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BLAME! 1 Paperback – September 13, 2016
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"The amazing thing about BLAME! is that it's such a good read even though it has almost no story or characters. It's all about the art and the experience of being there, of not knowing what will happen next, of the contrast between landscapes of endless sameness and bloody eruptions of chaos and gore." - Jason Thompson, Manga Encyclopedia
About the Author
Tsutomu Nihei is an internationally known Japanese comic artist and draftsman. Born in 1971, Nihei made his debut in the comics world as the winner of the 1995 Afternoon Magazine Four Seasons Award for short stories. He then briefly worked as an assistant to veteran comicker Tsutomu Takahashi before making his break-through hit BLAME! (published by Tokyopop).
The BLAME! franchise was so well received worldwide, that it inspired an animated mini-series and eventually drew the attention of Marvel Comics in the US. Nihei would later go on to draw Wolverine (X-Men) and HALO comics for Marvel to great fanfare. An architectural student, Nihei's early work were mainly wordless, relying on visuals and backgrounds to tell their stories. Now, his works are deeply rooted in hard science-fiction, as was seen in the multiple NY Times Bestselling books HALO: The Graphic Novel (published by Marvel Comics) and BIOmega (published by Viz Media).
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I really like the larger format book which helps emphasize the scale of the environments. Structures fill an entire page seemingly going on forever. There isn't a ton of dialogue which is purposeful. If you like sci-fi, space, and dark brooding worlds you will enjoy this and all of Nihei's work. Robots , monsters, bio-mechanics, and technology are present throughout the work oh and gore. If you enjoy The Matrix, Alien(s) or HR Giger then you should try Blame!
I loved the rough grittiness of the artwork. The reader is presented with unique character designs that helps give this world a sort of fantasy-cyberpunk feel. But the real star of the artwork in the panels is the architectual design of everything. The expanding "city" that this world takes place in is amazingly detailed and drawn with given a real sense of grandness. At other times it's also presented in a way that portrays a claustrophobic feeling. It's just a despairingly beautiful world, if that makes sense.
If you're hesitant about jumping from the movie to the books, then don't be. With a sequel already announced, reading the series should help you appreciate everything more. BLAME! is a gold mine for those who are clamouring for more cyberpunk in their world.
Thankfully, the publisher was aware of this problem and decided to reissue the whole thing in it’s entirety in these massive (actual size?) omnibus editions. As far as I can tell, there will be three, of which this is the first. And what a beginning it is! It’s got everything I love about Nihei comics: fantastic organic artwork, blistering action and almost no dialogue, backstory or context. That’s not to say it is hard to understand, just mysterious and interesting. I love it! Of course I will buy all of these. I am left with only one question: Do you think the main characters mighty handgun is in any way inspired by the Noisy Cricket from Men in Black? The world may never know.
The dystopian environment the character is trapped within is a bleak, machine, sprawl that extends out into all directions. It as if our characters are trapped within a microchip thousands of stories tall and endless in all directions. Within this infinite prison are numerous genetic variations, freaks, humans, robots, cyborgs all desperate and dangerous and unpredictable.
The plot line is a quest. Our character, Kryii, is looking for the "net terminal gene" which, when found, will stop the "city" from its intractable, chaotic growth. (I think CPU chip is a better description that the word city) To illustrate how intractable this "city growth" is, our hero has no idea what the word "land" means.
I highly recommend this graphic nove.
Thoughts on the translation seem to go both ways, but I don't think that one is any better than the other. For a frame of reference, if you read any interviews or remarks from Nihei himself, his normal manner of speaking is itself rather cryptic, so I doubt that even a perfect translation would elucidate much more than what's currently available.
The master editions are, hands down, the best way for an English speaker to experience this work.