This week I have a review of another first volume of a manga by Tsutomu Nihei.

Title: Blame!, Volume 1
Story & Art by Tsutomu Nihei
Translation by Stephen  Paul and Brandon Montclare
Published by Tokyopop

Available from Amazon.com

The Premise

Killy is a wanderer in a constructed world, looking for people who have Net Terminal Genes. Along the way he encounters various human settlements and faces various synthetic threats along the way.

High Points

Blame! is a lot like Moebius’ Arzach, but with a significantly more serious main character, a more claustrophobic landscape, and with an absurdly powerful handgun taking the place of the pterodactyl.

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly like Arzach, but it has the same vibe, with a soft-spoken (though not silent) wanderer traveling through a strange world like nothing we’re familiar with, and surviving through his wits and skill.

Low Points

The problem is that unlike Arzach, there’s no sense of place in the story. It’s never really clear how far up Killy climes, or how far he falls. I can understand wanting to give us too much information, as doing that can put a cap on the scope of the environment. However, the reader needs to be given some sense of how far Killian has traveled, to give an emotional connection with the scope of his journey.

Scores

Originality: Aside from the aforementioned similarities to Arzach, I’ve never read anything like this. 5/6

Artwork: Nihei’s art, even in this earlier work, is incredibly good. 5/6

Story: The story is made up of a bunch of little vignettes that are leading into something – I’m just not sure what. 4/6

Characterization: Almost nonexistent. 2/6

Emotional Response: Aside from “holy crap this place is big,” and “this art is pretty,” I didn’t get much of a reaction. 2/6

Overall: I enjoyed this and I’ll probably read more, but it’s not something that grabbed me enough to make me want to pick up the next volume right away. 3/6

In total, Blame! Volume 1 gets 27/42.