Monday, October 22, 2007

Manga Monday 49

Alien Nine: Emulators
Hitoshi Tomizawa

This single-volume sequel to the Alien Nine manga trilogy (which started out great, but ended a little shaky), entitled Alien Nine: Emulators, sees the three female protagonists from the original trilogy beginning Junior High School, protecting a new school from the threat of alien life forms. In the Alien Nine universe, ordinary school girls are burdened with alien symbiotes that they use to battle aliens that are dangerous to the student population. Events from the previous books leave the girls in a very different place at the beginning of this volume from when they originally appeared, and that place is much darker. While it's still a silly premise overall, the things that happen in this sequel, and toward the end of the original trilogy, are kind of disturbing and quite bleak. Good things do not happen to these girls, whose bodies are mutilated, whose personalities slowly sink beneath those of symbiotes, and who become wholly alien themselves, becoming a danger to one another and those around them. While the story sinks into this overwhelming abyss, a new character is introduced to keep things fresh and add a new dynamic to the book: Monami Komai, a third-year student who fits in with the girls very nicely, and who seems to have a clearer head in light of events that unfold. Overall, this is a very strange story, and one that was a little hard to follow at times, but I appreciated the sequel that answered some lingering questions from the original series and continued the destructive path of the protagonists. Toward the end of this book, there was a chapter that flashed back to the original set-up, with the girls innocently hunting aliens before tragedy consumed them, that was a little jarring in wake of the tone of the rest of the book. It was very strange and sobering to have another taste of where the book started, compared to what it had become. But all-in-all, it was a fun, if not twisted, journey. B+

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