Emanon: Memories of Emamon

Alt title: Omoide Emanon

Vol: 1; Ch: 9
2006 - 2008
4.318 out of 5 from 800 votes
Rank #3,085
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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This manga hooks you with its idea. The art is pretty great and the initial casual interactions and flirting are endearing, but what really makes it interesting is the idea of someone who has memories dating back to the origin of life. Emanon ("no name" backwards) has the collective memories of feir mother and feir mother's mother and so on all the way back to the first lifeform that spawned in the ocean. This manga is told from the perspective of a young man who meets fem on a boat and the conversation they end up having about feir unique situation. I like the aspects which deal with the ability itself and how it works, but I very strongly dislike the spiritual direction the conversation took. They say: "No one knows what the purpose of life is," but this is assuming that life has a purpose. We have no reason to believe that anything is happening for some cosmic reason. They say: "Once the human race has reached its final stage of evolution," but that's assuming that evolution has a purpose. Evolution isn't a directed, goal-oriented process. Evolution shouldn't even be thought of as being progressive or regressive. Evolution is just random mutations combined with survival of the fittest. Some random mutations lead to less fit offspring, and those less fit offspring are more likely to die, but just because some species can survive better than others doesn't mean that they're better. Saying that species are progressing or advancing or becoming better is a value judgment with no basis in objectivity. Also, it's very anthropocentric to assume that humans are the current highest stage of evolution, as this manga implies. Though, again, there's no such thing as a "highest stage" in the first place, because that's just not what evolution is. Most of the art I enjoyed. It was crisp and beautiful. The faces were emotive and nothing felt stiff. But I did have issue with the way that the water was drawn, with the light bouncing off of it--it's distracting and ugly, and gives off a distinctly different vibe from the majority of the artwork. There were also some buildings and even the boat itself which gave me the impression they were traced from photographs--they lacked borders and felt incomplete.

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