Emanon: Memories of Emamon

Alt title: Omoide Emanon

Vol: 1; Ch: 9
2006 - 2008
3.999 out of 5 from 857 votes
Rank #3,728
Emanon: Memories of Emamon

It’s the year 1967 and while the Apollo space missions are getting underway and the US are deploying soldiers to Vietnam, a disenchanted student heads home with a broken heart and an empty wallet. On the trip the self-confessed science fiction fanatic meets a mysterious girl who calls herself Emanon. However, while she may seem like an ordinary girl, Emanon claims that even though her physical body is that of a seventeen-year-old, her mental age is over three billion years old. With memories dating back to the single-celled organisms at the beginning of the world right through to the present day, Emanon curses her ability and wonders why a person with such an encyclopaedic knowledge of history should even exist. Now, as the student talks more with Emanon, he begins to realise that reality truly is stranger than fiction.

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emanon is an intriguing concept, picked up from an unlikely author's (shinji kaijo) collaboration with an unlikelier mangaka as a passion adaptation that, sadly, never follows through. the novels by the same name have yet to be (to my knowledge) translated into english in their entirety. story 3/10—deeply unfulfilling. emanon is like a fragmented, fractured window pane that once had something pretty on it but is now, like a puzzle, messed up and scattered. you try to piece the plot together, you occasionally discern overarching storylines and themes and something like a narrative, but they are ultimately never fully there and you know you're always missing something crucial. the mangaka actually regarded this manga as a failed project; the adaptation failed and he made too many last-minute personal changes to the narrative, reducing it to a barely intelliglble story that deviates from the source material, doubts itself and returns to it, regains confidence, then deviates again on repeat. the result is that every plot covered is abandoned, and in a brief period we go through an entire long series of novels never getting a complete story told, and never returning to the ones left behind. art 8/10—no matter the errs of the mangaka in writing and adapting, there is no doubt that he captured something passionate and real in his work. the art speaks for itself, and at a certain point the reader is best advised to sit back, forget about the story, and take in the art itself. the art of each timeless environment and its relationship with emanon is, on its own, a testament to the mangaka's love for the story he tried to adapt. sadly the art is weighed down by what surrounds and justifies it. characters 4/10—the characters in emanon are all as short-lived as their quickly-butchered narratives but emanon herself is eminently interesting. one notices the minute, resigned changes occurring, the little fractures in a supposedly timeless and unbreakable surface. some of the characters, which occur more properly in the novels, seem truly interesting as concepts; in the manga they are never realized. when they are given more time to breathe and think, however, and we do get a few, they are fascinating explorations of the themes and the concept which apply wonderfully to real life. the character writing can get extremely deep, sometimes painfully, and if only we had more time with it or at least more consistency, it would prove even better. and yet as it stands, i realize now that, for as frustrating as flipping through one life to the next is, this is, incidentally and accidentally, exactly what the manga is about, and in that way this frustrating attribute serves the overall theme somewhat, unintentionally making the reader feel the exhausted, resigned fatigue that emanon does whenever a new plot is snuffed out before we seem to even get into it—the point is it's all transient!! overall 4.5. honestly quite good, worth a read, even though it's flawed it, in an alternate universe, is an extremely successful franchise! if only the adaptation were more direct and loyal ...

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