (I do mean every single bizarre thing that happens) have a basis in scientific fact, I doubt that some of the things Fran does will come to pass. For example, fattening someone will not result in that person undergoing mitosis...although, given how evolution is favoring the fat and/or stupid, they may as well be multiplying like that. Although cool, it is also unlikely that we will ever be able to replicate/swap the eyes of a mantis shrimp for our own. There are just some things that make me go "really?" This does not daunt the fun of a good dark piece of sci-fi.

Do not let Fran's almost-innocent look fool you: Franken Fran does not beat around the bushes when it comes to the terrifying possibilities of science. It has squick, a little bit of philosophy, and tasty tidbits of real scientific knowledge at the end of every book. Those of you who are faint of heart, stay far, far away. Science can be messy business.

THIS is how close paws are to human digits, furries!

My final thoughts are going to sound very familiar: If you can handle seeing science gone wrong, give Franken Fran a try.  It's like Splice in that it dives into truth being close to, and maybe stranger than, fiction, only Franken Fran actually goes there.

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