Aposimz vol. 6 – Tsutomu Nihei

3 out of 5

Maybe because I just got done with reading Biomega, but Aposimz is suddenly, like, the most linear story ever, considering it’s by Tsutomu Nihei. I really don’t think it was like this from the start, as I recall needing to reread the first few volumes each time I had a new one to sort of re-seat myself in the story of “reincarnateds” / “regular frames” – both examples of beings who’ve bonded with machine code and now house unique powers, and the ability to armor up with placenta – and their leader, Nichiko Suou, who’s slowly taking over the already decimated world, and the battle that’s been kicked up between this faction and our POV characters (“good” frames vs. Suou’s evil ones) Etherow and Kiesha… But, look, I was able to type out that high level summary without double-checking, and now volume 6 goes down incredibly easily. I’d say that’s a good thing, but some of it feels a little narratively cheap, with Tsutomu doing a standard manga thing of dropping us, randomly, into a particular character’s narration to fill us in on their background – something he usually accomplishes solely through visuals, requiring a bit more reader investment – and going OP with Etherow in a very underwhelming, between-panel way. What sucks about those hiccups is that the bulk of this volume is fantastic, as Kiesha and new recruit Wasabu take an opportunity to go at Suou head-on while Etherow recovers from recent events, leading to a prolonged showdown between tons of head-honcho regular frames, Kajiwan freaky cult, and Kiesha and team. The way this showdown is structured is a bit different from the one-on-one type battles we’ve seen thus far, and really drives home the huge scope of the structures in the Aposimz world – such as Suou’s mobile air base; each beat speaks to Nihei’s rather amazing visual conceptualization, and also how strong the concepts in Aposimz are… excepting, again, the sort of cheap way he ends up communicating some of those concepts.

Still, we crossed a good line with this volume, making Suou into a realistic badguy (whereas before he was just sort of this “he’s super powerful” bogeyman) and putting Etherow and Kiesha on an actual path where they can legitimately challenge him.