Killy is a wanderer in a vast technological wasteland known as the Megastructure. His mission is to find a human with net terminal genes to prevent the collapse of the Netsphere, a virtual realm under control of the Authority. His long, desolate journeys are punctuated by brutal encounters with silicon creatures bent on annihilating humanity; cyborgs intent on infiltrating the Netsphere; and the builders, massive machines that mindlessly add to the chaos of the Megastructure. His only protection is an incredibly powerful gun known as a gravitational beam emitter, which he never hesitates to unleash on his enemies. Will Killy be able to find net terminal genes amidst the scattered human tribes, or is the Netsphere doomed to failure?
Extra story: Abba (volume 1)
BLAME! is an excellent example of manga as art. It is one of a few series (Ghost in the Shell included) with themes of existentialism and the consequences of technological advancement that don't feel too heavy-handed in exposition and story development. The pacing of the story is wonderful, to my mind, feeling very deliberate; the impatient or less genereous would call it slow-paced. There is plenty of action to be had here, but those hungry for non-stop fight scenes should look elsewhere. The plot can be very confusing and hard to follow at times, and some things are only partially, or never explained. The art is something of an acquired taste; I rather enjoy it, but I recognize that it won't be to everyone's liking. It, like the other aspects of the series, places the emphasis on the absence of humanity, and the loneliness of Killy, the protagonist. The wonderful thing about the huge, expansive architectural nightmare of the setting is that, in combination with the deliberate pacing, overall somber tone, and relative scarcity of dialogue, it practically forces the reader to read his or her own meanings into events and the over-arching journey. Killy is something of a blank slate; we never really get to see inside his head, and he is generally either alone, or non-talkative with companions. Because of this, however, I found myself being able to relate more personally with him. Not knowing much about him, and watching his slow progress on a grand journey, mostly by himself, invited me to superimpose my own thoughts and feelings onto his character. Like the series itself, this (perhaps unintentional) layering of meaning became an integral part of the experience for me, and because of it, I have never looked at the medium in quite the same way again. I will say, however, that because of the scarcity of human contact throughout the story, the reader becomes rather immediately attached to any other people Killy encounters, which is a rather bad thing emotionally if and when (usually when) they are killed or maimed. I suppose I understand the reasoning for this from a story-teller's perspective, but I still don't appreciate having emotional reactions coerced from me (guess I'm weird that way). Also, if you like gratifying endings where everything "falls into place," all things are revealed, all the loose ends are neatly tied up, and everyone lives happily ever after, then you won't like the conclusion at all. That said, I thought the ending was fairly good. Overall, this is an excellent series, and quite worth the read.
"BLAME!", a cyberpunk manga created by Tsutomu Nihei, immerses readers in a dystopian future where humanity is ensnared within a vast, ever-expanding, and seemingly infinite megastructure. The narrative follows Killy, a taciturn loner with a powerful weapon, on his quest to find the Net Terminal Genes, the key to regaining control over the chaotic, sprawling city. With its stark, detailed art and minimalistic storytelling, "BLAME!" presents a unique blend of science fiction, horror, and post-apocalyptic themes, exploring the boundaries of human existence and technology's role in society's downfall. Core Strengths Architectural Ambiance: Nihei's background in architecture is evident in the meticulously detailed and grandiose depictions of the megastructure. The environment of "BLAME!" is as much a character as Killy, with its vast, labyrinthine corridors and towering chambers providing a haunting backdrop to the narrative. Atmospheric Artistry: The manga's art style is a standout feature, employing heavy shadows and a monochromatic palette to create a sense of isolation and despair. This visual approach enhances the story's mood, emphasizing the bleakness of Killy's journey. Minimalist Mystery: "BLAME!" is renowned for its sparse dialogue and narrative ambiguity, inviting readers to immerse themselves in its world without overt explanations. This storytelling choice creates a unique reading experience, encouraging exploration and interpretation of the manga's complex universe. Points of Polarization Narrative Nebulousness: The very minimalism that makes "BLAME!" intriguing can also be a source of frustration. The lack of clear narrative direction and character development may leave readers feeling detached from Killy's quest and the broader story. Pacing Peculiarities: With its focus on atmosphere and exploration, the pacing of "BLAME!" can be uneven. Action sequences are interspersed with long stretches of wandering through the megastructure, which might test the patience of readers seeking a more dynamic plot progression. Distinctive Dystopia Silent Storytelling: The manga's reliance on visual storytelling over dialogue sets it apart. This silent narrative approach forces a deeper engagement with the artwork, making readers' interaction with the manga an integral part of uncovering its mysteries. Cyberpunk Conundrums: "BLAME!" contributes to the cyberpunk genre by questioning the relationship between humans and their creations. The megastructure, autonomous and indifferent, represents a future where technology has eclipsed its creators, a theme that resonates deeply in the modern tech-centric world. Conclusion "BLAME!" stands as a unique entity in the realm of manga, offering a visually stunning and thematically rich journey through a dark, dystopian future. Manga has remarkable artistic vision and innovative storytelling, while also recognizing its potential barriers to accessibility due to narrative and pacing choices. For those willing to immerse themselves in its atmospheric world and ponder the questions it raises about humanity and technology, "BLAME!" offers a deeply rewarding, albeit niche, reading experience.
Ultraviolent is pretty gory gives an Akira-esque vibe. I like it but there's no story, no plot, no explanation of anything. Which I guess is good for some people but about 80 words over 5 chapters are not very good. Artistically it is stunning but it does not pop out that much later on; until they add the colored pages which again reflect the amazing scenery. ~SPOILERS~ Killy is traveling for some reason, boom that's how this starts. That is how this continues for untold(30) chapters. But we find out he's looking for the NET TERMINAL GENES. But why? For whom? For what purpose do they serve? Then he meets others from another part of the mega-structure whatever that is. Anything he doesn't like or threatens him he kills with some sort of gravitational beam weapon. Then he magically is near the governor/president some gigantic humanoid that he and cibo kill for whatever reason. Then he still does his wondering for hours I did the math going up 3 months, travel to somewhere else was about 2,000 years, on the thing that was a storage container was the same size as Jupiter. The proportions the sizes there's no end to this metal structure is just insane, what purpose do they serve...none of it could be 1 minute up 1 second distant and 1 cub. foot and it wouldn't change anything. The space warping, time warping, shape-shifting, cybernetic organisms, AI, Giants, dwarfs, humans, not humans, clones, monsters, and other things. There is no coherence in the story and pieces and fragments from the limited conversations leave too many questions and open so many more which is not a good thing. I don't really plan on reading the rest of the series as this just got so boring and slow with no substance. So TL: DR, good fights, no story, boring slow later on, and IMHO not worth a read.
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