A manga gem

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krakonfour
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A manga gem

Post by krakonfour »

It can be found here.

I wonder if others on this board read this mature, well-written story set in the near-future. If you haven't, please do. It is miles above the popular trash we have today.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by bilateralrope »

404 Not Found
You might want to fix your link.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by krakonfour »

The edit function is down....
http://www.mangareader.net/eden-its-an-endless-world
The previous link doesn't work because of an '/' on the end.....
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Re: A manga gem

Post by Napoleon the Clown »

Edit isn't down, it just doesn't let you use it after five minutes. Too many people being dishonest with it in debates.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by Grumman »

I read the first thirty pages. It didn't grab me.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by bilateralrope »

Grumman wrote:I read the first thirty pages. It didn't grab me.
I couldn't get that far.


Krakonfour, you might want to try and defend it. Or at least tell us how it gets interesting further in.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by krakonfour »

I'm not very good at explaining at how something is good, so here's a few select quotes:

From the tvtropes page:
Eden: It's an Endless World! is a cyberpunk manga by Hiroki Endo set in the aftermath of a global plague that has radically altered the social and economic stature of the world, and tells the story of Elijah, the son of freedom fighter Enoah Ballard, who opposes Propater, a global pseudo-religious organization that tried, more or less successfully, to launch a coup d'etat on the entire world.
Not entirely successful, they kidnapped Elijah's mother and sister to keep Enoah from opposing them too much. Elijah fled Propater by escaping to South America with his father's combat robot for protection. Over the course of the story, he meets and joins forces with a variety of different, well-developed characters, all with their own motivations, problems, morals and ethics, relationships and agendas.
The story deals heavily with relationships, especially family relationships, religion, drug abuse, death and morality. The complex relationships between characters avoids many forms of easy classification, and many of the characters fail to fall into stereotypical moulds.
Still here? OK, let's dig a bit deeper. The series is perhaps best described as Ghost in the Shell turned Up to Eleven. Eden is extremely violent, filled with explicit sex and nudity, lots of philosophy, even more religion, and moral ambiguity in ways that would make Alan Moore proud. Characters are regularly killed off, beaten, wounded, tortured, crippled, and raped by villains and heroes alike; and The Messiah, despite the religious overtones, is a minor character.
Eden ran from 1998 to 2008 in the Afternoon magazine, reaching a total of 18 volumes.
From its MyAnimeList page:
Eden is the best completed manga I've read up to date.

Why?

Because Hiroki Endo's post-apocalyptic tale has got almost everything that can be considered good in manga in spades: great story, gorgeous art and near perfect characterization. Imagine a well thought-out, mature story clashing seamlessly with art that manages to be both realistic and beautiful and characters that almost seem more real than the people one encounters in their daily lives. If painting a picture in your mind of a manga with such merits proves to be too difficult for you, grab Eden and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Science fiction is a major element in Eden's story. In Hiroki Endo's hands, though, the act of toying with wild speculations about the future has not gotten out of hand at all. The story is set in a world that has undergone a large disaster, but that disaster wasn't an attack from outer space, a sudden detonation of the world, the work of a mad scientist, or any other pompous crap like that. Rather, Endo has chosen an evolved killer virus as a means that almost lead to the end of the world; something that people living in a world riddled with various epidemics, deadly or not, can surely identify with. The workings of this closure-virus (as well as other scifi-esque stuff that comes up later on) have been explained thoroughly enough that the reader can easily grasp what's going on.

But Eden is much more than just another heap of end-of-the-world-scifi-shit. It has a lot of drama stemming from the interactions between the characters, a touch of romance and happiness even amidst the harsh realities of a world gone from bad to worse, and even an occasional spark of humour.

The tale's maturity comes from the way these different aspects are handled: carefully and with a clear effort regarding good taste. The world in which Eden is set is brutal and cold, but it doesn't preach about bottomless gloom and doom and hopelessness and depression and whatnot. Yes the world is sometimes harsh and uncaring, but in Eden, there is room left for the good things as well.

