EDEN Vol. #06 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Release Date: Thursday, March 01, 2007

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hiroki Endo
Translated by:Kumar Sivasubramanian
Adapted by:Kumar Sivasubramanian

What They Say
As the survivors of last volume's bloodbath regroup, a pivotal character lies in a coma, and young Elijah is separated from Colonel Kahn's freedom fighters and swept into another complicated whirlwind of trouble.

He's caught between two violent groups, beaten and harassed by revenge-hungry policemen, and hounded by a sadistic drug lord who may have ties to Elijah's father. In Hiroki Endo's post-pandemic world, humanity is quickly rebuilding its cities and returning to the comforts and conveniences of large urban environments - but reviving destructive, age-old habits as well.

The Review
Endo literally takes his story to the streets, revealing a world that no matter how technologically advanced it has become, it still suffers from the same old problems: prostitution, drugs & drug addiction, gang warfare, rapes, teen pregnancy, STDs, the whole gamut. Actually, let me backtrack and take back the prostitution as a problem bit as the world's oldest profession just continues in the future, but Endo gives the prostitutes a sense of pride about what they do. The women feel independent and in control of their bodies even while at the whim of men's sexual desires.

The feel of the story in this sixth volume is definitely one much more suited to a crime drama than the hard sci-fi war epic that EDEN has teased to be previously. The result is an ongoing narrative that is really tight and cohesive, drawing the reader immediately into this tiny ghetto filled with whores, drugs, and gang violence. The story unravels on multiple layers as well, with gangs fighting each other in the streets at the bottom and a conspiracy within the Ministry of Interior and their battle with the local detectives at the top.

The theme of this book focuses around characters who are not trying to take on the whole world, but rather are only trying to do what little help they can to improve their immediate surroundings. There is the gang member turned cop who tries to "make this world just a little bit better" with each small arrest. Elijiah, while in the care of a brothel, tries to help one of the prostitutes who is addicted to a strong heroin derivative by sending her to a treatment facility that was ironically built with drug money. Even the violent and sadistic rival gang leader, Pedro, is trying to make one of his whore's life better by keeping her locked up in a drug-induced cage. All these characters live in the grey, trying to make life better for themselves as well as other people, even if it means self-sacrifice or doing deeds that are considered morally deplorable. I love the grey.

Endo is completely in the zone at this point in the series, and if I were to point out issues they would be entirely subject to reader preference rather than anything technically (although Cherubim's presence here was a total deus ex machine moment). The stories seem to be tied together by a very small, flimsy thread, which will definitely bother people who were expecting some great sci-fi epic with nations going to war and heroes fighting for justice. Sorry, wrong book. EDEN is essentially a bunch of small, microcosmic worlds that make up the "Endless World". The focus is more on the characters and the realities they live in and have to deal with every day, rather than the global issues at hand; because if you can't fix those small issues, the world will endlessly continue to spiral the drain. The book is also terribly depressing, and Endo has no trouble killing off and/or mutilating his important characters, which will leave some readers a little unsettled. I think this is the first manga to feature both a 10-year old girl proclaiming her dreams to become a prostitute AND the words "intravaginal rinse" within the same volume. It's a rough book to read, but the harsh realities that Endo creates are more realistic than any other sci-fi manga out there in the US market. And his writing style will continually keep you on your toes, dreading that next flip of the page.

Dark Horse's production on this title continues to be top notch. A fun little extra included in this volume are a couple pieces of artwork done by Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal) as he draws a couple of his characters as they would exist in the world of EDEN.

Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Dark Horse
MSRP: 12.95
Pages: 240
ISBN: 1-59307-702-5
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left