ES: Eternal Sabbath 4

December 27, 2011

Fuyumi Soryo – Del Rey – 2006 – 8 volumes

Reading Mars has put me in the mood for this series again, which is simply Fuyumi Soryo taking her skills with characters and applying them to a sci-fi thriller, with excellent results.

I keep waiting for a romance to happen between Akiba and Dr. Mine. I can’t tell if there’s supposed to be one or not. It’s implied that Akiba is falling for Mine, and his empathy for her is what makes him different from Akiba. But I don’t know that Mine is returning his feelings. Then again, Shuro, the story’s villain and Akiba’s younger twin, seems to have formed a link with his young female classmate, so it’s hard to say that the bond with a regular human really changes things.

Anyway. The story here starts with a mass hallucination for the entirety of Dr. Mine’s department when her examination of Akiba goes wrong. We get to see the events of the day that Akiba’s lab was burned down, and his thoughts about Isaac. Actually, Mine and everyone else also gets to see this, since the experiment turns the lab into the lab from the past via Akiba’s powers.

I liked the aftermath of this, which reveals that Isaac has no empathy because Akiba couldn’t teach it to him, since he gave Isaac all the attention he would have wanted in his position, rather than any sort of actual love or caring. This almost doesn’t make sense (“You spoiled Isaac the way people spoil themselves”), but it sounds good in the context of the story, and does make sense in that Isaac is simply mimicking everything that Akiba does.

Later, Isaac does another terrible thing to a police officer that Akiba and Mine had grown close to. The police officer had been investigating the victims of Isaac’s crimes, and Akiba and Mine had been assisting him. The police officer… experiences a bizarre lapse in judgement, and can no longer investigate. This upsets Mine a great deal, and Akiba decides to confront Isaac. The confrontation… is epic, to say the least, and I’m not even sure who came out on top. I suspect it was Akiba. But the result and aftermath of this confrontation is material for volume five.

As I said before, Soryo’s skill is with character development. I can talk about the plot all day, but it’s the characters that turn this from a generic psychic-powered thriller to something worth reading. Akiba isn’t just a faceless experiment, the one link between humanity and Isaac, a psychopathic killer. Every scene does a good job of fleshing him out, making the reader realize that all his actions have a reason, that everything he does is carefully considered. The conversational pacing in particular is excellent, with great use of pauses and facial expressions to convey more about the characters than words ever could.

I couldn’t tell you which I liked better, this or Mars. I suspect this is far better than Mars in just about every way, and appeals to a larger audience to boot, but I’m a girly shoujo fan at heart, and I love the melodramatic flair that Mars possesses. But there’s something very compelling about this series, and this is coming from someone who normally hates this psychic powers and genetic experiment stuff. The characters bring the story to life, and it’s Soryo’s skill with this that makes me want to read everything she pens.

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