Biomega vol. 5 – Tsutomu Nihei

3 out of 5

I do understand the general gripe (from the various takes / reviews of Biomega I’ve read) that the story becomes rather wayward and random – Nihei’s generally oblique narrative style is compounded by a rather compressed timeline for a whole bunch of story and a whole bunch of name-dropped-in-a-single-panel-but-they’re-super-important characters. It’s coming to a head in volume 5, as the initial framing of Biomega as a sort of streamlined, simplified variant on the creator’s obsession with self-aware technology and transhumanism has given way to something more character based and with organics-inspired goopy constructs, like a prelude to the style and concepts that would come in to play in Knights of Sidonia. It definitely feels like two or three different stories ramming in to one another, even visually, as Nihei keeps switching between a chunky, heavy-lined style and something very cleaned up and light; almost Moebius like.

The bumpiness of reading a story constructed as such is reflected in the rating. That said, I cannot wait to reread this, as there are still so many awesome ideas and visuals kicking around that I feel will be immensely improved once the scope of the whole thing is understood and I can revisit it to remember all these one-off details that have an impact down the road.

Volume 5 mostly boils down to Zoichi traversing this “recreated” world, and getting reintroduced to alien queen Niarudi, as he gets between her and her new body surrogate – a small, hilariously outta place chibi child.