Just like all the good stories, love and romance and dramatic relationships have their place in Eden. Following along Endo's decision to keep things from flying off the handle, there are some hugs and kisses (...), but not in ridiculous abundance. Love happens, just like hate, friendships, sadness, happiness and other kind of shit happens. It isn't overly highlighted or downplayed, it's simply there with all the other aspects of life.

The less serious side of Eden starts to become more prominent as the story goes on. At some point the readers find themselves seeing sexual jokes, chibi characters and some other silly characteristics of manga art more and more often. Some people have found this upsetting. I liked it. It made me laugh. I also think that paradoxically, a dose of good humour brings more credibility to a story dealing with serious issues rather than a no light in sight-type of tragedy.

A common way of defining whether a story is mature or not is to measure how much it has blood, gore, violence, sex and all that type of jazz. Though I'm not one to promote that way as a measuring stick for how grown up the story is, Eden does show its assets in this regard as well. If Endo wants to give us gore, he gives us showers of blood, shredded limbs and cracked bones instead of some lame stumps a la Claymore. Also, one of the ugliest torture scenes I've seen in manga. And when it's time for sex, we see passionate screwing, kissing, and gropin' in place of the usual cheek smooches and blushes so typical in common "romance" mangas. And just like with all the other faces of Eden, realism is the key word here: in no point does Endo slip into sloppy tastelessness with his more graphic imagery.

Imagery, which is, as I stated early on, simply gorgeous. Endo manages to capture that unique beauty in Japanese style of comic-writing, be that in the characters, sceneries or anything else, without drowning us in saucer-sized eyes or over-groomed scenes. Realistic beauty. Wait, is that even possible? In Eden, it is.

Other aspects adding on the reading pleasure include clean panel arrangements and the author's interesting essays at the end of each volume. Like cherries atop a well creamed cake.

As per everything else, not all is perfect, or even excellent, in Eden. I could go on about some of the manga's minor issues for a paragraph or two, but it'd be a waste of time. The occasional bore of reading long lines of science jargon. A misplaced joke here and there. Some over the top philosophy. Consider it a cow chip next to Mt. Everest.

The bottom line? Go read it. Rite nao.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by Grumman »

The less serious side of Eden starts to become more prominent as the story goes on. At some point the readers find themselves seeing sexual jokes, chibi characters and some other silly characteristics of manga art more and more often. Some people have found this upsetting. I liked it. It made me laugh. I also think that paradoxically, a dose of good humour brings more credibility to a story dealing with serious issues rather than a no light in sight-type of tragedy.
Yuck. I like humour that comes from things like the wit of the characters ("Permission to use a real weapon, sir?"), or the inconguity of Thor hanging Mjolnir on a coat rack. I don't like humour that comes from deliberately ruining the art style, like the reaction shots in Legend of Korra.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by bilateralrope »

As per everything else, not all is perfect, or even excellent, in Eden. I could go on about some of the manga's minor issues for a paragraph or two, but it'd be a waste of time. The occasional bore of reading long lines of science jargon. A misplaced joke here and there. Some over the top philosophy. Consider it a cow chip next to Mt. Everest.

The bottom line? Go read it. Rite nao.
I find it very hard to take someone's opinion of a work seriously when they make a point of saying they won't talk about the works flaws. Or when they type 'Rite nao' instead of 'right now'.

As for the TvTropes description:
Characters are regularly killed off, beaten, wounded, tortured, crippled, and raped by villains and heroes alike;
I'd like to have an explanation of how rapists can be considered the heroes.
Eden ran from 1998 to 2008
If it finished 5 years ago, and is as good as krakonfour says it is, why is this the first I've heard of it ?
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Re: A manga gem

Post by Lord Revan »

