Monday, August 22, 2011

Manga Monday: Cage of Eden

Cage of Eden (Volume 1)
Yoshinobu Yamada

Akira and his classmates' plane crash lands on a deserted island after a class trip in this new title from Kodansha Comics.  Creator Yoshinobu Yamada sets this title up pretty nicely, with the major players all interacting in a normal setting on the plane to give readers an idea of their relationships with one another, and a little bit about their backgrounds, which may or may not come into play in the volumes to come.  There's also plenty of fan service in this part, as the teenagers prove all too eagerly to be a cast of voyeurs, having recorded their female classmates in bikinis during their trip, and ogling over the final product.  And that's not the end of the fan service throughout this book.  There's also a good amount of violence, so boy readers are really getting what they want with this book.  Anyways, something odd happens to the plane they are on and they crash land, Akira waking up alone without so much as a scratch on him.  He bumps into a few fellow passengers soon enough, that of a brainy smart kid and a clumsy stewardess, before combing the area to look for other survivors (which they stumble upon as the book continues).  A couple of odd things are noted about this island, however.  First of all, it's not on any map.  And secondly, it's inhabited by creatures that have been extinct for millions of years.  We see at least one familiar creature among the animals they encounter, but there are plenty of new scary creatures long-dead that we get to become familiar with as the volume progresses and the students explore the island.  I'm assuming Yamada has other fun surprises in store for future volumes when it comes to the inhabitants of this odd place.  But it does seem as if Yamada is making the bigger threat on this island the other students.  After crash landing, the camera that Akira finds shows scenes of mass hysteria.  That coupled with the knife embedded in the pilot's stomach (not to mention this book's final scene), suggest that despite the terrible animals they must face in this horrid place, the key to their survival will lie with how they can defend themselves from each other.  This is a book about survival, and what happens to people when they no longer have to abide by the rules of society.  But while those themes are certainly a part of this book, Cage of Eden doesn't take itself too seriously either.  It's more of an exciting backdrop to give you the fan service and violence that you crave.  The mysteries introduced are pretty flimsy and the characters are very broad types, and overall, there's nothing new in this book that you haven't seen elsewhere plenty of times.  But it's still kind of fun if you're looking for some light entertainment.  Just don't expect to be blown away.

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