Biomega vol. 6 – Tsutomu Nihei

4 out of 5

Things are moving pretty damn quick, now. Funipero – the Niarudi’s “daughter” – is all grown up, and Zoichi is driving across our cylindrical “Earth” and destroying all of the DRF stations as he goes. The escalating timeline is another Nihei “trope,” but I don’t mind it here: Zoichi has never been as mysterious as Killy, and Biomega certainly never as contemplatively open-ended as Blame!, so keeping things moving along at a fast clip is the right fit for the series, and I like the mental visual of the streamlining of just biking down the length of the planet, causing destruction along the way.

I suspect there might’ve been some deadline crunch here, or something (Reddit suggests the artist also switched to digital at some point during Biomega), because there’s an interesting use of some zipatone-like patterns, and some computer-ish effects, as well as a general blocky look to some of the later art. It’s sort of cool – Tsutomu has become an ace draftsman, whether working in his sketchier styles or more fine-lined stuff – but when it combines with the rather underwhelming final chapters (yer big bad is taken down in one shot; the concluding chapter is just like an exposition dump of plot points), it definitely feels a bit rushed. That said, it is a conclusion – things feel wrapped up; the story has legitimately progressed from start to finish – and one that absolutely encourages my already formed desire to reread the series. Volume 6 is thus very satisfying, even with its hiccups, and delivers some iconic scenes and excellent bike and gun action along the way.