I why do I get the feeling "good" here means "unlike popular manga" regardless is that's a truly good idea or not, after all they're popular for a reason.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by krakonfour »

bilateralrope wrote:I find it very hard to take someone's opinion of a work seriously when they make a point of saying they won't talk about the works flaws. Or when they type 'Rite nao' instead of 'right now'.
I just took the first review instead of picking one that placed this manga under the perfect limelight. And she did talk about the work's flaws, just didn't find it useful to make an exhaustive list of them.
And even so, a complete review for a manga like Naruto or One piece would have entire paragraphs devoted to major flaws.
Here's another review:
Eden is a geopolitical thriller with sci-fi elements, sort of like Syriana with killer viruses and long explanations of atomic physics. It reminds me of those airport novels, you know, by Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton. Hiroki Endo, the author, seems pretty inspired by American movies generally -- for instance some of the drug-dealing or hostage scenes are straight out of action movies -- and he is also very philosophical. The art is clean, detailed, and realistic.

The story is that a mysterious disease is poised to completely wipe out Earth’s population. Somehow, though, this doesn’t happen -- rather, when the dust settles, 15% of the population is dead, and the balance of world power has shifted. Now small groups are fighting against consolidation into a single world government, called PROPATRIA, which is primarily made up of countries whose official language is English. But the virus is still hanging around, and might be intelligent…

Post-apocalyptic stories always hypothesize a Crisis by projecting the worst parts of the present into the future, and Eden is very much a projection of the early nineties: it's all about ethnic conflict, nationalism, racism, the third world, and the drug trade. (Though these are all still important issues, these days we've shifted to global warming and natural disasters as the forces most likely to tear the world apart.) Endo has said in an afterword to one of the volumes that he got the idea of a powerful drug lord "terrorist" from Noam Chomsky, who theorized that only the drug trade would be lucrative enough, and illegal enough, to fund the resistance of third-world countries to first-world hegemony.

In other words: yes, this is THAT kind of story. Technical detail[1], philosophical and ethical quandaries, conspiracy, the Big Picture -- these things are everywhere. Eden is not light reading by anyone's definition. Fortunately, the manga's political themes don't overwhelm the characters. It's hard not to be fascinated by Ennoea, South America's most powerful drug lord, a man who advocates "infinite kindness to those you care about, infinite cruelty to everyone else." Or not to empathize with his son Elijah who, when the story opens, is struggling to survive alone in the wilderness. It's a testament to Endo's powers as a storyteller that as Elijah's actions became less defensible -- as he moves from "cute and innocent" to "unflinchingly brutal" -- he never once loses your sympathy. Instead, his actions seem simply logical -- a clear, considered, even admirable matter of prioritizing his own survival.

[1] Often only explained in footnotes. Though thorough, Endo's worldbuilding can be difficult to get a grip on, due to the large amount of information he brings in and the relative scarcity of explanatory notes. Another possible drawback to this series is that the author's interest in everything -- artificial intelligence, guerrilla tactics, street gangs, sociopathology, prostitution, the list goes on and on -- often diverts the story in tangential directions, making it difficult to say for certain what any of it is about. However, if you are deeply interested in geopolitics or political thrillers, or yearn for a story with serious ethical and philosophical weight, I would recommend Eden without reservations.
This manga kept surprising me with its deep themes and heavy gore and drama. It was made to be a bit of every genre there is without ending up being a lukewarm soup with no distinct flavor. Plus, it has a conclusion. These things alone are enough to place it quite high in the ranks but there is more.

Art: 9

Quite realistic compared to an average manga out there. The detail in weaponry and machinery is superb and human figures look and act quite lively. Only grip is the rather low variety in characteristics that eventually makes a lot of characters to look alike. And imagine we are talking about a series that has hundreds of them.

Another distinct feature in this manga is the really bloody mess of corpses it depicts. Gore and splatter enough to fill a water reservoir are shown throughout the story resulting to some really edge of the seat moments. Plus, it actually shows a lot of well made hardcore sexual encounters without becoming smut, so good for it. Very few manga have the guts to boldly show this much dread and war realism.

