Variante 4

December 25, 2008

Surprisingly, this was another instance of me disliking the rest of the series, but liking the last volume. While the rest of this series was kind of mediocre, the ending was actually pretty great.

The love story I was being baited with all through the series finally came through in the end. I was pretty pleased by this, especially since it seemed like the male half already had someone he was going to be forever in love with. How far the relationship came, and whether it was simply acknowledged or went further I’ll leave to the imagination. I was happy with what I got, though.

Much of what you expect does happen. Of course the secret research is publicly outed, of course things start to crash down around the main character and people start to close in on her, of course there’s a big explosion at the end, just like a proper action series. That’s very important to me. The politics of what was going on and the specifics of the plot weren’t that interesting to me, and to be honest, this stuff all felt like it was going through the motions, but I didn’t mind so much. It’s like watching a chick flick and having the couple getting into a fight and making up with a kiss. You know it will happen, and there’s nothing special about it, but you’d miss it if it wasn’t there.

There’s a few subplots resolved and some character relationships worked out, but I wasn’t all that interested in what was going on with the side characters. What plays out was probably supposed to be a surprise, or shocking, but considering the fact I barely remembered all of them, it was mostly just things going through the motions again.

I got pretty involved in all this stuff. It does do all the action parts of the plot right. What really impressed me was the last 20 pages, though. I can honestly say I didn’t see what happened coming, since manga almost NEVER end like that. I almost doubted myself, because the last few pages throw a wrench into the works, but I am certain that everything happens exactly as it looks. There’s an awesome fight, and some unexpected aftermath. It was superb. Worth reading the series for? Well, I don’t know about that, but it was certainly an extremely welcome reward for the loyal reader.

Variante 3

July 9, 2008

Okay, things get much better in this volume.  We finally have plot, which seems like it will play out through this volume and wrap up next volume.

There’s less emphasis on fighting this time, mostly because we’re starting to figure out why the chimeras exist.  Because the main female character and the main male character are separated throughout the volume, and because both have now acquired this knowledge, they both sort of lose their will.  Much is made of this, but at this point, I’m more interested in the promise of the two of them escaping, which is fine by me.

What else… I approve of the use of a parallel character that mirrors the main character’s situation.  She sort of serves as a reminder as to what exactly will happen when the main character stops being useful.  It’s pretty horrible.

I still don’t think the series is that good, or very entertaining, but at least I like it a lot better now.

Variante 2

June 17, 2008

I had forgotten about this series, I’m a little behind on it.  Volume 4, the last one, is due out next month I think.

It’s just… a little bland.  Still.  It improved marginally in this volume, and it wasn’t beating you over the head as severely about the main character.  It develops a little bit of a plot where the girl decides to use her arm to help the organization that’s got her trapped, which is probably the only option open to her.  She tries to make herself happy about it, though… of course, the inevitable confrontations with the gore and murder of the chimeras takes her out of it a little, and she has a hard time adapting to the criticisms of the agents who feel she’s a “loose cannon.”  There are parts which are compelling to read, which is more than I can say about the last volume, but about 3/4 of this volume feels like it’s going through the motions and doing exactly what you would expect of it in the most vanilla way possible.

The last little bit of the volume goes into the background of the main agent helping out the girl.  Even though his background story is by no stretch of the imagination original, it’s at least significantly more interesting than anything that’s happened so far, and I actually felt a little badly for what happened to him and a girl he knew in the past.  It’s good that it led into the next volume too.

The outlook is good at the present time, but for the most part… it’s still very blah.

Variante 1

December 23, 2007

This series is powerfully, POWERFULLY mediocre.  A girl comes back to life after she and her parents were killed by a chimera.  Chimeras are on a rampage, but the government is keeping their existence a secret from the public.  When the girl comes back to life in the government morgue, she finds that her arm has been replaced with a chimera.

This sounds like an awesome premise, and there’s a good mix of psychological horror and physical gore.  Where the series fails is that it’s only about how sad the girl is.  She’s put in an extremely sterile environment after being removed harshly from society by basically dying, and none of the people in the institution where she is being kept show the barest scrap of humanity.  So basically, the girl is sad, and needs comforted, and there’s no one there to comfort her.  This… is the entire book.

There are battles.  A chimera gets loose and kills people in the institution, and at one point the main character escapes and runs into a chimera in a park.  Not even these battles can save the manga, though.  The chimera are drawn as amorphous blobs, and it’s not too satisfying when the girl crushes them with her misshapen arm. The action is also usually over quickly, and it normally takes only a few panels for a battle to play out.  There’s a hint of some relationship (not even romantic in nature, just a regular human being) between the main character and someone else at the institute, so maybe things will pick up next volume.  The art is pretty good, especially on the splash pages and color stuff.  For what it’s worth.  There’s not too much an opportunity to show off in the story itself though, since most of this volume took place in the drab, boring institution.