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.
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.
Blame! is something quite difficult to explain as many people tend to come up with different interpretations as they read it, meaning that all of us are going to take away something from it. Whether or not you like, my point being, this manga is extremely subjective, some people will love it, others will hate it. So, yeah, this is a completely baised review as I absoutely loved it. The story is, Killy is looking for the net terminal genes in order to stop the city from expanding, and that's about it, you're just here to follow him. If fact it does feel as though we were just dropped sometime in the future, we have no idea as how far, but just to give a hint in some early chapter Killy found a book, this book mentions Earth and he has no idea what Earth is. This alone goes to show how far into the future Blame! is set. One cool thing is how time is represented, thousands of years pass during the course of this manga and in the last chapter it's uncertaion just how much time has passed as Killy had to make it to the end of the megastructure, the author did say in an interview that the megastructure is about the size of the solar system, so that should give us an idea that he was wandering for a very long time, maybe even millions of years. There are certain beings however that don't exeperience time in the same way that we do, that's because they are stored as data, so time itself becomes irrevalent to them. Then there's the whole philosophical approach to heaven and hell with the netsphere and reality, but that's another rabbit hole by itself. Visual storytelling is what is primarily used in Blame!, you often will have to figure out what happens by yourself as Killy rarely speaks and Cibo most of the time will act as your source of infromation. Thankfully Nihei Tsutomu has made a lot of the panels very easy to follow, this makes it pretty easy to follow the fights as there is quite a lot of fights and lots of explosions. What's so amazing is he scope at which everything is drawn at, backgrounds are amazingly detailed, and just the sheer size of everything is just simply amazing. This is some of the most creative artwork I think I've ever seen, from the people to the horrific biomechanical silicon life to the freaky looking safeguards and especially the backgrounds the artwork is superb. And everything is very hyperdetailed, there is a lot if percise usage of blacks and white. Possibly the only complaint I can make is that some of the character's faces look similar, but that is way outshadowed by the sheer detail of everthing else. This same creativity extends to the story as well, which even though there is little dialouge, clearly a lot of thought was put into it. Blame! is one of those manga in which the art becomes the narrative, I doubt it's something that everyone will love, but for me personally, Nihei Tsutomu has created a masterpiece.
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