When it finally gets to some really scientific or religious parts, it still shows a lot of graphs and simple depictions of a given science or fringe techno-freak experiments and even then it doesn’t make you feel it’s that improbable.

All the above are given through a line of smart camera angles and cinematics that aid in atmosphere building. The final result is incredible and as I said, the only minor set back is the lack of facial variety as well as some scenes that were made in a rather rushed way and ruined the feeling of the moment. Otherwise, it’s perfect.

Story: 9

The elements in the story vary from religious, to scientific, to romantic, to social tragedy, war drama, erotic exploitation, or simply brainless slugfest. In all occasions it makes a great effort showing the weight of the situation through very close-to-real-life situations. While reading it a lot of other famous works came to mind (check at the bottom at the suggestion list) yet it manages to stand on its own without feeling like a rip off of anything else I have read or watch as of now. That is a really hard thing to achieve and I salute it.

The setting is our world in about a century in the future, when environmental disasters, viral infections and cybernetics have been added to the already basic problems humanity faces today, resulting to a world in chaos at the brink of total extinct by the coming of a new era, both religious and globalized. I must say that it manages to include all basic human folly in it, like racial discrimination, religious hatred, and public cynicism without being afraid to mention real names of areas or religions. It takes lots of guts to do that and it’s probably the reason why it will never be adapted in anime.

The story is very complicated and is shown through the eyes of dozens of different people, in a span of decades, all around the world. Although very few are actually important to the main story, everybody manages to add something to the feeling of the story so nobody is really useless. Also, the social, religious and scientific backdrops shown in the story are presented almost identical to the real-life ones and they are not used as flavor, as they usually do with them. This adds even more to the greatness found in the story as it doesn’t feel amateurish or randomly made based of fallacious stereotypes.

Still, the pacing of the story is not without its minor problems. Most battles are really unnecessary and exist to the most part only as superficial entertainment or cheap shock effect. 99% of all important characters die with a simple headshot, irrelevant to how powerful or careful they are. Thus there is no real agony in wondering if someone survives a battle, as even an elite commando can be killed as easy as an average Joe. Some may think it’s realistic this way but I say it got tiresome and repetitive after the 215th time someone got killed by a sniper out of nowhere. The mangaka himself realized that and dropped all form of dragged action in the last volumes, resulting to most important people just headshooting each other like there is no tomorrow.

Besides that, there are also parts that could be left out entirely as they seem to repeat same situations shown elsewhere better, or simply having far less interest or impact on you or the actual story. Even all the fringe science gets out of control in the last part of the story and everything feels too random and forced by the mangaka, leaving the characters to feel like peons in a game they don’t chose to play themselves.

But that is a really minor aspect compared to the whole planning and duration of the story and in theory can be left out entirely. The story is amongst the most complicating and best planned I have ever seen and deserves a good mark regardless of its flaws. If only there were more like these known to the majority, scores in anime and manga would be far stricter and not an endless parade of 8s and 10s.

Characters: 10

Although the pacing issues damage the importance and presence of the characters to some extend, it is a downright fact that very few manga have such a huge amount of characters, such a high amount of character development and such a huge pile of corpses lying around. I won’t hide the fact that out of the hundreds of characters in the story, very few manage not to get killed (though headshot most of the times) by the end of the story. Although the main lead Ennoia and his family were more than enough to tell the story, everybody manages to affect it and enrich it through his/her own personal way of life resulting to a multi-layered drama that unfolds from so many points of view that stops being “just another post-apocalyptic story”. The mangaka manages to make them all look and feel real to the viewer and in many cases creates sympathy with them. I myself got to moments I almost cried and I NEVER cry while reading. It was THAT engaging.

Some may of course feel that a lot of drama is forced and superficial as in many cases the worst possible thing happens to the best of characters in almost out of thin air and a lot of people die unnecessary. Yet the story itself focuses on that and offers a whole “useless death” side story, showing how many people can die for not much of a reason at all. Their deaths don’t need to be relevant to the plot or result to something at all. Very few stories have the guts to admit that and I thus excuse all those wonderful characters I liked being killed without so much of an aftermath. Their deaths were meaningless, just as murder is most of the times in real life. Very bold and I liked it.

