Reviews

BLAME! MASTER EDITION 1 by Melissa Tanaka, 弐瓶 勉, Tsutomu Nihei

mootastic's review against another edition

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4.0

Wow, this is such interesting world building.

In 2023, if seems as if every franchise will have it's lore over explained. Every tiny bit of minutiae will be explored and covered via side stories told in every form of media imaginable. "Blame!" is the opposite of that. It throws you head first into the deep end of a foreign, dangerous, and alien world. And in that way it's thematically apt!

This is a world long dead, living on via inertia alone. The inhabits of this city don't know much more than the reader, and any answer is slowly revealed simply by exploring further into the city. The artwork here is beautiful, filled with detailed cityscapes and horrifying creatures. I think the action scenes can be a bit messy, but the imagery itself is enough to keep reading.

I'm not entirely sure why I've avoided this for as long as I have, but I'm excited to finally get around to reading Blame!

zare_i's review against another edition

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5.0

I have been eyeing this series for a long time but something about it (uneasiness underlined by gothic lanky characters I guess) was putting me off.

Few days back I was reading some other books and came across this volume and said, OK, lets give it a try.

I can only say - what a ride.

First, this is so dystopian, post-apocalyptic and otherworldly it is unbelievable. This is time after a great collapse of humanity, nobody remembers how long and why. Automated city (akin to Asimov's Robot City), known just as City, is growing uncontrollably across the surface. Purpose, reason for grow is a mystery, sheer size and structure and purpose of buildings is unknown. In these artificial concrete and steel canyons what is left of humanity tries to find meaning and to survive - author manages to present various strains of humanity as they evolve through centuries, from elf like silent nomads to old good humans going crazy in isolation or trying to salvage what they can using technology they only know how to use but not how to maintain or produce. Then we have Administration - mysterious entity in control of City - then Safeguards, robotic extermination creatures, bizarre blend of technology and biology, aiming to destroy the humanity, and Silicon Life creatures - independent artificial organisms also bent on destroying humanity but also in conflict with City's systems. And then we have Kyrii, mysterious man who seeks humans that still have so called Net terminal gene, only way that humanity can retake the City. This puts him in the sights of City security and Silicon Life creatures.

Art is very very dark. I have to admit that in this volume art is relatively simple, especially when it comes to people and creatures, you can just feel how author was more at ease with truly beautiful panoramas of never ending artificial structures and bio-mechanical creatures roaming the area. When it comes to people, in general art looks very amateurish, very bland and as such is in sharp contrast with wild biotechnology constructs and environment.

We do not know much about Kyrii but after his botched mission at the very beginning he is sent on the long search and there are literary pages after pages of Kyrii just going through tunnels, over unimaginable canyons without saying the word - feeling of loneliness is just palpable. And when action takes place it is swirl of blades, gunfire and fast reflexes, usually the Kyrii's signature weapon - graviton beam emitter in a form of a pistol - takes the front place in this situations.
You know how in some action movies you see a huge gun fire, but then there is absence of sound and few seconds later everything in front of it goes bye bye? Author manages to do this through images, it is just beautiful - the very firing of weapon looks awe inspiring and terrifying, and when explosion comes up you are very much aware of the sheer destruction caused.

Excellent art and very intriguing story.

Highly recommended to all fans of SF and cyberpunk.

bethtabler's review against another edition

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3.0

I am flummoxed. I very much wanted to like this book. I feel like it would increase my "cool" factor exponentially if I did, but alas I was confused and slightly perturbed.  As a reader I don't have a whole lot of experience with Manga as a genre. I have dabbled in it, but never went swimming. That being said, I have quite a bit of experience in reading the cyber punk genre which is one of my favorites. Manga absolutely excels in it. "Ghost in the Shell," and "Akira" are bonafide classics and rightly so.  But "Blame!" just didn't do it for me. I can appreciate the quality of the artwork and the simplicity of the dialog: the dialog is minimalistic and it relies on the stark visuals to convey meaning and tone. But, I think it reached to far into starkness and loses any sort of context for the story. I got lost repeatedly and the characters ended up meaning nothing to me. Any die hard manga fan should check out this novel but the average reader trying to branch out would be well served to check out "Akira" or "Ghost in the shell".

Eh maybe I am just not cool enough.

cetonia's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious slow-paced

5.0

k2_hancock's review against another edition

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4.0

Note: The Master's Edition was published in 6 volumes, compressing the original 10 volume series. The first voume of the Master's Edition encompasses volume 1 and partially volume 2 of the original series.

When I was in middle school I had stumbled on the original manga and it is my favorite series of all time. Seeing it being reprinted has given me a sense of joy that nostalgia and well deserved recognition can bring.

This is Tsutomu's first piece of work, and arguably the most difficult to get into. The dialouge is minimum, there's a lot of expansive illustrations and jarring action scenes. Most people finish the first few volumes with a mixture of confusion and boredom. This is a series that you have to read multiple times to fully understand, and I have read it many times. It still manages to speed up my heart rate and has me shaking from anticipation, even after 11 years.

I bought the entire series for a couple reasons.

1 - this series was not popuar at all. The original volumes had been out of print for several years now, and the series was only partially revived with the hype from Nights of Sidonia and the release of the 2017 Netflix movie. I know that it will go out of print again in the near future and I needed it for my collection.

2 - I wanted to see the illustrations in larger scale and better quality scans. The original series was published through Tokyopop in the US. And you can take my word when I say that Tokyopop did Blame! dirty. The scans were rough and the detail of Tsutomu's designs were washed out and muddied down, which is basically a death sentence for a series that has incredible and vast illustrations. The Master's Edition looks crisp and really brings the world to life, finally giving the readers that sense of awe and scale.

The only thing that gives me pause is the translation. The Master's Edition does not include the original Tokyopop translations and I'm trying to decide if the quality is worse, or if I'm just used to the old ones. This is probably the biggest point of contention in the fandom. Long time fans will notice the difference (I was told this, and didn't believe it until I saw it). After reading the first volume and most of the second thus far I can comfortably say that the overall plot has not been distorted by the changes. I wouldn't even say that the core of the characters have changed; it's just...different.

_tourist's review against another edition

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a near perfect setting straight out of my teenage daydreams. however, action doesn’t really do it for me; i might struggle to complete this series. found it difficult to follow.

taniguchi's review against another edition

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

Who needs any semblance of a coherent plot when nearly every page of this manga is utterly virtuosic?

modernhobbitvibes's review

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I have no idea what I just read. *immediately checks out volume 2*

maxwellatewell's review against another edition

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3.0

I've read this book twice now. Amazing concept for a series, but the execution is rough in the beginning. It can be captivating piece together this ultra distance future, but frustrating at well. The backgrounds are these dystopian super-structures whose purpose is lost to time. Everyone is a born cyborg, a robotic monstracity or both. We follow Kyrii, whose travelled 500+ strata in search of the net terminal gene though the remains of lost world after lost world.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for more unique series, but has read some manga in the past. The artwork is full of rough lines that aren't always easy to read. It gets clearer further down in the book. The author has a clear passion for fight scenes and paneling.