Thursday, 3 November 2011

Eden - It's an Endless World

For quite a while I've wanted to start reading more manga but haven't been too sure which titles to begin with, manga appears to have so many different genres and sub genres  within it that it's quite easy to become overwhelmed by choice. I've only read two books of manga before reading the first volume of Eden - It's an Endless World, I've read the first volume of Welcome to the N.H.K by Tatsuhiko Takimoto, (a story whose central character is a hikkikomori), and also Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, I enjoyed reading both of these books, I guess with manga it's simply a case of diving in and discovering what titles you like and those which you don't, although I'm not too interested in checking out the well known ones. This overwhelming choice of manga is something that Hiroki Endo discusses in an afterword to Eden, he talks also about finding the perfect CD amongst the huge choice to be had, the one manga, song or film that you can relate completely to, for him it was Evangelion but he finds that it's magic begins to wear off, or perhaps that you change, his afterword addresses this constantly changing relationship between who we are and why we become attracted to certain books, music, films.
Eden - It's An Endless World was published in Japan by Kodansha, translated into English by Kumar Sivasubramanian and published by Dark Horse Comics and Titan Books. The first volume of Eden opens in a post apocalyptic world, to begin with there are three principal characters who we get the impression could be the only survivors of an undefined ending of the world; Enoah and Hannah, two junior high school age kids, and also the older, Layne, a wheel chair bound scientist who we discover quite early on in the story is gay. They discuss facets of the bible, and Enoah asks Layne about his father, Enoah only has sparse memories of him. The story begins to be told through flash back sections which are marked throughout the book with the page backgrounds being in black, Layne recollects growing up with Enoah's father, Chris, in the small town where they grew up Layne was beaten up for being gay, Chris never broke off their friendship, an undercurrent to the relationship between Layne and Chris is that possibly Layne holds an unrequited love for Chris, the two men studied science together and the narrative jumps to them working in a purpose built secret military laboratory base trying to find the antidote and cause of a mysterious bio-hazzardous  virus which attacks the body, causing the outer skin to harden and the central organs to liquefy. Chris becomes frustrated with the authorities and begins to pass information onto an illegitimate organization, Propater. Hannah and Enoah seem to be special cases as they have DNA which is immune to the virus, Layne at some point has contracted the disease and his condition seems to be worsening. Walking around the now deserted compound Enoah comes across the pieces of a robot called Cherubim which he reassembles.

As chapter one ends helicopters arrive at the base which Enoah refers to as their Eden, and unknown to him his father is amongst the masked men that land and have begun to take control of the base under the guise of rescuing them, tracking down Layne, Chris states he's come for his revenge, a fully functional Cherubim begins to open fire on the men and helicopters, wiping them all out. Chapter two is set twenty years after these events and follows a youth, accompanied by Cherubim, as he explores a city scape now overrun with vegetation and plant life, perplexingly he comes across a body which is being mauled by dogs, inside the ribcage he finds a set of computer discs. The next morning the youth is awakened by a group of bandits that take him hostage, whose leader, Sophia, has hacked into Cherubim and discovered that the youth's name is Elijah and also his father's identity. Eden is a series I think that I could quite easily read in it's entirety, the drawing is a great balance between simplicity and detailed study, the whole tone is one that could be labelled as being speculative,  the cover states that it's for mature readers, the first volume is in fact quite mild, although I think as the series goes on, I gather things become more explicit, the volumes that come after this one look in turn at the histories of the central characters, although I think before I take them up I may turn to Endo Hiroki's two volume collection Tanpenshu.          

Eden - It's an Endless World at Dark Horse and at Titan Books

Eden - It's an Endless World at Wikipedia


Parrish Lantern said...

Not a world I've entered, although have read one graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and I enjoyed that.

me. said...

I feel like I should read alot more manga, there's a few more titles that I've got my eye on to reading in the future, I'd have to say the bigger names don't really attract me that much, but it's something I'd like to explore further. I've not read Persepolis yet, but I'd like to!.

bokusenou said...

Yeah, the popular titles may have been good once, but they got popular and now their publisher will make sure they continue long after the mangaka has lost interest.

For obscure seinen manga that will likely never be published into English, I reccomend Kotonoha (
As for other manga, just pick something which sounds interesting, and see if it's good, that's what I do, though I watch for anime than read manga (despite the manga versions of series usually being more detailed), but I always read the manga for series I really liked.

I'm currently reading "Kino no Tabi"/"Kino's Journey" in Japanese, but that's a novel, and one that's not available in English, though I do reccomend the short anime series, as it is one of the most thought-provoking anime I have ever seen.

me. said...

Thanks for the recommendations, it looks like that Tokyo Pop published an English version of the manga of 'Kino no Tabi' a while ago so maybe I'll have a look at that, certainly looks interesting. Another I'd like to read is Osamu Tezuka's 'The Book of Human Insects' which I think is being published at the end of this month. Recently I read that the latest edition of 'One Piece' had an inital print run of four million copies, which I think is the largest print run in recent history, not too sure if 'One Piece' is for me, but four million copies, phew!.

Pindu said...

One word: gekiga. And the guy who spawned it: Tatsumi Yoshihiro. Luckily there are translations in English so more people can read him and stop with the nonsense that comics aren't real books.

I've also been recommended a wild variety of manga, from Dorohedoro and Mushishi to Sexy Voice and Robo. But if you look up lists that include Tatsumi Yoshihiro, you're bound to find other rebels like him.

me. said...

I've read 'Abandon the Old in Tokyo' and really enjoyed it, so I'll return to Tatsumi again in the future. I'm really looking forward to seeing Eric Khoo's movie on him. Thanks for the recommendations will check some of those out!, I think the next manga I'll read will be 'A Drunken Dream and Other Stories' by Moto Hagio, looks interesting, so many good books to read.