Ryu’s Musings – Biomega Volume 01

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

513hqwfgSvL ISBN-13: 9781421531847
Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
Pages: 220
by: Tsutomu Nihei 
Publisher: Viz Signature 
Type: Series
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Seinen

Synopsis:
Zoichi Kanoe plunges into the depths of 9JO–an island city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean–in search of Eon Green, a girl with the power to transmute the N5S virus. He’s not the only one looking for her, though… Agents of the Public Health Service’s Compulsory Execution Unit are also in hot pursuit. Zoichi and his transhuman allies have no time to waste; the countdown to the zombie apocalypse has begun!

Characters:

Zoichi Kanoe is a really hard character to judge, because he hardly speaks though out the volume. The hints we get about him are that he’s somewhat cold and aloof, he doesn’t come off as very friendly or personable, but he has a softer side to him. He isn’t the type where the mission is the mission is the mission.

Fuyu Kanoe, another hard one to judge. Initially I thought she was just part of the AI used to control Zoichi’s bike, however I’m not so sure anymore. She comes across as a cheerful and bubbly person, who will make up for Zoichi’s lacking.

Eon Green is the one character I haven’t got any sort of reliable feel for. She appears to have a similar personality to Zoichi, but since we hardly ever see her this volume it’s impossible to form any true conclusions. Though I’m laying odds that she becomes Zoichi’s lover at some point.

General Thoughts:

This is the second manga I’ve had a hard time writing about, the other being Clover (which I still have to finish). The problem with this volume is that it’s a very bad first volume for a series. We get a lot of stuff going on, but nothing really happens.

I really don’t like the art for the series, it’s to dark and as a result a lot of the scenes are hard to really follow or at times even to make out. The character designs I found myself chopping and changing my mind. On the one hand some of the characters, the drones for example, and Fuyu, are okay. However I really didn’t like Zoichi or Eon’s design, both had a weird feel to them that stopped me from connecting with them. This could just be because we don’t really get to see much in the way of personality from any of the characters this volume, so they all have a slightly robotic feel to them.

The last chapter of the volume had more in it than the rest of the entire volume sadly, and while it did increase my interest in the series a bit, I’m not sure it’ll be enough for me to buy the three other currently released volumes, especially at their asking price.

The other major problem with this volume is that there was no real beginning, no introduction to what’s going on. The way the story was introduced and explained was half hearted, as though Tsutomu was more interested in just introducing the two main characters, and getting to the story at a later date.

Sadly this means we have a volume where we never really understand anything, and the half hearted attempts to give some information just make that feeling worse.

Publisher Handling:

Viz are one of the most frustrating publishers I’ve come across to date. The quality of their releases changes so much from line to line, and even volume to volume.

When I ordered this I ordered it at the same time as Yukikaze, and All You Need is KILL, thinking it was a novel. Even when it arrived it looks like a novel. And for me there in lies one of their biggest flaws, size consistency. They chop and change their volumes sizes almost (seemingly) on a whim. Some novels are one size, others are another, and others are yet another.

Their other problem is the number of sub groups they have. Sure the likes of DMP have several sub groups, DMP, Doki Doki and June for example. But these are clearly defined and follow a set of rules. With Viz it’s out of hand, they have a whopping 10 sub divisions for their releases. If there was need for this I could understand, but a lot of the releases could and do fit in several groups, so what was the point?

Anyways, onto their handling of the volume. Firstly I liked the feel of the cover, the embossed title gives it a nice touch. I do think the glossy pages went to waste, since it was almost all black. It would have been nice with some character art or something on those pages.

Viz have a tendency to heavily edit their releases, especially the SFX’s which they completely remove and then replace with english equivalents. For me this is a big no no, I’m buying manga not comics.

Sadly that’s it. For such a big volume there’s very little to comment on, or even enjoy. Personally I would have looked at introducing the first two volumes as an omnibus to increase interest. One thing I will give them praise for is that this one seems to have been given a UK release (at least there’s a UK price on it). However I don’t like the increased price tag, it’s gone up £3 compared to the usual Viz release.

Not to sure I’ll get the other volumes, much rather buy some other needed stuff first.

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