Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #43: From the New World, Vol. 2 by Kishi and Oikawa

First of all, let's admire the pants worn by the redhead on that cover to the left. American comics have been battling the scourge of boob socks for many years now, but manga have leapfrogged that with the amazing invention of butt socks! (Seriously, what kind of fabric would that have to be -- not even yoga pants cling in the crack like that. One suspects the old comics shortcut of drawing a naked girl and then drawing pretend clothes on her.)

Anyway, fashion faux pas aside, From the New World, Vol. 2 is an adventure manga, adapted from Yusuke Kishi's popular dystopian novel by artist Toru Oikawa, as part of that property's relentless march towards total world dominance. (There's a short backup story about the making of the anime -- I am not kidding when I say popular Japanese stories flower into every other possible media at the earliest opportunity.)

It's a thousand years in the future. Humans are rare on Earth -- possibly only existing in one small settlement in Japan. And the teenagers are all studying at the Holistic Class to use their magick, which has vast but conveniently unspecified abilities. Most of the world is the home of Morph Rats, who seem to be uplifted animals -- possibly different animals in different places, since we see a couple of varieties in this book. Most Morph Rats are properly subservient to the human "gods," but in the first volume, some overseas (and thus untrustworthy?) Morph Rats caused trouble leading to our teen heroes being trapped in the local Morph Rat underground burrow.

(And, yes, one could definitely read the gods-Morph Rats thing as a very unsubtle allegory, particularly since all of the humans are Japanese. But let's pass over that for now.)

From the New World is a YA story, which means adults must be perfidious, duplicitous, vicious, and other nasty things ending in -ous. And so we learn that they are, and so our main heroine -- Saki, the one with her boobs falling out on the cover -- learns the truth of their rotten-to-the-core society in the course of this book, during which she also attempts to save her One Twu Wuv from those fiendish plots. And there's the usual person with powers vastly too powerful to be controlled. (cf. Akira's Tetsuo and every other character in Naruto)

Oikawa contributes attractive art -- the Morph Rats are suitably creepy, the backgrounds are detailed, and the action scenes well-designed (and, of course, the attractive youngsters are quite attractive) -- to this very audience-pleasing story. This is aimed squarely at that large audience that loves both manga and The Hunger Games, and isn't too picky about it. I hope they enjoy it.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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