Tsutomu Nihei scored gold with his master piece Blame! [for which I’ll make a review as well], but what about Biomega? I have reviewed a couple of really cool stuff, so its about time for a warning, or is it? :P All images are owned by Mr. Nihei, used to educate you.
Mr. Towelhead reviews
Biomega is a manga written and illustrated by Tsutomu Nihei, its a Seinen manga (young adults) with tons of heart-pounding action, gore and… well that’s it. It was written between 2004 and 2009 and comprises only 6 volumes. Mr. Nihei is well known for his architectural and world design, which makes sense him being a former architect student. One of the hallmarks of the Nihei experience is the realization of how tiny we are in comparison to vast expansions of gigantic structures. So a bridge made of cheese that reaches to saturn is a common scene to behold in Biomega… Well not of cheese, but it’s so awfully drawn it looks like cheese.
The western genre is cyberpunk and THAT is quite clearly portrayed as the world is going to waste and yet you have ridiculously high tec.
So the story of Biomega is a “prequel” to the story of Blame!, (a manga by the same author). You’ll find reoccurring names and places. But that’s about it, there is no clear explanation to how this story links into Blame!, Biomega is more like a story on its own that tries to sell itself as a prequel.
There’s a whole set of complex, story concepts, about time travel, different parallel dimensions, viruses, immortality and what not. But you’ll never get the feeling that everything comes together in the end, it seems the author threw in random plots to make the story artificially complex.
Basically its a zombie apocalypse in the making, but instead of zombies you have drones, cybernetically enhanced humans, that behave like zombies. And a motorbike aficionado as a hero. Add a fragile girl to the mix, who is supposed to be the cure or something et voilà you have the story.
What could possibly be more original than… zombies…
The story makes some really crazy jumps from plot to plot, while it kind of makes sense since speed is of the essence in this situation, and the hero is a motorbike fan… never the less the story goes WAY TOO fast and runs over plots like crazy. Some of the plots are so idiotic and have nothing to do with the story, you are at least happy they pass by quickly, but other seems promising and cool and suddenly BAM! The hero is already at the bad guys HQ… “O.K. so now we get to see the…” BAM! The hero is cruising the moon already. “WOW, when did that happen, o.k., so the moon”. BAM! The hero is already facing the main bad guy… And before you can say “what?” the manga ends.
Its a harsh thing to say a plot is idiotic, but bare with me. Out of the blue we are presented with characters (some of them cool, some of them are just social workers doing their jobs) we have no reason what so ever to care about, then we follow them for a while. We may get interested in what they are doing, most likely not. Then the story goes back to the hero who by now speed-ticketed-passed through several plots points, and suddenly we go back to these secondary characters just to see them die or triumph in scenarios we have absolutely no clue what’s going on. *
* If you go back and read like twenty times the whole manga and do some research online as to what the hell the author was trying to imply you may get what was going on. But for entertainment purpose the story is not good enough for you to spend said effort.
Mr. Nihei has a cool style, specially when it comes to weapon, world and creature design. A very robotic, architectural design. The author is also known for the OVER THE TOP destruction capabilities of his characters. However in Biomega everything seems to be “nerfed-down”. By that I mean that instead of people driving really cool vehicles (like in other mangas of Mr. Nihei) people drive regular cars and motorbikes. The hero is not a badass, not as competent in fighting, he basically can go really fast in his bike, and that’s his main trait. The story also barely touches on the hero, as you will get tons of pages about the other main characters, and tons of pages about meaningless people you don’t know.
Mr. Nihei’s design used to be cool, but Biomega is far from that.
Wow, is this the best you could come up with, a freaking mummy.
Oh look, an evil chef is coming to get you… YAWN
When it comes to odd plots and drawings. It seems like the author suddenly felt the urge to draw a knight in shinning armor, and semi-developed a side story to do so. Or suddenly he felt like a fuc*** bear should be a main character in the story, et voilà, we have a subplot about a dude inside a bears body.
In another context I think the freaking pseudo scientist-bear-rebel protecting a little, fragile girl could have been cool…
… but in this context I can only think of: Pedobear!
Also the drawings try to be more “biological”, which is kind of implied in the freaking title BIOMEGA. But the author should have realized that his skills to draw biological material are far deficient compared to his skills to draw squarish stuff.
Cruising at the speed of sound, to mediocrity and beyond!
Fast review, because we analyzed a fast manga. YAWN. At the very, very end of the manga you get a few cool twists and a few cool characters introduced, of course until you realize the manga will end in like 10 pages. And guess what, it ends in a happy cliché, with a happy cliff-hanger post credit ending that would allow for a sequel, of this awful “prequel”. Hollywood would be proud of BIOMEGA.
Mr. Towelhead is not happy
3 / 10
If you like mangas, or if you are a fan of Nihei you will be heavily disappointed. The story is extremely unfocused, it runs over plots, and yet manages to open side plots like crazy, its decently drawn provided you have never ever before read a manga and you’re blind. And well, you’d be better of doing any other useless addictive hobby. So just go on youtube and watch cat videos, don’t read Biomega, not even for free.
P.D. I think that the author should learn to focus his narrative. Or perhaps even get to work together with a proper writer. His opera prime Blame! is riddled with narrative errors like Biomega, but at least they were few, far in between and the drawings are IMPRESSIVE. Biomega is a huge step in the wrong direction. Mr. Tsutomu Nihei can think of cool concepts but he can’t write, he can’t develop stories and he should get help if he wishes to continue.