EDEN Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, June 08, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Translated by:Kumar Sivasubramanian
What They Say
The most action-filled Eden yet! In this shocking volume, character revelations and intense battlefield decisions punctuate a roller-coaster, book-length conflict. With new, cyber-augmented Propater villains (the Aeon soldiers) making a vicious debut, the mysterious Colonel tries to keep his ragtag group of freedom fighters alive. Kenji cuts a path through armored soldiers, and Cheribum and Sophia suffer serious setbacks. Kachua and Wycliffe make their way through secret Incan tunnels, not knowing what horrors lie in the daylight. If you thought that the previous Eden volume had a cliffhanger ending, you'll be blown away by the final pages of this thrilling ride! Hiroki Endo's Eden is a garden of violence, pathos, and philosophy, where endearing heroes face a constant struggle for survival and violent surprises wait around every corner!
A bit of advice for readers ready to plunge into this gripping third volume of EDEN: find a safe place, preferably with soft cushions, wash your thumbs, and grab a comforting blanket along with a bottle of your favorite hard liquor. You'll thank me later.
The cover is exactly the same as the original Japanese tankoubon release, with only the creator's name translated into English at the bottom. It's another gorgeous illustration with wonderfully painted colors that look great with the matte finish. There is also a nice color illustration on the back cover as well. The book is shrink-wrapped with an "Explicit Content" sticker on the actual cover.
The print reproduction looks absolutely gorgeous! It's very crisp, very clean, and printed on a nice weight of paper. The inside of the front cover includes a nice illustration of Wycliffe. At the back of the book, on the inside of the back cover, there is another introspective afterword from creator Hiroki Endo.
A cross between Otomo's Akira and Yukimura's Planetes, Hiroki Endo's realistic artwork is very detailed and clean, bringing his war torn sci-fi world to life. Facial expressions have good variety with some really nice etching to highlight certain features which results in very rich designs. The backgrounds are lush, even though they aren't quite as plentiful in this volume given the increase of action. The action sequences are kinetic and raw with some very graphic illustrations of real-life type violence, making Endo's "war" feel much more realistic rather than fantasy based.
SFX are translated! Dark Horse has subbed them with English text in a way that is not obtrusive at all. For the most part, their newer titles seem to be going this direction, so I'm glad to see this title get proper translations for the SFX. The translation continues to be very solid. There are also quite a few editors' notes in the margins surrounding a lot of technical terms and new terms that are specific to this futuristic world.
Contents:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of this volume is pretty much straight-forward seinen action material scripted at a feverish pace by Hiroki Endo. He's giving seinen readers exactly what they want. Armored troopers with heavy artillery drop from the sky, pinning our guerillas into a corner like rats in a cage. It's skill and smarts against might and overwhelming odds, with our "heroes" showcasing their talents and proving that they will not go down without a good fight.
The homicidal Kenji even battles against the Propater cybernetic soldier ants called Aeons, true monsters in every sense of the word, and frightfully ends up making the Aeons look like lovable furry kittens. Khan's display of leadership and marksmanship made him quite the formidable commander. Wycliffe's expertise with explosives would place him at the top of the G8 nations' (if it still existed in this story) Most Wanted Terrorist lists. They are just plain bad ass. That's just what us seinen readers want to see. The action is also unbelievable frenetic, with hardly anytime for the characters to catch their collective breaths.
And then you feel a slight tug on the rug beneath your feet. It's just a little shock, but you felt it. Something awful is about to happen, but you just don't know when Hiroki Endo is going to fully pull that rug right out from under you. The relentless pacing of the action distracts you for a while, but then you feel it again. Tug, tug. Suddenly that sick feeling in your stomach begins to churn with that knot building up in your throat which feels like it could cut off all airflow at any moment. What, did you forget? This is war.
While the heart-dropping conclusion may have been a bit predictable, Hiroki Endo's well plotted foreshadowing and moments of character background help to pull it all off. In fact, it is the horrific anticipation of what is to come that makes the final few chapters of this volume so damn riveting. You know what's coming and plead with Endo for mercy. But war is merciless. In the end, the fact the Endo pulled off such a brutal climax now makes EDEN one hell of an unpredictable ride from here on out.
This third volume of EDEN is one the more riveting and gut-wrenching volumes of manga that I have not only read all year, but quite possibly ever. I literally had to put the book down on multiple occasions to catch my breath and regain my composure as the story relentlessly barreled into its ultimately tragic conclusion. Brutal and emotionally (as well as visually) disturbing, Hiroki Endo's message is loud and clear. War sucks. Period.
While I wouldn't expect every volume from here on out to hit as high as this one, this installment definitely proves that Hiroki Endo is a force to be reckoned with. He's going to challenge you with unsettling events and messages, a challenge that you should not back away from. EDEN is a fabulous manga with an equally fabulous release from Dark Horse.
Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Dark Horse
Orientation: Right to Left