Monday, July 26, 2010

Manga Monday: ES

ES (Eternal Sabbath) (Volume 1)
Fuyumi Soryo

Akiba has supernatural abilities, vast mental powers that allows him to manipulate the minds of those around him, shifting their perception of reality.  This godlike power has made him feel superior to the other humans he walks among, unaffected but also isolated.  Without any grip on how to live normally, he takes what he wants, clothes and food, and just makes people believe he paid for them.  He also takes people's identities, making those around him believe that he's their friend or son home from college or whatever is convenient to put a roof over his head and food in his stomach.  He can also see into the minds of people, bringing a dreamlike quality to some scenes in this title.  It adds a flair of fantastic elements, some interesting and beautiful, some grotesque and savage.  The art overall is pretty solid and high quality.  Soryo has a great attention to detail and illustrates the many environments he takes his characters through very nicely, relating Akiba's story cinematically and seemingly without effort.  With such a complex power, readers get a handle on Akiba's abilities easily through the artwork.

ES is a more mature paranormal manga than most of what the medium has to offer, with more in common with Parasyte than anything else I've read.  It's just very well-crafted and suspenseful.  The opening "chapter zero," a prologue of sorts, focuses on Akiba, introducing his powers and setting up a pretty brutal dilemma that he has to deal with, the ramifications of which bleed into the next story, which officially begins as "chapter one."  Beginning with this chapter, the series is seen through the eyes of Mine Kujyou, a neurological specialist who finds it hard to see the world around her outside of the lens of her field.  And as such, she is kind of a misfit who can't relate to others, as is apparent in an over-the-top scene in which she goes way overboard going on about the resilient mind and mating behaviors during an omiai, a sort of arranged dating that the couples hope will lead to marriage, but ends up failing in Kujyou's case, and not for the first time.  But then Mine notices a man unaffected by a murder that takes place not far from where he walks, and seeks him out, eventually making contact with a man who demonstrates awesome powers, and is at odds with the world around him, like herself.  He's very cold and confrontational to Mine, but reveals that his mind control doesn't work on her, which infuriates him.  Not very many people are immune to his abilities.  Shortly thereafter, Mine meets a man who was part of the experiment that created Akiba, one that saw him cloned, with a more out-of-control counterpart that couldn't contain its subjects.  This opening volume certainly promises an action-packed, well-crafted science fiction series, offering up plenty of amazing scenes upfront.  There are plenty of mysteries in play here, with a rich premise to maneuver these characters through.  There's also a lot of cool, interesting elements in this story to keep the momentum running through several volumes.

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