Enjoyment: 9

I won’t lie that some parts felt really unnecessary or far-fetched or dragged out for no reason. But in all this is a great work of fiction that anyone looking for something more mature and better planned than the typical teenager with superpowers goes to save the world and resurrects dead people as easy as changing a shirt. It definitely went in my top 10 manga and I am a veteran who is very hard to please in the first place.

Overall: 10
If only there were more like this one around.
You can see that all reviews give an overwhelming recommendation to read it, with just a few notes saying it's not perfect.
As for the TvTropes description:
Characters are regularly killed off, beaten, wounded, tortured, crippled, and raped by villains and heroes alike;
I'd like to have an explanation of how rapists can be considered the heroes.
More like anti-heroes then. I think the person who wrote it didn't think of the word protagonist.
If it finished 5 years ago, and is as good as krakonfour says it is, why is this the first I've heard of it ?
Lord Revan wrote:I why do I get the feeling "good" here means "unlike popular manga" regardless is that's a truly good idea or not, after all they're popular for a reason.
Are these serious arguments? Really? It's like some kid telling me if Beethoven was so great, how come he never heard of him.
Well, if it is...
This is an adult manga, rated M, published monthly in the Afternoon magazine that also spawned Blade of the Immortal and Genshinken. The lack of popularity comes from the restricted audience it caters to, not because it was a bad read. Are you telling me that a run-of-the-mill teenage fantasy superhero manga released weekly on Shonen Jump! is better because it sells more?
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Re: A manga gem

Post by Lord Revan »

No what I'm saying is that you should give us better indication then "it's not mainstream" for it's quality, after all if it's as good as you claim why didn't it become at least semi-popular despite the age restriction.

Convince us that it's a undiscorved gem but saying it's "not mainstream" and using that as a sign of quality, is a sign for us to bump it into the "for snobs only" pile, cause it generally tells us nothing about the actual quality of the product only that it's unpopular and therefore snobs like it because it allows them to be "unique".
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Re: A manga gem

Post by Vendetta »

I read this when it was called Appleseed.....
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Re: A manga gem

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bilateralrope wrote:If it finished 5 years ago, and is as good as krakonfour says it is, why is this the first I've heard of it ?
For what it's worth, it has one of the best art in the field of military SF. Pretty and realistic. However, it could have seriously used a better writer. "Protagonists" are often people that need to die in fire immediately, and to make matters worse, they often have Mary Sue levels of competency. I have nothing about antiheroes, I love some of them, but not when they come as completely unlikable cardboard cut-outs. And not even unlikable in realistic way, some of them have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Maybe it gets better later, I don't know, I put it on pile 'to read later' halfway through a few years ago.

As to why you didn't heard of it, well, mandatory "18" on cover makes comics hard to sell virtually everywhere. Age ghetto and all that. It's not Naruto that can pass as children's book.
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Re: A manga gem

Post by krakonfour »

Irbis wrote:For what it's worth, it has one of the best art in the field of military SF. Pretty and realistic. However, it could have seriously used a better writer. "Protagonists" are often people that need to die in fire immediately, and to make matters worse, they often have Mary Sue levels of competency. I have nothing about antiheroes, I love some of them, but not when they come as completely unlikable cardboard cut-outs. And not even unlikable in realistic way, some of them have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Maybe it gets better later, I don't know, I put it on pile 'to read later' halfway through a few years ago.

As to why you didn't heard of it, well, mandatory "18" on cover makes comics hard to sell virtually everywhere. Age ghetto and all that. It's not Naruto that can pass as children's book.
That actually made me laugh out loud. Perfectly true, but I found the story decent enough... :lol:
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Re: A manga gem

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bilateralrope wrote:If it finished 5 years ago, and is as good as krakonfour says it is, why is this the first I've heard of it ?
Your lack of omniscience, probably.
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