- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Dark Horse Manga (November 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593074069
- ISBN-13: 978-1593074067
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Eden: It's An Endless World!, Vol. 1 (v. 1) Paperback – November 15, 2005
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A gay man, near death from the paralysis that has killed billions already, and two teenagers--one his best friend's son--live in a huge experimental facility, now dilapidated, that was built to foster plague-resistant individuals. The teens are its only success stories. Now the boy's father, his brain joined to a mechanical body, returns with soldiers and UN personnel. Amid revelations of friendship betrayed, a fight breaks out. With the help of an AI the boy has reanimated, the teens prevail. Twenty years later, the boy's son, accompanied by the same AI, explores a deserted city, and three men and a seeming girl capture him. Endo mutes manga distinctives for realism's sake (e.g., eyes look normal, not the size of saucers), keeps the violence short and sharp, inserts a few low-key satiric jibes at late-twentieth-century sociopolitics, and paces the narrative to facilitate milieu and character development. He conjures a postapocalyptic aura of near-palpable mystery. Why did what happened occur? Fortunately, this is just volume 1. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Hiroki Endo is a manga artist best known for the science fiction series Eden: It’s an Endless World, which was named best manga by Wizard magazine in 2007. He is also the author of Meltdown and All Rounder Meguru series and a short-story manga collection titled Hiroki Endo’s Tanpenshu.
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The story in Eden--in this volume at least--begins with two teenagers, Enoah and Hannah, as they care for their guardian Layne, who's dying of a disease that hardens the skin and turns the insides of a human to mush. While caring for Layne, these kids learn of their responsibility to human-kind, as well as the tragic past that aided in bringing about the apocalypse in which they are living in. Later, the story moves to young Elijah, a boy whose only companion is a robot named Cherubim, as he goes about the everyday job of survival, including scavenging and hunting, as well as dreaming of girls.
Though admittedly the story is slow, and very little is given away as to what direction Eden is heading in, I can't knock it for the simple brilliance in which it is unfolding. Hiroki Endo put an emphasis on presenting the stark setting and conditions of living in the volume, and also made it clear that it is an intelligent plot no matter how slow it is. The back cover states that Eden is "a brilliant love song to post-apocalyptic survival genre" and I would have to agree on that. Eden is a smart story rivaling even Akira, and one I highly recommend for fans of darker, smarter manga.
The visual storytelling is extremely well done. The battle scenes are clearly sequenced and paced in a way that is very cinematic. I found myself racing from panel to panel, my eyes frequently bugging out at dramatic and gory moments that are perfectly presented in service to the larger narrative and the emotional content.
The characters are quite convincing and engaging.
This is a fantastic piece of entertainment!
Evidently this comic was made in 1998 - that’s a long time for me to get around to noticing it! I guess I have some catching up to do, I had never heard of the creator either, which is embarrassing as I consider myself a fan of this kind of thing. The story is a unique take on the post-apocalypse which I hadn’t seen before and the author, although unknown to me, is obviously a veteran at depicting complicated scenes and action with a vision all his own. I will definitely track down more of these, I am anxious to see where a story this adult and complex can go from here. A very solid start to something that could be truly exemplary.
The characters are drawn with distinctive features without resorting to over-the-top hair profiles and character designs, for which manga is known. The more subdued character design allows the artist to demonstrate the subtle deterioration in health over time, as the infection takes over a person's body. I believe this is one of the book's most distinctive visual characteristics.
The artwork is superior to the average manga, with an emphasis on electronics and machinery in interior scenes. Exterior scenes show an interesting mixture of real-world places and architecture. The setting in first half of closely resembles Biosphere 2 in Arizona, while the cityscapes in the second half closely resemble Hong Kong (i.e. Lippo Center). Seeing these buildings somewhat confused me where the intended setting for this story is, but this is fiction after all! And the scenes are beautiful nonetheless.
The characters are well developed. Endo successfully introduces a large cast, and is able to give each motivation and weaknesses without being stereotypical. Character development is excellent, and one of the best reasons to read this volume.
Volume 1 has the most interesting plot of the Eden series, with big, visionary ideas and layers of conflict. The pacing is good with well-timed flashbacks, dialogue, and action. Each element purposely advances the story, unlike the gratuitous ultra-violence and raunchy sexual dialog of later volumes. Overall, this volume has great artwork and a compelling story--what more can be asked of a manga? I recommend Volume 1.
However, I do not recommend later volumes of Eden, where the overall series takes a bizarre tangential direction, losing Volume 1's focus of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Every subsequent volume feels detached, like a different genre all together. Volumes 2 and 3 are simply futuristic war stories, with emphasis on brutality and mutilation. Volume 4 is a coming-of-age Yakuza story. Volume 5 is a ghost-in-the-machine story. Volumes 6 and 7 are street gang/drug cartel stories. And so on...
I only mention these later volumes because they feel like completely different stories that simply reuse the same characters. Some of the later volumes are interesting in their own right, but together, the books begin to feel like schizophrenic, unfocused storytelling. While reading the later volumes, I got the impression that the original virus piece of the story becomes simply an excuse to explain the ridiculous cyborg-like weaponry implanted into the bodies of villain characters. I believe Eden's original premise of a pandemic-induced societal collapse is so powerful, but is wasted and eventually forgotten halfway through Volume 2.