This week I have another review of another of Tsutomu Nihei’s work with the first volume of his cyberpunk zombie apocalypse manga Biomega.
Title: Biomega Volume 1
Story and Art by Tsutomu Nihei
Translated by John Werry and Stan!
Published by Viz Signature
In the year 3000, an alien plague, called the N5S virus, is infecting the Earth turning people into super-powered zombies. Zoichi Kanoe, a cyborg troubleshooter for Toa Heavy Industry heads to the artificial island of 9Jo, in the Pacific Ocean, to investigate the infection to find Eon Green, a girl who is immune to the virus. However, also members the Public Health Service’s Compulsory Execution Unit is sent to find her and capture her, and kill anyone who gets in their way.
Coming into this manga, I was absolutely zombied out. I was completely done with zombies. Then I read this, and was very entertained. Nihei makes the zombies threats, as opposed as having them be set dressing while the humans screw each other over for incredibly stupid reasons, and act like total idiots. Further, the action is drawn incredibly well. Often times, action scenes in manga are either incredibly disjointed or cut far too short, due to the limitations of the medium. Nihei gives the action scenes (which are absolutely gorgeous) plenty of time to flow properly, allowing the reader to follow the action every step of the way.
Also, I need to talk about the scenery. The world of 9Jo looks amazing. The city has a sort of Gothic Brutalist look, almost like something out German Expressionist film, except interpreted through the lens of anime and manga. With the look of the city, combined with the incredibly well done action, I really wish this manga had gotten an anime adaptation.
Unfortunately, the Public Health Organization’s plan, to have humanity united as a hive mind through the virus, ala Evangelion’s Human Instrumentality Project, is really goddamn stupid. What might even be dumber, is telling the public that you’re going to do it. At least SEELE had the good sense to tell the soldiers who they were using as part of their plan to start Third Impact that they were instead trying to avert Third Impact.
Originality: The cyberpunk zombie apocalypse thing is pretty new, though the villain’s plan isn’t exactly original. 4/6
Artwork: See the high point. 6/6
Story: This volume spends a little more time on the action than they do on the story, though the story works pretty well. 4/6
Emotional Response: This volume kind of runs on rule of cool, and it pulls that off really well. 5/6
Characterization: Zoichi and Eon aren’t fleshed out very well. Koslov, the uplifted bear (yeah, this is a theme for Nihei) is developed very well though. 5/6
Flow: See the high point. 6/6
Overall: This got me interested in reading a zombie story after getting totally burned out on zombie stories entirely. 4/6
In total, Biomega Volume 1 gets 34/42.