Biomega vol. 1 -Tsutomu Nihei

5 out of 5

I’m not quite sure how Tsutomu Nihei gets away with writing the same exact story again and again and make it uniquely awesome each time, but he does, and, well, here we are.

Falling squarely between the bleak and quiet weirdness of Blame! and the gears-always-turning chummy world building of Knights of Sedonia, Biomega’s protagonist – Zoichi Kanoe – follows the middleground suit, neither as austere as the former’s Killy or as clumsy humble as the latter’s Tanikaze, but carrying a little of both as well: Mission-driven, sarcastic, and, of course, carrying a tiny gun that makes a huge kaboom.  (Also: Big guns with big kabooms.)

Where Biomega may jump ahead of its peers is in its accessibility.  Kanoe’s motorcycle ride into the monstrous drones that override island 9JO – and reports of the government factions trying to take advantage of the virus causing drone-ism – slot perfectly into our zombie apocalypse scenarios, but of course it’s given the tech and oddball zing by Nihei, with an onboard AI informant leading Zoichi to a girl who can live with the virus, and, sure, her guardian who is a talking bear.

Nihei uses a more refined style than Blame! – filtering out a lot of the clutter – but maintains a rough edge to his pencils to stick with the the horror vibe of the book.  The action sequences are Matrix-level acrobatics amplified to 1,000, but Tsutomo’s perspective handling is spot-on here (it stumbles in Sedonia, I feel like), keeping you breathless as we plunge from scene to scene.

Toha Heavy Industries?  Of course.  Silent Hill nightmare creatures?  Absolutely.

Sedonia is proving to be an amazing accomplishment in terms of scope, and the creativity of Blame! is undeniable, but its a pleasure to have Nihei distill all his awesomeness into something as fun as Biomega.